By Laura E. Vaughan
Bachelors of Music Thesis, University of Oregon, 2006
Abstract: In the past few centuries, scholars have begun to reevaluate the Euro-centrism of western history. Spain in the Middle Ages presents fertile research ground because it was ruled under Muslims for seven hundred years. Musicologists still debate as to whether the famous manuscript, Las Cantigas de Santa Maria, contains any Arabic musical influence. This thesis enlarges the scope of this debate beyond the musical manuscript.
This study centers on Seville, where Alfonso X commissioned the Cantigas, in order to better understand the cultural relationships within the city at the time of the Cantigas’ creation. I look at five art forms that were either created in Seville or had strong ties with this city: the illustrations, poetry, and music of the Cantigas, a treatise on chess commissioned by Alfonso, and the architecture of Seville.
This thesis does not prove any new theory. Instead, I focus on finding a new approach to discovering a more conclusive answer regarding Arabic musical influence in Las Cantigas de Santa Maria. Through this comparative analysis, I seek to accurately gauge the possibility of Arabic musical influence within Las Cantigas de Santa Maria.