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Villancico (or Vilancete, in Portuguese) was a common lyric form of the Iberian Peninsula, in the Renaissance epoch. The villancicos could also be adapted to music: many iberian composers of the 15th and 16th century, like Juan del Encina or Pedro de Escobar composed musical villancicos.

This type of poem has a mote - the beginning of the poem, which functions, when in music, as a refrain - followed by one or more intervening stanzas - the volta, copla or glosa - each one with 7 verses. The difference between the villancico and the canción (cantiga) depends on the number of verses in the mote: if there are 2 or 3 it is a villancico, if there are 4 or more it is a canción.

Each verse of a villancico is usually divided in five or seven metric syllables ("old measure").

When the last verse of the mote is repeated at the end of each stanza, the villancico is "perfect".

Here is an example of a Portuguese villancico, written by Luís de Camões:


Enforquei minha Esperança;

Mas Amor foi tão madraço,

Que lhe cortou o baraço.


Foi a Esperança julgada

Por setença da Ventura

Que, pois me teve à pendura,

Que fosse dependurada:

Vem Cupido com a espada,

Corta-lhe cerce o baraço.

Cupido, foste madraço.

As you can see, the rhyme scheme is: abb cddc cbb, which is the most common one.

The theme of a Villancico was usually about the saudade, about the countryside and the shepherds, about 'the perfect woman' and about non-returned love and consequent suffering. Iberian poets were strongly influenced by Francesco Petrarca, an Italian poet.

Home | Up | Anthem | Aria | Ballad | Chant | Madrigal | Aubade | Carol | Chanson | Devotional song | Frottola | Hymn | Lament | Laude | Lullaby | Plainsong | Recitative | Tagelied | Villancico

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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