An Annotated Bibliography



now generally acknowledged to have been the prince of theorists who wrote in Spanish,1 Bermudo owes his reputation to three publications: Comiença el libro primero de la d’claraciō de instrumētos (1549), Comiēça el arte Tripharia (1550), and Comiença el libro llamado declaraciō de instrumētos musicales (1555). Each was printed at Osuna by the printer to the newly established (1549) university, Juan de Léon.2 But though all three were printed by the same individual, the type-face and page layout differ drastically between the first two and the last. The 1549 and 1550 imprints are single-column octavos in gothic, but the 1555 a double-column folio in italic type.


Annotate Bibliography Single Part Italic Type Page Layout Music Treatise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Marcelino Menéndez [y] Pelayo, in his Historia de las ideas estéticas en Espana,revised edition (Santander: Aldus, s. a., 1940), II, 488–48g, categorized Bermudo as “without shadow of doubt, the best [Spanish] theorist of the epoch.” The Declaración de instrumentos (1555) is a “superlative book.” Bermudo “not only is the most methodical, the most complete, the most lucid of all our musical theorists who wrote in Spanish, not only in his thought and style the most cogent; but also he marches fully abreast the finest critical spirits of the age when he aspires (El arte Tripharia,fol. 4v.) `to wash music [theory] clean of those sophistries that still clog it, just as the extremely learned and thoughtful Brother Franz Titelmans [1502–1537] has now purged Logic and Metaphysics and as the very erudite Fray Luys de Carvajal [delegate to the Council of Trent in 1547; d. 1552], guardian of San Francisco friary in Seville, has purified the study of Theology’.” Collet in L’Année musicale, II (1912), p. 34, demurred from Menéndez y Pelayo’s judgment: but without having carefully read Bermudo’s works. See below, page 6, for an exposé of Collet’s superficial and misinformed “Contribution à l’étude des théoriciens espagnols de la musique au XVIe siècle.”Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    An exceptionally important printer insofar as music is concerned, Juan de León came to Osuna from Seville. See Joaquin Hazaíïas y La Rúa, La Imprenta en Sevilla (1475–1800) (Seville: Rev, de Tribunales, 1892), p. 57: despues de tener taller en Sevilla se trasladé a Osuna. He began printing books at Seville in 1545. In 1546 he published Alonso Mudarra’s Tres libros de Musica en cifras para vihuela. At Osuna he published — in addition to Bermudo’s music treatises —Juan Vasquez’s Villancicos i canciones… A tresy a quatro (1551). He seems, interestingly enough, to have kept open his shop at Seville during the very years that he served as university printer in nearby Osuna. See José Gestoso y Pérez, Noticias méditas de impresores sevillanos (Seville: Imp. de Gómez hnos., 1924), p. 119. On March 17, 1551, León contracted at Seville to print two reams of playing cards daily at 21 reales for each ream. This contract was to run for two years. Gestoso y Pérez also brought forward evidence (ibid.,p. 21) showing that already as early as 1525 a printer named Juan de León was active at Seville. The 1525 printer seems to have been connected in that year with the playing-card business (ibid.,p. 21n). Very possibly, then, the Juan de León active as ynprimidor on September it, 1525, was later to become the Osuna university printer. Hazanas y La Rúa (op. cit.,pp. 59–60) calls attention to another printer named Juan de León, active at Seville from 1585–162o. This last individual is thought to have been the son of the Osuna printer.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Felipe Pedrell in his Diccionario biogrd/lco y bibliogrdfico de músicos y escritores de musica (Barcelona: V. Berdós y Feliu, 1894–1897), I, 190, called attention to the fact that Tapia copia casi al pié de la letra to-das sus opinions en su Vergel de Música. But Pedrell erred when he claimed that Cerone in 1613 pillaged Bermudo for more than a sentence here and there. Only occasionally did Cerone actually lift phrases from Bermudo. At p. 149 in El melopeo Cerone did insert a sentence that so closely echoes one found on fol. +4v. of the 1555 Declaración that some plagiarism (conscious or unconscious) may possibly be involved. Bermudo wrote: De a donde procede, que auiendo en nuestra Espana tan grandes ingenios, tan delicados juyzios, tan inuentiuos entendimientos: esten todas las artes quasi muertas? Cerone, in turn, wrote: Pues de adonde procede que auiendo tan grandes ingenios, tan delicados juyzios,y tan raras habilidades en Espana, esta casi la Musica muerta? Cerone on the other hand may have intended this particular sentence to be understood as a proverb which he had heard repeated in Spain. No importance should be attached — despite Pedrell — to the fact that Cerone treats of the same subject-matter in chapters 1–3 of his book II as Bermudo does in chapters 2–4 of his book I (1555). Pedrell never missed any chance to berate Cerone’s treatise.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1960

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations