Music Associated with Santiago and the Pilgrimage

Music Associated with Santiago and the Pilgrimage


Perspectives on the Camino: A collection of essays on the Camino (2007)


The Medieval Period

The tradition of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is more than 1,000 years old, and over that time musical styles and tastes, indeed the very language of music itself and the instruments used to produce it, have changed radically. These changes are well illustrated by the music one can associate with the Camino over the millennium. A substantial portion of Camino music is, as one would expect, religious, but there are also popular and secular tunes likely to have been sung, played, danced or listened to by pilgrims. This essay is the first of two on Camino related music in this collection, and it covers early music, music prior to 1500.

The second essay discusses music from the renaissance to the present. The classification of music as “Camino” or even as “Spanish” or “French” is fraught with difficulties. This essay concerns itself with music common in Spain, and to a lesser extent in France, during the medieval era. In those years before the Protestant Reformation when the pilgrimage was at its apogee, pilgrims came to Santiago de Compostela from all across Europe: The British Isles, the Low Countries, the Germanic language regions in Northern Europe, and even Slavic-speaking regions far to the east as well as from Italy, France and Iberia. 

Click here to read this article from Perspectives on the Camino

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