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Collection: INTERAMER
Number: 26
Year: 1993
Author: Rosario Alvarez
Title: La Iconografía Musical Latinoamericana en el Renacimiento y en el Barroco: Importancia y Pautas para su Estudio



This paper, “Latin American Musical Iconography in the Renaissance and in the Baroque Period: Importance and Guidelines for its Study,” was presented by Dr. Rosario Alvarez to the Eighth Inter-American Music Education Conference held in Washington, D.C. from September 30 to October 4, 1991, under the sponsorship of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Music Council (CIDEM), the Latin American Center for Graduate Studies in Music of the Catholic University of America, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

This was the only presentation made on musical iconography at this gathering, and it proved to be highly appropriate because of its relevance to the principal objective of the Eighth Conference: to promote the study, dissemination, and research of Latin American music in specialized musical training institutions in the American Hemisphere and the Iberian peninsula. It also stirred great interest among the music professionals of the Americas, Spain, and Portugal who attended the event, for musical iconography is a subject little explored despite its importance to the understanding of certain fundamental areas of music, particularly Latin American music.

With substantial knowledge and scientific rigor, Rosario Alvarez offers a complete view of all of the aspects to be considered in the study of musical iconography.

The paper includes excellent reproductions that illustrate the factors influencing a given image and, therefore, allow an objective and faithful interpretation of iconographic facts.

The author also shows, with the help of finely detailed methodological guidelines, that iconography is an important and irreplaceable documentary source because of the valuable information it supplies on vocal, instrumental (classical and popular), religious and profane music. Iconography is also a source of different forms of instrumental performance at given places and times in history, and shows the role that music has played in the cultural, social, and historical development of Latin American countries.

Rosario Alvarez, a Spanish musicologist from Tenerife, Spain, holds a doctorate in Art History from the Complutensian University. In 1982, she was awarded the National Prize in Musicology for her doctoral dissertation on “Los instrumentos musicales en la plástica española durante la Edad Media: Los cordófonos” (Musical Instruments in Spanish Art of the Middle Ages: The Chordophones). She is now Professor of Musicology at the University of La Laguna (Tenerife, Spain). She has conducted intensive research on the subject of Organology and Medieval Iconography, her speciality.

We are very happy to be able to present, in collaboration with the OAS and CIDEM, this valuable contribution which will, without any question, fill a gap that has long been felt in the area of Latin American musicology.

Emma Garmendia

Director of the Latin American Center
for Graduate Studies in Music
of the Catholic University of America
and Chairman of the Eighth Inter-American
Music Education Conference