Paracumbé and Zarambeque Criollo by Diego Fernández de Huete

19

June
2010

Not long after the turn of the 18th Century, Diego Fernández de Huete published a treatise for the harp entitled Compendio numeroso de zifras armónicas, con theórica, y pràctica para arpa de una orden y arpa de dos órdenes, y de órgano (Madrid, 1702–4). The book showed Huete to be fine harpist, theorist, and composer, who clearly understood the instrument and its demands (not to mention, those of his audience).

From October of 1681 onward, Huete spent nearly three decades employed as a harpist at the Cathedral in Toledo, Spain. It was there that he must have gotten the inspiration to compile the Compendio, especially the music.

The two pieces below come from Huete’s treatise and are both dances of African origin. They are not African per se, but like many kinds of dance music imported from all parts of the world to Spain and the rest of Europe, their basic characteristics are retained.

The pieces are transcribed from the harp tablature, but may be played on a keyboard or, as I prefer, with a melodic instrument and basso continuo.

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