The Folk Music of Portugal: I Author(s): Rodney Gallop Reviewed work(s): Source: Music & Letters, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Jul.

, 1933), pp. 222-230 Published by: Oxford University Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 15/03/2012 06:05
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indexed and annotated by Angelo Colocci (d. upon a few literary references which afford little or no indication of its character. To this rule Portugal forms a happy exception. troubadour verse from which we can deduce the existence of a contemporary native folk tradition through the many characteristics in this verse which can have sprung from no other source. Hardly any of the poems contained in these codices are anonymous. Of these. The very existence of this poetry was ignored for several centuries. Pay Soarez de Taveiroos. both in chronological order and in importance came the Cancioneiro da Ajuda (or do Collegio dos Nobres). British Minister at Lisbon) is contemporary with the poems which it contains. although all three may well have been derived from the collection known to have been formed by Dom Pedro. Together they comprise upwards of two thousand poems.THE FOLK MUSIC OF PORTUGAL I IN many European countries the existence during the Middle Ages of a native folk-song is no more than a presumption based. we have a wealth of lyric. True. They confirm the many historical references testifying to the existence in Portugal of a cultivated troubadour tradition. And they were lost to Portugal until the middle of the nineteenth century. being by a known author. the gradual growth of which can to some degree be . even the earliest dated example. as late as 1585 Duarte Nunes de Lear wrote that songs by King Diniz were still extant. from a linguistic point of view were at that period indistinguishable) during the twelfth. and are known collectively as the Cancioneiro Geral de Poesia Galego-Portuguesa. then that of the Vatican. at most. First. so called because it (or one very like it) is known to have been owned. Conde de Barcelos. In 1621 Antonio de Vasconcellos stated that time had carried them all away. a poem of 1189. and finally the Cancioneiro Colocci-Brancuti. If we possess no authenticated examples of the songs of the people of Portugal and Galicia (which. only the Cancioneiro da Ajuda (which was first printed in 1823 ' no paco de Sua Magestade Brittanica Paris ' by Lord Stuart. when first one and then another of the three great Cancioneiros was brought to light. thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. 1549) and was discovered in the collection of Count Paolo Brancuti. son of King Diniz.

therefore. repeat the sense of the first and third. the first line of the third taking up the last of the first. and so on to the end. are known by various names. wistfulness a blend of French nostalgie and German Sehnsucht with some- . boat-songs (barcarolas). (2) (1)Soidade or in its modern form. Cantigas d'amor were the songs addressed by the lover to his lady. pilgrimage songs (cantigas de 1omaria). they corresponded closely to the folk-songs of modern Portugal. alvoradas (songs of dawn). where the position of the song is found to be very much the same as it was after the first two verses. or more distichs with a refrain. like most important literary movements. is an indefinableyearning thing of the Celtic delight in sadness thrown in. saudade. They were dance songs (bailadas). (2. of which the second and fourth. proclaiming her devotion to her swain. while often altering the sound from i to a (pino to ramo. danced by the peasants in the villages de terreiro or before pilgrimage shrines. rank this with the finest lyrical verse of any country and age. bewailing his absence. for both beauty of form and feeling. was the result of a fusion of both native and foreign elements. it is usually possible to distinguish the poems written under the impulse of a native tradition from the more superficial and insipid Proven9al imitations. We are not concerned here with the satirical cantigas d'escarnho or de maldizer (songs of ridicule and invective) nor with the erudite love poems which were cantigas d'amigo and cantigas d'amor only in name. as far as the sense is concerned. if not in form. These latter names were borrowed from the folk who applied them to their own authentic folk love-songs. and cantigas d'amigo were those placed on the lips of a love-sick maiden. Bell: The OxfordBook of Portuguese Verse. songs of ria and sea (marinas). differing from the Provengal imitations both in form and substance so greatly that it is hard to believe that they were composed by the same poets. shepherds' hill-songs (serranilhas). These songs. or more often. it is the native elements which. applied to them in the fourteenth century by Diego Furtado de Mendoza and in the twentieth by Aubrey Bell. four. This tradition.Aubrey F. with the characteristic Portuguese soidade(l) (which is mentioned by name even at this early date). The most convenient is that of cossantes. Although there is an intermediate type which owes something to both influences. amigo to amado). In subject matter. G. and in spite of the adoption of the foreign troubadour system and the deliberate imitation of ProvenCal verse.THE FOLK MUSIC OF PORTUGAL 223 traced. No better nor more concise definition of them can be offered than that given by the latter in his introduction to the Oxford Book of Portuguese Verse: They consist of two.

uplifted.224 MUSIC AND LETTERS Better than any definition. conjure up.were still accompaniedby dancing. and moving now to the right and now to the left as stropheis followedby antistrophe. dance or action always accompanied indeed. se verrni cedo! Se vistes meu a7.' One seems to see the swaying circles of linked dancers..e. used for dancing. Madrid. in common with the other poems of the Cancioneiros. 0 God that I may see him soon! Have you beheld my beloved For whom I am sore troubled? 0 God that I may see him soon! For whom I sigh? Have you beheld my lover These ' parallelistic ' strophes with their lines entwined in leixapren. singing as they go. da Ajuda show Several of the miniatureswhich adornthe Cancioneiro or tambourine with castanets a the singer accompanied by girl dancing with instrumentalist usual as well as by the fiddle. harp or in pilgrimageto Comwent psaltery. as few folk-songs do. it has also been suggested that it may equally be a mistranscription of the word ' Codex.f Galicia. moreover. (4) Pedro Vindel: Martin Codax. Accordingto certain writers. gay songs called de amor or de amigo. is an example. se verrd cedo! Se vistes meu amigo Ai Deus. When Alfonso VII of Castille (3) Though ' Codax ' may well be a name. Even without their son (music). the formal measures of the round dance. and in this part of Spain the arrival of the ships was celebratedwith feasts and dancing.' i. no lack of literary references to show that the cossante. and the monotony of their alternating endings. se verrci cedo! Waves of the sea of Vigo Have you beheld my lover? 0 God that I may see him soon! Ondas do mrar levado Se vistes meu amado? Ai Deus. 1915. their rhythm ' is so obtrusive that they seem to dance out of the printed page.mado Por quen ei gran cnidado Ai Deus.'(4) Even when they had been . the manuscript of Martin. continued with the songs of the pilgrims to Santiago and invariably concludedwith the appropriatedby the trobadores. se verr(i cedo! Waves of the sea. guitar.(3)jogral of Vigo:Ondtas (1o mar de T'igo Se vistes m?eu amigo? Ai Deus. the festivities began with Cantigasa Santa Maria. There is. is probablyderived from cosso: an enclosed place. Have you beheld my beloved? O God that I may see him soon! 0 por que sospiro. and no better example of the folk manner of these poems can be given than the first of the seven poems which bear the signature of Martin Codax. ' The expeditions of Normans and Scots to the rias .' The very name. however. Las Siete Canciones de Amor. ' were frequentin the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.the cossantes.' writes Pedro Vindel.

(5) The archaic stiffness of the cossantes. their freshness and simplicity. which. In the Portugal of to-day. o malhao da areia Quando o mar 'sta bravo faz a onda cheia. which. o winnower of the North When the sea is rough the waves are strong. for in 1931 I copied a version of the Malhao (a dance-song) from Estremadura. free. dances which. which are as likely to be pure or sliglhtly edited folklore as the most rustic of the cantigas d'amigo. malhao. malhao. Towards the end of the last century Leite de Vasconcellos heard songs in the parallelistic form sung at their work by peasants in Trasos-Montes. Winnower. C . only the last is generally retained in the modern Portuguese folk-songs. can all be found. single quatrains complete in themselves. and many ballads were sung in Spanish. native features of the cossantes.THE FOLK MUSIC OF PORTUGAL 225 postela he was received by women dancing pelas. as in the The cossantes. however. the dance remains the determining influence. nevertheless. have a closer affinity both in metre and in rhyme or assonance with the narrative ballads called rimances. Vol. o malhao do norte Quando o mar 'sta bravo fas a onda forte. unmistakably betoken so close and faithful (5sThis genre was imported from Spain in about the sixteenth century. alternating endings. all of which betoken their choreographic intention. has the alternating endings of the cantiga d'amigo:Malhao. as only the purest folk-art is free. in Gil Vicente's sixteenth century plays. though large numberswere written in Portuguese and dealt with themes not found in the Castillian or North Spanish cycles. XIV. if they are unknown to-day. in the dance-songs in Gil Vicente's Autos. Malhao. Winnower. although the dance still dominates folk-song. winnower. o winnower of the sand When the sea is rough the waves are full. though lacking a refrain and more than two couplets. in which. xdcaras or aravias. leixapren and refrain. accompanied by song. folias e chacotas. the more formal cossante has been replaced by quadras. And even to-day the last echoes of the cossante have not died away. although they have often inherited the refrain and are occasionally linked together in leixapren. from intellectual preoccupations or artificial conceits. Of the three traditional. parallelistic form is still preserved. winnower.

at the most. unfortunately. These have been transcribed by Sr. Folklore. Again. a signature lacked the full significance which it has. unfortunately. the music to which they were sung. a long accepted convention and a paucity of invention in the highest degree characteristic of folk-art.eisoidade ' or ' Louqana ' and finally to the complete nonsense syllables (derived perhaps from other languages) of ' Alva e vai liero ' and ' Lelie doura.226 MUSIC AND LETTERS an imitation of folk-art that one is tempted to ask whether they are indeed only imitations. six of which are accompanied on a fiveline stave. por Deus ai velidas ' and Airas Nunez' ' Bailemos nos ja. B. but that both are variants of some widely distributed folk-song. I am indebted to Mr. except. Before the birth of copyright. the frequency with which the same pairs of alternative endings appear suggests a tradition already old. is the lack of materials in this respect. was never inserted.' without being identical. these poems must have been virtually indistinguishable from folksongs. that any theory regarding the nature of this music can only be founded on hypothesis. but also the more artificial Provengal imitations were sung. The only music which we possess is the manuscript discovered in 1914 by Pedro Vindel. Not only the popular cossantes. Joao Zorro's ' Bailemos agora. for whose version. That much is certain. or is supposed to have. the first verse of every poem in this collection is spaced out in a way that could only have been intended to leave room for a musical notation which. Santiago Tafalla. not than one is an imitation of the other. The refrains of the cossantes. a little editing.' Two of the poems. containing seven poems by Martin Codax of Vigo. to-day. So complete. leli leli por Deus leli. todas ai amigas. . despite their attributions. what is perhaps the most important point of all. Apart from the miniatures in the Cancioineiroda Ajuda. in particular. velida ' to the simpler ' E oj^. but which would surely not have been tolerated in original court poetry. J. it is almost a waste of time to try to prove that they actually were folk-songs. as we know it to-day. I believe unpublished. have every appearance of authenticity. ranging from ' Ai madre. todas. Seven centuries ago the appropriation of a folk-song with. would not have been regarded as plagiarism. It is sufficient that through them we know all that we want to know about those folk-songs. alas. Since it is so abundantly clear that. are so similar as to suggest. is a creation of the last hundred and fifty years. moiro-me d'amor ' or ' E se o verei.

. although sometimes forbidden to compose verse. It was. went. (9) Pedro Batalha Reis: Da Origem da Muisica Trovadoresca es Portugal. Bell: op. It is quite possible. was in the hands of its arch-enemy the Church. indeed. followed by an a-sound in the second .'(8) But Pedro Batalha Reis. 1931. Paris. That of the Provengal troubadours and of the Castillian Cantigas a Santa Maria is not necessarily similar to the Portuguese. as times grew more peaceful and courts more prosperous. Barcelona. ' The hymns and devotional songs of the pilgrims.' ' The i-sound of the first distich .' wrote Luis Jose Velazquez in the middle of the (6) Folklore y Costumbres de Espana. Reis does not discuss the origins of this secular music. Nor does the contemporary music of neighbouring countries furnish any satisfactory analogies. to popular sources for their inspiration and adapted folk-tunes to the words which their masters had so often borrowed or edited in much the same manner. Ed. (7) Pierre Aubry: Trouveres et Troubadours. may be traced to a religious source. It is not probable. however. treble and bass. in Sr. Nor need an independent connection between Portuguese music and plainsong be presumed. two answering choirs of singers. who has devoted an interesting monograph to the subject. Pierre Aubry(7) has put forward the theory that the former is akin to plainsong.(9) has shown that a lively secular music flourished at this period. that the influence in Portugal of Provengal music was any greater than that of Provengal verse. . particularly in the matter of rhythm. F. This appears all the more probable when it is realised that jograis must have certainly existed in Portugal before the introduction of Provengal influence. Sr..(6) There are a number of discrepancies between these two versions. or rather all recordmaking. a Galician jogral named Palha is recorded as having been at the Castillian court. of which little has come down to us for the reason that all learning. Reis' opinion. 1909. it has been suggested that the parallelistic form may have been ' born in the Church. which the Galician folk had so many opportunities of hearing. As early as in the reign of Alfonso VII. Eduardo Torner. that it was influenced to some degree by the songs of the pilgrims to Compostela. may well have been responsible for providing their own music. The jograis. and they afford no certain knowledge of the character of the music. as trained musicians. . were its usual vocal executants. . and. Carreras y Candi. (8) Aubrey F.THE FOLK MUSIC OF PORTUGAL 227 Trend and also by the Asturian folklorist Sr. out of such men that. Lisbon. G. True. 1931. the aristocratic trobadores developed. cit. however. who.

Acting on this hypothesis he then transcribed the music of the Cantigas. may have resembled the Portuguese. It is indeed a fact that Moorish minstrels were so popular throughout Castille that in 1322 the Council of Valladolid found it necessary to condemn the practice of bringing them into the very churches to play and sing at the divine services. and Catherina Michaelis de Vasconcellos has assessed their influence in the following words:The grave. and wrote the poems in question in newlycaptured Seville. the conclusions of which may be briefly summarised. chaste and slightly languid character of the dance songs and. surviving from ancient times.228 MUSIC AND LETTERS eighteenth century. that it ' constitutes a collection of the vocal and instrumental pieces which formed the repertory of the Hispano-moresque professional musicians. may perhaps be explained by the influence of the Church of Compostela which tolerated such manifestations of a religious character. and that whatever influence . For many years all attempts to transcribe this music were founded on the assumption that. and transformed them hieratically and liturgically. Reis shows that at no time did this popularity extend to Portugal. if not to everyone else's satisfaction. it has been suggested that their music. it was akin to plainsong. their lack of the licentiousness which might have been expected and which certainly was in existence. more especially those of the Provengal troubadours and the German minnesinger. at the court of Alfonso the Sage. published in 1890 by Barbeiri. He discovered that the poems in the fifteenth and sixteenth century Cancionero 4el Palacio de Oriente. as had never been wiped out from the memory of the people. In 1922. however. ' preserved the taste for poetry in Galicia during the Dark Ages '. above all. But Sr. Julian de Ribera y Tarrag6 published his revolutionary work La Musica de las Cantigas. were Spanish versions of Arabic originals. called the zejel (defined as ' a dance song sung in a loud voice before a numerous public '). of course. measured. and established to his own. Next he set out to demonstrate the Moorish character of their melodies (the transcription of which had never offered any difficulties). an enthusiastic exponent of Arabic culture. of which many examples are extant. which not only spread to all Arabic-speaking countries but exerted considerable influence on the lyric forms of all Europe. Ribera took as his point of departure the fact that in Andaluzia the Arabs evolved a form of lyric poetry. at that period the accepted language for lyric poetry throughout the Peninsula.' who was. which they had not brought with them. like that of the Provencal troubadours. Since the Cantigas a Santa Maria of Alfonso the Sage were written in Galician.

in the latter province. If. however. Nevertheless. And at Silves. 7 between the melody of a rimance collected at Vila Real (a) and No. a Moorish chronicler tells us that ' almost every peasant de Fozcoa.(11) Even more striking is the resemblance which he establishes p c vivr - MEv j MrI ' .. which he regards as the musical germs. be taken to imply that the folk music of Portugal is of Arabic origin. 1923.- _jj J. does it not appear even more probable that they also borrowed melodies composed in the international language of music? Among the poets who cultivated the zejel were some who lived in Portugal: Abengayats of Beja and Abenhabib of the Algarve.. as we have seen. Coimbra. (11) Pedro FernandesThomas: CaneoesPopularesda Beira.THE FOLK MUSIC OF PORTUGAL 229 Arabic music may have had in Castille.. these two collections being in his opinion virtually identical. it is unlikely to have exerted any direct influence on the music of the Portuguese Cancioneiros. modern Portuguese folk-songs collected by Correia Lopes in the Upper Douro show pronounced affinities with the music of the Cancionero del Palacio and of the Cantigas. . Coimbra. the Arabs of Andalusia borrowed the metres of native poems written in a different language. These analogies need 4 3Eiai~~ 44 4LW not.(10) He quotes two melodic fragments from the old Spanish music transcribed by Ribera. (10) EdmundoArmenioCorreiaLopes: Cancioneirinho 1926. the first (a) of his own Douro collection and the second (b) of Fernandes Tomas' dance-songs from Beira Baixa. 242 of Ribera's edition of the Cantigas (b).

RODNEY (To be continued. popular and cultivated. according to Silius Africanus. the urban fados. which may be found between the folk-songs of Portugal and the ' Arabic' music of the Cantigas may equally reasonably be explained by the theory that the foundation of both is to be found in the native music of the Peninsula. I am persuaded. and which gives the folk-song both its anonymity and its distinctive national or local character. native and foreign. the latter could have done no more than restore to the Portuguese a form which was originally theirs. But the invention of melody is assuredly one of the most difficult of all the forms of artistic creation. Just as the blind guitarrists of to-day have popularised.) (12) The fado a genre unique in its blend of sophisticationand naivete. will invent none but the most rudimentary musical phrases. A similar process must have taken place continuously in Portugal. GALLOP. that the peasant. It is only when these melodic germs are restored to him after having been developed. To my mind. and the more ambitious music which the harpists evolved from these songs in the mediaeval courts of Scotland and Ireland. 1933. . perhaps in that ' ululation ' to which. the memory of which is retained only in these remote and conservative islands. folk music in their country. although the Portuguese must have sung from all time. the lovely songs of the Hebrides are most probably the outcome of a fusion between the simple occupational songs which the folk created unaided. therefore. and expanded in a more cultivated environment where there exist professional or semi-professional musicians. that that gradual process of distortion and modification will begin which is the principal contribution of the folk to their own art. is a blend of many currents. within the limit of my own stay in Portugal.(12) and.230 MUSIO AND LETTERS could improvise. as in most others. The fact is that. all art-music is eventually derived from primitive folk-song. in every corner of rural Portugal. In the last resort. secular and religious. so the jpgrais must have restored to the folk in a more developed form the music which they originally borrowed from it. may best be describedas the urban folk-song of Lisbon. left to himself. though many will disagree with me. for instance.' It has been supposed that. Any analogy. the catchy theme-songs of the ' Severa ' sound-film. Hannibal's Galicians sang and danced. A full account of it is given in an article by the present author publishedin the Musical Quarterly (New York) for April. even if the cossantes reflect the ' oriental immobility ' of the Arabs.