Mudarra, Alonso

Active 1546 1581

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Person Born Died Gender Person ID
Alonso Mudarra 1510/ca Sevilla 1580 M P0084

Instrument(s) Professional group Social status Social sphere Why is the person listed?
vihuela de mano Cleric Ecclesiastical Vihuelist & Composer Instrumentalist & composer (plucked)

Years active Place active Century Region
1546 1581 Sevilla 16cent/2/mid Andalucia
Biographical information

Sources: mudarra1546, Bermudo 29v
Chronological list of events and documents relating to Mudarra, assembled from the details given by pujol1949 and stevenson1961
• 1539.09.26 p.228, note 67 “Francisco Mudarra was Procurador del cabildo en Roma at least as early as 1539, five years before his brother became canon. See A.C., 1538-39, fol 288v (Sept 26, 1539). In 1555, or shortly before, he confessed to heresy. See. A. C. 1555-1556, fol 62v (July 26, 1555). Having admitted his Lutheran errors to the Roman Inquistion he lost, at least temporarily, his right to enjoy any of his benefiçios, especialmente para en esta sancta iglesia.”
• 1546.08.?? Francisco Mudarra toma posesión de la Canonjía 11 de la catedral de Sevilla [Pujol 34] (Pujol erroneously gives the date as 1566)
• 1546.10.20 Alonso Mudarra toma posesión Canonjía 11 de la catedral de Sevilla [Pujol 34] por resignarse su hermano de dicho puesto. (Pujol erroneously gives the date as 1566)
• 1546.10.18. In 1549 Guerrero returns to Seville from 3 yrs at Jaén cathedral. Mudarra arrived during his absence, “originally a clergyman of Palencia diocese.” Mudarra was confirmed in his canonry 18 Oct 1546 (Sevilla, Actas capitulares 1542 y 1546, fol 101v). See Stevenson 1954, doc. 238
• 1546.12.03 Francisco mudarra, dado posesión de una canonjía en Sevilla después de la muerte de Alonso de Esquivel • 1547.06.17 mandan escribir a Francisco Mudarra procurador en la corte de Roma, sobre la concordia del Sr Conde de Ureña se traiga al cabildo...
• 1547.10.19 “..a los SS Canonigos Sebastián de Moçeol (?) y Alonso Mudarra juntamente con los... ...contadores para que vean lo que conviene en los libros que faltan para los maitines y saber si tienen... de cuales scriptores” [Pujol 34]
• 1547.11.21 Francisco Mudarra hace resignación de otra canonjía a favor de Francisco Ximénez • 1555.07.26 In 1555, or shortly before, Francisco Mudarra confessed to heresy. See. A. C. 1555-1556, fol 62v (July 26, 1555). Having admitted his Lutheran errors to the Roman Inquistion he lost, at least temporarily, his right to enjoy any of his benefiçios, especialmente para en esta sancta iglesia.” Pujol cita estos documentos también, p. 35.
• 1556.05.29 stevenson1961 ( p. 149 —29 May 1556 “Alonso Mudarra, together with seven other members of the chapter, is deputed on May 29 to arrange for dances, playlets [representaciones/autos?], and towering floats during the coming annual Corpus Christi parade: those who provide these entertainments being instructed to march between instrumentalists and singers in the street procession(73).” Note 73: A.C. 1555-1556, fol. 64v.
• 1560.09.30 Stevenson p. 149 1560, September 30: “Canon Alonso Mudarra is a leading spirit in persuading the chapter to hire Melchor de Camargo (soprano shawmer) and Gaspar de Camargo (sackbut) at 300 ducats (112,500 maravedís) plus 10 cahizes of wheat and 150 ducats plus 6 cahizes, respectively. The father-and-son pair are invited on condition that they obtain written royal approval—they having previously been in royal service.(79)” note 79: [A.C. 1560-1561] fol 71v.
• 1565.12.10 Creación de Officiales. El Sr Canónigo Mudarra visitador del Sagrario.
• 1566.02.20 “Cometieron a los S. Alonso Mudarra canónigo, presidente de la capilla de Ntra Sra. del Antigua y Antonio del Corral, canónigo y mayordomo de fábrica que de siete cálices viejos que ay en la capilla de los cálices, hagan cuatro que sean buenos para que sirvan en la dicha capilla de los cálices” [Pujol 35]
• 1566.03.02 “mandaron que se le entreguen al Sr canónigo Mudarra los cxvi mil ccccxx mrvs. de la manda que se hizo a Ntra. Sra. del Antigua para que dellos se hagan los ornamentos y lo demás que mandó el que hizo la dicha manda lo qual ya cometió el dicho Sr canónigo Mudarra que lo mande hazer.”
• 1566.03.16 p. 154 1566, March 16. “the chapter authorizes Canon Alonso Mudarra and two others to sit as an organ committee, their duty being ‘to inform themselves concerning the ability of Maestre Jox, Flemish organ builder, and discover if he be competent to build a new grand organ for the cathedral’ (122)” Note 122 A.C. 1564-1565-1566, fol 218.
• 1566.04 26. “Cometieron a los S. Alonso Mudarra canónigo, presidente de la capilla de Ntra Sra. del Antigua para que haga fiestas en la sacristia de la dicha sacristía y los SS. contadores libren lo que costare.”
• 1567.04.09 Stevenson p. 155 1567, April 9 Organ committee expanded too include 2 more members: the dean, Doctor Ramírez, and the organista of the cathedral, Pedro de Villada. Canon Mudarra still remains the “authority” on the committee, now asked to obtain specifications from the visiting Flemish organ builder. April 29: acompetition is set up between Jox and another builder to build portables, with the winner getting the contract for the grand organ. May 21: resolved in favor of Jox.
• 1568.05.05 work start after a long delay. Constant problems, including an attempt on the part of the church to get out of the contract on the pretexts of escalating costs and inferior quality. 1568.07.09 the cabildo asks the committee to pay off Jox as best they can negotiate in return for his revoking the contract. He challenges this and wins; the cabildo is required to let him continue working unhampered. The organ installation was completed not long after 1573.02.14. Later that year, from 1573.09.01, the brilliant Gerónimo de Peraza is engaged as organist, and an exciting new chapter in Sevillian organ music begins.
• 1568.03.20 p 156. “Canon Mudarra is elected major-domo of the cathedral—a post analogous to to that of bursar in a university. During the next dozen years he will have much to say on the apportionment of the cathedral income: and usually to Guerrero’s great advantage”
• 1568.10.25 The cabildo approves Mudarra’s purchase of two dozen new robes and surplices for the altar boys and the giving away of the old robes to serve as swaddling bands for orphans. Under ordinary circumstances Villafranca (master of the choirboys) himself would have been responsible for buying new robes and surplices.
• 1569.08.30. El cabildo dió posesión de la Canonjía 39 de la catedral de Sevilla a Alonso Mudarra por resignación de su hermano Francisco. (Francisco ya la había resignado en 1550.03.29 a favor del canónigo Juan Alvarez de Arce, que murió en 15[5?]6.03.03.
• 1572.04.16 p 158. the chapter commissions Canon Alonso Mudarra to buy a book of Guerrero’s masses “which is needed by the instrumentalists,” and also to oversee the repair of the book out of which they play venites at Matins.
• 1573.03.04 pp. 158-59 Cathedral organist Pedro de Villada dies, the chapter meets to discuss what to do. The archbishop cannot attend and leaves his proxy vote to Canon Alonso Mudarra. Stevenson adds: “In this instance as in others, Mudarra’s opinion shapes musical policy in the cathedral.”
• 1573.11.04 p. 159. Mudarra is charged with preparing all arrangements in Plaza San Fernando for the forthcoming auto de fe to be performed on November 15.
• 1574.03.23 Stevenson,p 159 Mudarra, Peraza and Canon Corro are requested to examine the contract (of May 1567) for the new organ and not to make further payments, and to prod Maestre Jox to complete it quickly, to stop working on the case and finish installing the pipes. [Pujol 35 “Cometieron a los SS obispo de Desquilache, alonso Mudarra, Antonio del Corro, canónigos y Jerónimo de Peraça de Sotomayor racionero del orden con el maestro flamenco que haze el órgano le haga con toda brevedad haziéndole probar de lo necesario y le mande no se ocuppe de hazer más talla hasta que... cen... (?) y dé muestra se si en lo qual le soliciten.” On July 7, tuner Cristóbal de León is asked to finish tuning it. Pujol 35: “Cometieron a los SS obispo de Spalella y Alonso Mudarra canónigos vean el contrato hecho con el maestro flamencon que haze los órganos y refieren y que los SS. contadores no libren cosa alguna sobrello hasta que los dichos SS refieran y el cabildo probea lo que será dello conveniente”
• 1575.11.11 p. 160 . In the wake of the Cathedral’s decision of Jan 7 to use exclusively the roman rite approved at the Council of Trent, Guerrero is directed not to set any lyrics for the approachin gChristmas season without first consulting with Canon Alonso Mudarra and after deliberation decide whether thay are sufficiently decorous to sing
• 1575.12.12 p. 160 After Mudarra notes that pipes are still missing from the organ, the chapter once again stops payments to the organ builder.
• 1580.04.01 p. 162 Alonso Mudarra dies, leaving “sisters and other relatives” in his house. (A. C. 1580-1581, fol 16) On April 8 his effects are announced for public sale. Two years later—on May 25, 1582—a final accounting of his estate is ordered (A. C. 1582-1583 y parte de 1584, fol 28) and on the following June 1 the sum realised from the sale of his personal goods is listed at 92,000 mrs (A. C. 1582-1583 y parte de 1584, fol 30) On June 6 1582, this sum is by the terms of his will distributed among the poor (A. C. 1582-1583 y parte de 1584, fol 30v).
• 1580.04.08 [Pujol35] “Esto dicho día comettieron a los SS mayordomo de la fábrica y racionero Bartolomé Ruiz y a qualquier dellos se hallen presentes al hazer el inventario de los bienes del canónigo Mudarra, aiga gloria, que la dexó a la fábrica y los reciban de mano de Antonio Ramos su albacea y los vendan y rematen en fábrica almoneda a las personas que (?) es por ellas dieron para hazer dellos la voluntad del testador, para lo que les cometttueron sus vezes, ansi mesmo mandaron que en los que toca a trigo que quedó en grano del dicho canónigo en su casa, se dé a las hermanas y parientes del dicho ccabónigo pagándolo sólo a la tassa.” See Stevenson1954, doc. 543.
• 227.50 Stevenson notes that after publishing his book, Mudarra appears to have become a patron rather than a performer of music. • 297 In the various Spanish cathedrals, the direction of music was always vested in a chapelmaster whose rank hardly ever rose to that of a canon... Mudarra at Sevilla became a canon. But Mudarra was no chapelmaster, and did not produce sacred masterpieces.
• Mu= [Stevenson] “composer of singular excellence and taste” motets by Escobar and Willaert, setting of the second epode of Horace by Paul Hofhaimer (1459-1537) = Beatus ille =MME no 64. Ward discovered this borrowing. Original is in H. J. Moser, Paul Hofhaimer, Stuttgart: J. G. Cottashe Buchhandlung, 1929, p 123, nº 24.
• 1570 had two black slaves in his household. See preciado
• 1574 (stevenson1961 (or ?? p. 63) described as “obispo desquilache” ie tonsured like a bishop = probably recognition of high social status

Related persons

Source documents
Date Document
1546 Alonso Mudarra, Tres Libros de Musica.
1557 Alonso Mudarra, power of attorney
1580.04.14 Alonso Mudarra, inventory

Ref Author Item Pages
pujol1949 Mudarra, Alonso. Tres libros de música en cifra para vihuela. Ed. Emilio Pujol. Monumentos de la Música Española 7. Barcelona: Instituto Español de Musicología, 1949, rpt 1984.
ward1953 Ward, John M. “The ‘Vihuela de mano’ and its Music, 1536-1576”. Diss., New York University, 1953. 375-80
morphyL Morphy, Guillermo. Les Luthistes espagnols du XVIe Siècle. 2 vols. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1902; rpt New York: Broude Brothers, 1967.
pratD Prat, Domingo. Diccionario biográfico- bibliográfico- histórico- crítico de guitarras (instrumentos afines), guitarristas (profesores - compositores - concertistas - lahudistas - amateurs), guitarreros (luthiers), danzas y cantos, terminología. Buenos Aires: Romero y Fernández, 1934; rpt Columbus OH: Editions Orphée, 1986.
mudarraaDMEH Griffiths, John. “Mudarra, Alonso”. Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana. Ed. Emilio Casares Rodicio. Madrid: Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, 1999-2002. Vol. 7, 855-58.
preciado Preciado, Dionisio. “Las esclavas del canónigo vihuelista Alonso Mudarra (†1580)”. Revista de Musicología 2.1 (1979): 132-35.
mudarraMGG Griffiths, John. “Mudarra, Alonso”. Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. 2nd edition, ed L. Finscher. Personenteil, 12. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1994-. 763-764.
stevenson1980-3 Stevenson, Robert. “Mudarra, Alonso”. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. S. Sadie. London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd XII, 1980. 757-758.
berm1555 Bermudo, Juan. Comiença el libro llamado declaracion de instrumentos musicales...Ossuna: Juan de León, 1555.
stevenson1960-2 Stevenson, Robert. Spanish Music in the Age of Columbus. The Hague: photomechanical reprint 1964, 1960.
roa2015 Roa Alonso, Francisco Javier. “Alonso Mudarra, vihuelista en la casa del Infantado y canónigo en la Catedral de Sevilla”. 2 vols. Diss., Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2015.
bejarano2013-5 Bejarano Pellicer, Clara. “La música y los músicos en la documentación notarial. El caso de Sevilla en el Siglo de Oro”. Musicología global, musicología local. Ed Javier Marín López et al. Sección I: Ediciones digitales, no 1. Madrid: Sociedad española de Musicología, 2013. 1953-1964.
richardson1977 Richardson, Jerry. “A transcription of books I and II of Tres Libros De Musica en Cifra para Vihuela by Alonso De Mudarra for guitar”. Diss. (M.A.)--San Jose State University, 1977.
antonio1672 Antonio, Nicolás. Biblioteca Hispana Nova. 2 vols. Roma: Nicolai Angeli Tinasii, 1672.
baker1958 Baker, Theodore. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. 5th edn revised by N. Slonimsky. New York: Schirmer, 1958.
barnes1990 Barnes, Timothy Edward. “Alonso Mudarra's tres libros de musica en cifras para vihuela: a survey of the source with transcriptions and analyses of selected instrumental compositions.” Diss. (M.M.), University of Maryland at College Park, 1990.
roa2020 Roa Alonso, Francisco . “Un vihuelista en la corte del Infantado: Alonso Mudarra.” Hispanica Lyra 26 (2020): 26-34.
stevenson1954 Stevenson, Robert. La música en la catedral de Sevilla 1478-1606, documentos para su estudio. Los Angeles, 1954. doc 238