The themes. Most vihuela fantasias are built from a number of sections or episodes. The most usual procedure is for each section of each fantasia to be built on a new theme, usually unrelated to the other themes within the same piece. This database includes not only the opening themes of each fantasia, but each of the significant internal themes as well. Searching and comparing these themes with other works both vocal and instrumental is likely to permit the identification of citations from other works that are currently unknown. Among the surviving 119 fantasias, this data set has identified nearly 1200 themes.
System of numbering. Each theme is numbered according to the work in which it occurs and in the order in which it occurs within the piece. As many fantasias are known by a modern numbering that does not occur in the original sources, the numbering refers to the work number according to the Music database. In many cases these numbers coincide: Milán’s first fantasia is “mi001” and its first and second themes are respectively “mi001.1” and “mi001.2” Other cases are not as intuitive. Fuenllana’s tenth fantasia, usually designated “Fantasia 10”, is the 30th work in Orphenica lyra and therefore “fu030” in the catalogue of his works. To find the themes from Fuenllana’s “Fantasia 10” you should search by the work number (fu030) or by composer (Fuenllana) and uniform title (Fantasia 10). The themes are listed as “fu030.1” etc. Following each theme number is the bar of the original tablature in which the theme first occurs.
Melodic code and searching. In browse mode, each theme is given in notation and as a code of intervals shown with the name of the starting note and the following notes using numbers that represent the interval above or below the starting note. The database is set up so that themes can be searched with reference to a specific starting pitch, or simply as a set of intervals independent of the starting pitch. Given the nature of the repertory there is no distinction made between major or minor intervals. Numerals with a minus sign (-) indicate intervals lower than the initial note. Numerals with no sign are taken as indicating intervals above the initial note. Therefore, if a melody that starts on d is followed by 4, it indicates a fourth higher (g), while the numeral -2 following the same d will indicate the note c. Subsequent numerals always indicate the distance from the starting note, with the numeral 1 used to indicate a unison. A melody encoded as g 2 3 4 2 1-2 1 thus indicates the melodic sequence g–a–b–c–a–g–f–g. To search for a theme with the same profile without specifying the starting note, leave the field named “1st” empty and simply enter the intervals concerned. A search for 3 2 1 will give themes a–c–b–a, b–d–c–a, etc. Each number in a given sequence must be entered in an individual box.