Source: Silvia Martinez and Jaume Ayats



Notes on the map

Strict parallel singing in intervals of thirds is not characteristic of a specific region in Spain but a general trend that can be found all over the country. For this reason we do not show this phenomenon on the map. We have marked on the map the regions where the forms of multipart singing are more complex, specifically:

- Parallel thirds that finish with triad chords in the cadence
- Multipart singing with intervals of thirds and fifths simultaneously
- Continuous parallel thirds over a bordon or faux bordon

The places where polyphony is most present correspond with the old territories of Corona d'Arago - today this includes the communities of Valencia, Balears, Catalonia and Aragon) - Murcia and the ancient Kingdom of Navarra - today Euskadi and Navarra -. In these regions oral polyphony was sung in non-religious repertoires (i.e. ballads) but over all was related to religious brotherhoods. They were sung during processions and to praise the patron saint in a specific genre called “goigs” (chants to the patron saint). These expressions became weaker in the second half of the twentieth century. In Murcia (southeast Spain) another amazing tradition remains, called “Auroros” is related also to these popular religious brotherhoods.

Some areas on the north side, such as Catalonia and Navarra-Euskadi, underwent industrialisation very early. This process accompanied an important movement of choir societies made up of male labourers. The old polyphonic tradition carried on and was strongly connected to these new societies. This model was conducted in the second half of the nineteenth century through the “regeneracionistes” choir societies and the “orfeons” (big choirs), both following a moderate nationalist ideology. This new context limited the traditional way of singing polyphony and tried to conform it to the academic way: using scores, upper voices, avoiding glissandi and portamenti, etc. Nowadays this pattern still remains in some choirs associated with one of the most popular choir societies in Catalonia, the “Cors de Clave”, and in the “ochote” choir (generally eight men singing in four voices) from the Basque-Country.

At the same time, in Cadiz (southern Spain) very popular is a musical polyphonic tradition related to the festivity of Carnival. There popular associations are organized in order to prepare the “chirigotas”, satiric multipart songs that could be new compositions or ingenious parodies talking about social and political life.


Selected bibliography on multipart singing in Spain

Compiled by Jaume Ayats Sílvia Martinez: 2005

Video Collections (some od them are private collections)

Música Tradicional Catalana. Ed. by Departament de Cultura, Generalitat de Catalunya

Fonoteca de Materials. Ed. by Conselleria de Cultura, Educació i Ciència, Generalitat Valenciana

El Misteri d’Elx. Ed. By Patronat del Misteri d'Elx, Elx (Valencia)

Arxiu del Grup de Recerca Folklòrica d'Osona , Vic (Catalunya)



Garcia Matos, Manuel. Antología del Folklore Musical de España. 2nd Selection.n 4 LP. Madrid: Hispavox. 1970

Garcia Matos, Manuel. Magna Antología del Folklore Musical de España. 17 LP. Madrid: Hispavox. 1978. [Reedition with 10 CD in 1992]


Música de Tradició Oral a Catalunya. Fonoteca de Música Tradicional Catalana, Serie 1 #1 Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya, 1991

Cançons i Tonades Tradicionals de la Comarca d'Osona. Fonoteca de Música Tradicional Catalana, Sèrie 1 #2. Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya, 1994.

Nou-Grup de Recerca Folklòrica d’Osona. De Rams a Pascua. Vic, 1996.


La Voz Antigua (2 LP). Madrid: Guimbarda. 1978(?)


Fonoteca de Materials (20 LP). València, Difusió Mediterrània-Generalitat Valenciana, 1985-1992
La Festa o Misteri d'Elx (2 CD). Madrid, Radiotelevisión Española, 1993


ARNAUDAS, Miguel.1982 [1927]. Colección de Cantos populares de la Provincia de Teruel. Teruel: Diputación Provincial

AYATS, Jaime.1992. "Breu panorama de l'heterofonia cantada a la comarca d'Osona". In 1er. SEEM a València-1 (6-8 de setembre de 1991). València: Generalitat Valenciana, p.57-60

AZKUE, Resurrección María de.1968. Cancionero Popular Basco. Vols. II/III Bilbao.

BALDELLÓ, Francesc.1932. Cançoner Popular Religiós de Catalunya: Recull de cent melodies de Goigs. Barcelona

BLANCO,V. Las mil y una canciones populares de la región leonesa. Astorga: Ed.Julián, vol.I

CLIMENT, Josep.1982. Cançoner Valencià. València: Ed. Piles

CÓRDOVA y OÑA, Sixto.1952. Cancionero Popular de la Provincia de Santander. Libro III. Santander: Aldus.

CRIVILLÉ, Josep.1980. "Ethnomusicologie d'un village catalan: Tivissa". In Anuario Musical, vol.XXXII-XXXV (1978-1980). Barcelona: CSIC

CRIVILLÉ,Josep.1983. Historia de la música española: 7. El folklore musical. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.

ECHEVARRíA BRAVO, Pedro.1951. Cancionero Musical Popular Manchego. Madrid: CSIC

GARCíA MATOS, Manuel. 1951-1960. Cancionero Popular de la Provincia de Madrid. vol.III. Barcelona-Madrid: CSIC-IEM

MARTÍNEZ GARCIA, Salvador. 1994. Cancionero musical auroro. Murcia: Ayuntamiento de Murcia

MARTÍNEZ GARCIA, Salvador. 1994. Los auroras de la huerta de Murcia. 2 cassettes. Producciones Trento/Ayuntamiento de Murcia

MASSOT i PLANES, Josep.1984. Cançoner Musical de Mallorca. Palma de Mallorca: Caixa de Balears

MINGOTE, Angel.1950. Cancionero Musical de la Provincia de Zaragoza. Zaragoza: CSIC-Diputación Provincial

MOREIRA, Joan.1934. Del Folklore tortosí. Costums, ballets, pregàries, parèmies, jocs i cançons del camp i de la ciutat de Tortosa. Tortosa: Imprenta Querol. [Ed. facsímil, Centre de Lectura de les Terres de l’Ebre, Tortosa, 1999, 2 v.]

Obra del Cançoner Popular de Catalunya: Materials (1928-1929) vol.II. Barcelona: Elzeviriana

OLMEDA,F.1902. Folklore de Castilla o Cancionero Popular de Burgos. Burgos.

RIERA ESTARELLES, Antoni.1988. Cent i tantes tonades tradicionals de Mallorca. Palma de Mallorca: Ed. Moll

ROMA, Josefina.1992. "L'aprenentatge de la polifonia i de la música sagrada a l'Alt i Baix Aragó". In: 1er. SEEM a València-1 (6-8 de setembre de 1991). València: Generalitat Valenciana, p. 37-49

ROMEU, Lluís.1928. "Goigs del Roser de tot l'any". In: Obra del Cançoner Popular de Catalunya: Materials, vol.I Barcelona: Elzeviriana

SAMPER, Baltasar.1929. "Missió de recerca Samper-Ferrà, 1924". In: Obra del Cançoner popular de Catalunya: Materials, vol.III. Barcelona: Elzeviriana

SCHUBARTH, Dorothé and SANTAMARINA, Antón.1988. Cancioneiro Popular Galego. vol.IV. La Coruña: Fundación Pedro Berrié de la Maza

SEGUÍ, Salvador.1973. Cancionero Popular de la provincia de Alicante. Alacant: Diputación Provincial de Alicante

SEGUÍ, Salvador.1980. Cancionero musical de la provincia de Valencia. València: Piles

TORRENT, Vicent & SÁNCHEZ, Josemi. 2001. Cants de l’aurora. Fonoteca de materials vol. 28,29,30. València: Institut valencià de la música