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Gaspar Sanz

Sanz - "Famous for his religious songs and dances"

Pre-Eminent Baroque Guitarist of His Time

"Gaspar Sanz - Aragonese Spanish composer and priest born in Calanda "

A Spanish composer and guitarist born in 1640 and dying circa 1710 he became a professor of music graduating from Salamanca University, the second oldest university in Spain. He is highly regarded in guitar history. musical training from a sister. Who knew he would become inextricably linked with both Segovia and guitar history. Sanz was also a dedicated priest who took holy orders and his music can not be separated from his lifelong strong faith. Indeed, it added a wonderfully rich and spiritual dimension to his music.

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He furthered his music education in Rome under Orazio Benevoli and other musical figures such as Cristofaro Caresana and Lelio Colista. He was a superb musician playing both organ and guitar and eventually published a guitar treatise (containing three volumes) and pieces for instructional purposes. Indeed, he was considered the master of baroque guitar in his time and wrote some absolutely wonderful music including Canarios, Pavanas and Espanoleta which are still popular on the guitar today and many of Spanish folk songs and dances. Such guitar luminaries as John Williams have recorded the Canarios on several occasions.

The Canarios is fascinating to us mainly due to its irregular rhythms which are similar to much flamenco music of today. You can see in the sheet music how it is a mixed meter of 3/4and 6/8 time. He also wrote music of power and majesty. For example, the Pavanas, which is to be played Maestoso, is full of deep emotion.

Here's a little YouTube video of Angel Romero playing the Canarios...

A recent editorial review of his work said..."Gaspar was one of the most celebrated guitarists and composers of his time. In 1674, he published a method for the baroque guitar. This method has been lauded by guitar aficionados and serves as a significant historic work. Written in Old Spanish with the tablature system of its day, this method has only been available to the few who would meticulously research and decipher its hidden meanings." 

As you can see, he was a true 'man of his time'. I often wonder what people like Gaspar would think of our modern world with its hustle and bustle AND with our penchant for computers and technology. He may even think that music software notation was the work of the devil! E gads!!! :)

You can hear a little tune called Rujero on this page here...

And the tune Canarios on a baroque guitar...


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More than Sanz...

Here are a few related pages in which you may be interested...

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Welcome to LCG! I'm Trevor Maurice, owner of this site. I hope you find inspiration in these pages to help you with  your journey of learning to play the classical guitar. You can read more of my story here...

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