Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Music in Medieval Ibero-Jewish Society

Describing the days immediately preceding the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, the chronicler Andrés Bernáldez recounts with vivid terms in his  Historia de los Reyes Católicos Dn Fernando y Da Isabelthe scenes seen on the road from Castile to the ports of departure: “E los rabíes los ivan esforçando e hazían cantar a las mugeres y mancebos, e tañer panderos e adufes por alegrar la gente,  e así salieron de Castilla”. Music stands out as a very characteristic activity of the Spanish Jews throughout the medieval period. As the passage by Bernáldez underscores, at the most  debasing point of their millenary odyssey in the Iberian Peninsula, they found solace in the performance of their songs. Not in vain the Judeo-Spanish romance La expulsión de los judíos de Portugal, still chanted in the 20 th century by Sephardic Jews in North Africa, mentions music-making as a distinctive marker of Hispanic Jewish...

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