Music in the new world
Imagine that during the last week of December around 1600, a Portuguese vessel leaves Goa,the magnificent capital of the Portuguese Asian empire located 350 miles south of Bombay, for the six-month return to Lisbon.The bottom two layer soft he four-deckshipare devoted to storing spices–mainly pepper,but there turn car goal so includes cinnamon,ginger, nutmeg,cloves,indigo and Chinese silk bought from Moorish traders.With there maining two decks reserved for official cabin sand the storage of privately owned chests, little room is left for the 100 sailor sand a chicken coop.Crossing the Indian Ocean during the most pleasant time of the year,the ship docks briefly at the Portuguese possession of Mozambique (settled 1507 )and arrives a monthl aterat the Cape of Good Hope.But instead of rounding the Cape and sailing north up the coast of West Africa, past the Portuguese settlements of Benin(1485), theCongo (c.1480), Sierra Leone (1460),the archipelago of S˜aoTom´e (c.1471), and the Cabo Verde islands (1444), which lie along the route that brought them to India, the Portuguese crew sails due west into the heart of the Atlantic bringing the ship almost within sight of the Brazilian coast before its sails catch the easter lywinds that will allow it to tack north towards the Azores,the last stop of the over10,000 mile round trip before reaching Lisbon.Along the way, descriptions and opinions of nativein struments and musical styles are logged into diaries: a Congolese lute, xylophones from Mozambique,cymbals,drums and bells,and reed instruments...
The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music. Ed. T. Carter and J. Butt. Cambridge University Press, 2006: 88-110.