Gaspar Sanz (1640 – 1710) was an Aragonese composer and guitarist most known for his multiple volumes of pedagogical works for baroque guitar. Sanz studied under the Italian composer and guitarist Lelio Colista. Canarios (1674) comes from Sanz’s first book and is a widely popular piece from the period.
Canarios is a somewhat simple piece, however it is important to remember it is a dance. The first thing that someone would notice by looking at the score is the alternating 6/8 – 3/4 time signature. For the most part Canarios is very diatonic with very few notes outside of D major. Another thing, that might not be quickly obvious, is that this work simply follows a chord progression of I – IV – I – V and so on.
I would like to compare Sanz’s Canarios to a Francesco Corbetta’s Passacalle (or Passacaglia). Corbetta himself was a prominent composer and guitars at the latter half of the seventeenth century. This Passacalle offers contrast to the Canarios. Even though the Canarios follows a chord progression it is by no means the same level of complexity of the pattern followed in the Passacalle. Passacalle stands out for me with its harmony, melody, and use of suspensions.
I chose to look at this piece as a means to contextualize most of the music literature I know. While I have always known that Canarios was from this period, I have never had the opportunity to compare this work to another piece from the opposite end of the spectrum from this time period.
"Canarios - Gaspar Sanz - Baroque Guitar" YouTube video, 2:41. Posted by "Diogo Rodrigues," upload June 4, 2012. video.
Gill, Donald. "The Stringing of the Five Course Baroque Guitar" Early Music 3, no. 4 (1975). 370-71. www.jstor.org/stable/3125409
"Israel Golani plays a Passacaille by Francesco Corbetta on the Baroque guitar" YouTube video, 2:33. Posted by "ukuleletunes," upload October 6, 2010. video.
Sanz. Gaspar. Canarios. Arranged by Eric Crouch.