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Music, the Portico de la Gloria and Santiago Cathderal


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Dear All,

I'm hoping that some of you may be able to help me. I'd like to find out more about the musical instruments that are depicted on the Portico de la Gloria of Santiago Cathderal and about research into music associated with medieval pigrimage to Santigo de Compostela.

Any references related to the musical instruments on the Portico de la Gloria - and particularly any recording of the sounds that they make - would be very welcome indeed.

I'm also interested in medieval music associated with the pilgrimage and the worship of St James particularly recordings and notation that relate to the cathderal of Santiago itself.

Many thanks.

Stuart Frost
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Hi Stuart,
The Santiago museum has replicas of the musical instruments depicted in Mateo's sculpture. If you google some of these insturments you will find a wealth of info on medieval musical insturments.

Harp, Psaltery, Gittern, Mandora, Rebec, Fiddle, Organistrum, Symphony, Portative organ, Organ, Pipe, Recorder, Pipe-and-tabor, Shawm, Crumhorn
Hello, Stuart. I enjoyed your article in the current Bulletin, though I have to admit I was completely unaware there was a copy of the Portico in the V&A! (Then again, as I haven't been there since I was quite a small boy, perhaps that's not surprising.)

As you're in London, it'd probably be worth your while to look at the relevant items in the CSJ library - search the catalogue for 'music'. As you will see, several of these are by Mary Remnant, a founder member of the CSJ who is a specialist in the field and often gives lecture-recitals on various obscure instruments most of us have never heard of. If you want to take it further, I expect the Office can give you contact details.

There are a couple of related threads on this forum, for example, viewtopic.php?f=7&t=15
or, as Sil says, use search engines (searching on 'portico de la gloria' gives an article on the V&A site by one Stuart Frost).

For notation, the most relevant 'book' is the Codex Calixtinus (though the only online links I've been able to find specifically on the music are at the end of my page on Book V). Other important Iberian collections of the time are the Cantigas de Santa Maria and the Llibre Vermell. Recordings of these are often played on Radio 3.

That should give you enough to be going on with :)

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