Federico Garcia Lorca’s «Canciones Españolas Antiguas»: dialogue of the poet with Flamenco tradition





Lorca as a folklorist, music of Spain, flamenco genres, song cycle, symbolism


The relevance of the study The author’s interaction in his creative work with folklore is one of the main ways of shaping national composers’ musical school. Spanish music culture is not an exception. There was discovering the uniqueness of flamenco culture through the searching of musical personal identity during the end of the XIX–first decades of the XX century. Original rhythms, modes and harmony specialty were inspiring for composers who searched the code of musical national composers’ school. Federico Garcia Lorca was one of them. His work «Canciones Españolas Antiguas» became not only restrained documentation of folkloric finds. His scientific interest was realized there with his own well-known authored style what provoked us to have some doubts about song’s origin. Was that songs stylization or authentic? How high was composer’s influence percent? The answer can be founded only through assesses the knowledge of flamenco tradition. We could find out real author’s creative participation thanks determining authentic flamenco components in the songs. These are the reasons and became the basis of the proposed article.

The main objective of the study is to characterize the collection "Spanish ancient songs" by F. D. Lorca as creative project which arose at the intersection of the tradition of flamenco and author's style.

The methodology of study includes historical method (in searching of context and historical background creation of collection «Spanish ancient songs»), biographical method (for clarify details of creation the collection, musical environment what was connected with Lorca’s views on the folk), comparative (for the comparing folkloric sources with author’s variants) structural-functional, system analysis, genre-style what allows to give characteristic of collection and to prove it’ artistic integrity as a song cycle.

Results and conclusions. In the process of studying «Canciones Españolas Antiguas», it became clear that the balance of authenticity and authorial activity in this case can be ascertained only by relying on the knowledge of general folklore paradigms.We found out genres as sources for building the collection which were taken from flamenco culture. The «oriental» intonation nature of melodies saturated with melismas, mostly of a dance nature, is preserved. But the composer does not soften all these characteristic features, trying to bring them to the panEuropean musical standard, on the contrary, he strengthens them by using dissonant harmonies. He brings the rhythmic sophistication of authentic samples to the point of unpredictability thanks to the frequent use of hemiola, accents on weak parts, and syncopation. Impetuous performance and rubato, characteristic of the para cantar form of life (flamenco music focused on the singer), the composer conveys with the help of laconic remarks about tempo, dynamics, articulation, touches.

Author Biography

Viktoriia Melnyk, Kharkiv I. P. Kotlyarevsky National University of Arts

Postgraduate Student


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