1st Edition

Music and Power in Early Modern Spain Harmonic Spheres of Influence

By Timothy M. Foster Copyright 2022
    176 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    176 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book explores the representation of music in early modern Spanish literature and reveals how music was understood within the framework of the Harmony of the Spheres, emanating from cosmic harmony as directed by the creator.

    The Harmony of Spheres was not ideologically neutral but rather tied to the earthly power structures of the Church, Crown, and nobility. Music could be "true," taking the listener closer to the divine, or "false," leading the listener astray. As such, music was increasingly seen as a potent weapon to be wielded in service of earthly centers of power, which can be observed in works such as vihuela songbooks, the colonial chronicle of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, and in the palace theater of Pedro Calderón de la Barca. While music could be a powerful metaphor mapping onto ideological currents of imperial Spain, this volume shows that it also became a contested site where diverse stakeholders challenged the Harmonic Spheres of Influence.

    Music and Power in Early Modern Spain is a useful tool for upper-level undergraduates, postgraduates, and scholars interested in musicology, music history, Spanish literature, cultural studies, and transatlantic studies in the early modern period.

    1. Songs in the Key of Spain: Vihuela and the Ideology of Musical Humanism  2. Cervantes Off-Key: Irony and Imperialism in the Novelas ejemplares  3. Pre-Columbian Providentialism: Musical Origins in Andean Imagination  4. The King’s Polyphony and the Composing of the Americas  5. Four-Part Harmony for the Four-Part Empire: Calderón’s Musical Metaphors at the Court of Philip IV  6. Immaculate Composition: Religion, Race, and Propaganda


    Timothy M. Foster holds a PhD in Spanish from Vanderbilt University and specializes in early modern Spanish literature. He has published on metafiction, Spanish influence in the Southwest and Great Plains, and the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. He teaches Spanish in Oskaloosa, Iowa.