Tarazona 2/3 and the early Iberian polyphonic hymn: Styles, Typologies and Other Structural Considerations

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Tarazona 2/3 opens with a hymn cycle comprised of 20 four-part polyphonic
hymns copied in liturgical order. Unlike the more usual single-composer hymn
cycles, these hymns are by five different composers active in Spain at various
times between the late 1470s and the mid 1520s – Alba, Escobar, Peñalosa,
Sanabria, and the Franco-Flemish royal chapel master, Juan de Urrede. It is one of the earliest polyphonic hymn cycles extant, broadly situated somewhere between Du Fay’s of the mid 1430s (copied and adapted in a few key manuscripts up to the early 16th century) and the little known anonymous cycle in Coimbra MM 221, which probably precedes the more famous cycles of Carpentras, Festa and others.
However, unlike Du Fay’s/the latter, Iberian polyphonic hymn are generally
distinguished for their use of more local chants and their variants, excepting such universal hymns as Veni creator spiritus and Ave maris stella (also with variants). In recent studies of this hymn cycle, Juan Ruiz Jiménez argues for a Sevillian (Cathedral) origin of the compilation in view of the chant versions used and the composers represented; he also suggests that it was first assembled in c.1510 before being copied into Tarazona 2/3 (the actual date/origin of this manuscript, however, is not clear). Notwithstanding, being a composite cycle, compositional approaches and styles vary (though the hymns of Alba and Escobar are comparable), and more than one tradition of polyphonic hymn setting/performing structure is evident. In addition, one hymn clearly adapts an earlier model known internationally. This all throws up further considerations regarding the origins, intent and use of this hymn cycle per se, which, along with elements of style and structure in the early Iberian hymn, are among issues to be explored in this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventThe Anatomy of Polyphonic Music around 1500 - Centro Cultural de Cascais, Cascais, Portugal
Duration: 27 Jun 201830 Jun 2018


ConferenceThe Anatomy of Polyphonic Music around 1500


  • Tarazona 2/3
  • Polyphonic Hymn
  • Polyphonic Music
  • 1500


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