El son del purgamẽo: Das Rabab in den Cantigas de Santa Maria und dessen Rekonstruktion

Hirsch, Thilo (6 November 2021). El son del purgamẽo: Das Rabab in den Cantigas de Santa Maria und dessen Rekonstruktion In: Das mittelalterliche Rabab – ein Streichinstrument mit arabisch-islamischer Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Hochschule der Künste Bern. 5.–6.11.2021.

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The Cantigas de Santa Maria, written between c. 1264 and 1284 on the commission and with the collaboration of Alfonso the Wise, are among the most important sources of the Middle Ages, in respect both to music and music iconography. Of the four surviving Cantigas manuscripts, two are numerously illustrated, although the underlying concept is completely different. In Codex E (Códice de los músicos), the division of the 416 Cantigas into groups of ten is underlined by 40 miniatures each depicting one or two musicians (with a total of 40 different types of instruments). Among them are three two-stringed skin-covered rababs. The full-page miniatures of Codex T (Códice Rico), in contrast to the catalogue-like arrangement of musical instruments in Codex E, are illustrations of the action described in the song texts in several successive comic-like image fields. Although proportionally much fewer musical instruments are depicted, they are shown in a narrative context and therefore offer an additional level of information. For example, a rabab is played here together with various other instruments. The aim of this paper is to show what information can be gathered from these representations and their medial context and how they relate to the written Arabic and European sources. Finally, on the basis of a first reconstructed rabab prototype – in connection with the preserved Cantigas melodies – the musical possibilities and performance-practical impact on the use of skin-covered rababs in the music of the (Spanish) Middle Ages will be discussed.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Interpretation
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Interpretation > Performance and interpretation
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Interpretation > Musical Instruments


Hirsch, Thilo0000-0001-7707-7469


M Music and Books on Music > M Music


[UNSPECIFIED] SNF-Projekt Rabab & Rebec: Erforschung von fellbespannten Streichinstrumenten des späten Mittelalters und der frühen Renaissance und deren Rekonstruktion




Thilo Hirsch

Date Deposited:

19 Nov 2021 12:17

Last Modified:

26 Nov 2021 09:18

Related URLs:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

musicology, organology, art history, history, bowed string instruments, ethnomusicology, rabab



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