Two Unnoticed Portuguese Villancicos in a Sixteenth-Century Italian Songbook

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Sixteenth-century secular music in the Portuguese language, which is already a rarity in Portuguese cancioneiros, is very infrequently found in non-Portuguese sources. There are, however, two Portuguese villancicos preserved in a set of partbooks of Italian origin that seem to have been unnoticed until now.
These manuscripts, currently kept at the British Library (GB-Lbl Royal Appendix 59-62, also known as the Fitzalan Partbooks) are, to my knowledge, the only known non-Iberian source of Portuguese sixteenth-century songs. In spite of the seemingly unassuming nature of their music, these two songs prove to be fascinating testimonies to repertory circulation and transcultural transmission on several
different levels.
This article aims to present these villancicos to the musicological community for the first time, through the description and analysis of their poetic and musical contents, and attempts to reconstruct the historical path that took the songs from Portugal to Italy by establishing connections and concordances with other Iberian and Italian sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-182
Number of pages26
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Musicologia / Portuguese Journal of Musicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Fitzalan Partbooks
  • vilancicos portugueses
  • música profana do século XVI
  • circulação de repertório


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