Folk dances illuminate the heritage of Gaspar Sanz, the Baroque guitar maestro
Composer, guitarist, organist and priest, Gaspar Sanz studied at the University of Salamanca, where he was later appointed Professor of Music. He wrote three volumes of tutorials for the baroque guitar that are still an important part of today's classical guitar repertory.
Sanz drew his compositions by including folk songs and dances, some of which like the Zarabanda featured elements that later were used in flamenco music. Other compositions showcase more conventional Baroque forms like that of passacaglia, pavan, and galliard.
He was also noted as a poet and writer, with his published collections of poems and two books. However, his musical contributions overshadowed his other interests and he was soon regarded as the foremost guitar theorist of his day.
A popular piece amongst present-day guitarists, Canarios, is derived from a lively syncopated dance from the Canary Islands. This rustic dance is characterized by foot stomping and jumping, and is written in triple or double meter.
Listen to Gaspar Sanz's Canarios performed by Julian Bream:
Wach Julian Bream performs Gaspar Sanz's Gallardas: