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Monday, June 1, 2020

Not by Lorca

I've become more interested in the Canciones españolas antiguas.  We know they aren't Lorca's own creations, but that doesn't make them less interesting, I've decided. First I was not interested at all, but there are a few enigmas here. People aren't very careful about the way they talk about them or refer to them.

1) They aren't exclusively Andalusian. Lorca was interested in collecting songs from the entire peninsula.  That's why he wrote song-like poems in Galician, etc... Some are Andalusian, but some are not.

2) They are diverse in their style; heterogeneous in their historical origins. They aren't all from one century.  There are songs and ballads. Yet performance styles tend to homogenize them, in the sense that a classical singer will do them all as art songs, or a flamenco singer as all flamenco.  In fact, they lend themselves to many treatments of diverse sorts. Folk songs are not all created equal. This is not even considering the texts...

3) La Argentinita doesn't sing them in a "folkloric" or flamenco style. We read sometimes that she was a flamenco singer. Not true.  She has an operatic-style voice. We can't go back and listen to her for any kind of "authenticity." This is just once style among many. Lorca plays piano behind them and not guitar, so they belong to a kind of parlor music.

4) I'm still trying to figure out when La Tarara got added to them? And it is often said that there were 5 records, but shouldn't there be 6, with 12 songs total?  I'm embarrassed to ask a real Lorca scholar the answer to this question, but it's hard to do research with the library closed.  

5) The arrangements were not written down by Lorca, but transcribed.

6) Blackburn translates some was though they were Lorca poems, and that practice is continued when performers and composers mix Lorca's own poems with the poems he collected.

etc... I think I almost have enough for an article.

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