Cancioneiro de Belém

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A page from the Cancioneiro

The Cancioneiro Musical de Belém (English: Belém Musical Songbook) or simply Cancioneiro de Belém (Santa Maria de Belém, Lisbon, National Archaeology Museum, Ms 3391) is a Renaissance Portuguese manuscript from the beginning of the 17th century.

General description

This little manuscript with just 18 songs was found in the archives of the National Archaeology Museum, in Belém (Lisbon), by the end of the 1960s. Currently with 77 folios sized 191 x 130 mm, the songs proper are found between folios 58v and 74.

Inside the songbook, an inscription reads Porto, dia de S. Miguel, 603. (Porto, St. Michael's Day, 1603). In spite of that, the music therein is considerably older, being dated as belonging to the period between 1560-1580. This songbook contains the only Portuguese manuscript madrigals known to date, besides vilancetes, cantigas and two rare examples of sacred villancicos, one for Christmas (Pues a Dios humano vemos) and the other for the feast of Corpus Christi (O manjar bivo, dulçe i provechoso).

A few songs are also found in other manuscript sources, as for instance the Cancioneiro de Elvas, and in printed Spanish editions of the 16th century, but the majority of the works are found exclusively in this manuscript.

Among the poets that have been identified are Dom Manuel de Portugal (1516-1606) and the poet-composer Jorge de Montemor (c.1520-1561), as well as the Castilians Garcilaso de la Vega (1503-1536) and the little-known poet Cetina "the Nun".

Publication date and place: 1603 in Porto, Portugal – Manuscript

List of works

Folio(s) Title Composer Text Language Concordance
  1. 58v-59 Pues a Dios humano vemos Anonymous Spanish
  2. 59v-60 Ay de mim sin ventura Anonymous Cetina "the Nun" Spanish
  3. 60v-63 Baxad, Señora los ojos Anonymous Spanish
  4. 63v-64 [Oh] Dulçe suspiro mio Anonymous Spanish
  5. 65 Venid a suspirar al verde prado Anonymous Spanish CME
  6. 65v-66 Desperança vos vestistes Anonymous Portuguese
  7. 66v Dame [a]cogida en tu hato Anonymous Spanish DAZ, ODA
  8. 67 Oy[u]elos graçiosos Anonymous Spanish CME
  9. 67v Mira que negro amor y que nonada Anonymous Spanish CME
10. 68 Aquella voluntad que se ha rendido Anonymous Manuel de Portugal Spanish CME
11. 68v Sabete Gil que me muero Anonymous Spanish
12. 69 En la peña, yunto la peña Anonymous Antonio de Villegas Spanish
13. 69v-70 Qu[i]en te hizo Yuan pastor Anonymous Spanish DAZ
14. 70v-71 Tierras mias ado nasci Anonymous Spanish CML
15. 71v O manjar bivo, dulçe i provechoso Anonymous Spanish
16. 72 De mi ventura quexoso Anonymous Spanish
17. 72v-73 O mas dura que marmor a mis quexas Anonymous Garcilaso de la Vega Spanish
18. 73v-74 Flerida en cuja mano Jorge de Montemor Jorge de Montemor Spanish

Works at CPDL

Title Year Composer No. Genre Subgenre Vo. Voices
Aquella voluntad 1603 Anonymous 10 Secular 3 STB
Ojuelos graciosos 1603 Anonymous 8 Secular Villancicos 3 SAT
Soledad tengo de ti 1603 Anonymous 14 Secular Villancicos 3 ATB
Venid a sospirar al verde prado 1603 Anonymous 5 Secular Villancicos 3 STB


Concordance with other manuscripts:

  • [CME] - Cancioneiro Musical de Elvas (P-Em 11793)
  • [CML] - Cancioneiro de Lisboa (Cancioneiro Musical da Biblioteca Nacional) (Lisboa, Biblioteca Nacional C.I.C. 60) (P-Lm Res C.I.C. 60)
  • [DAZ] - Libro de música de cifras para vihuela, intitulado El Parnaso (1576), Esteban Daza
  • [ODA] - Odarum (Quas vulgo madrigales appellamus) (1561), Pere Alberc i Vila

External links