Sor: Seguidillas, as dance music

Whether the Seguidillas of Sor are best regarded as dance music or not

In 1799 at a dance, Sor sang a bolero to his own guitar accompaniment while a woman danced, and there were castanets.  (See the introduction to Sor’s Seguidillas Book 2).  So, in performing any of the songs in Sor’s Seguidillas and in Seguidillas Book 2 which are of an early date, it would make sense to perform them as dance music, maybe with castanets and in a very lively way.

Then in his article on the subject, Sor tells us that in only a few years after 1800 the sung seguidillas became disassociated from the dance. So it might make sense to perform any of the songs which are of a later date not as dance music, but as art songs, no doubt without castanets.

The question is: which of the songs in Seguidillas and Seguidillas Book 2 belong to the early period, and which ones are later?

Here are some suggestions.

Possible “early” ones, which therefore might possibly have been used as dance music:

Seguidillas nos. 1-11 are all possibly “early”.  No. 8, however, isn’t in the strict form so probably isn’t a dance.

Seguidillas Book 2 nos. 1-8. Although these are for three voices and look as though they might be art-song, the fact remains that the British Library ms source is fairly early, so these might be considered “early” for this purpose and therefore might be considered as dance music.

Seguidillas Book 2 no. 9 might be “early”.

Possible “later” ones:

Seguidillas no. 12 is late.

Seguidillas Book 2 nos. 10-11 aren’t in the strict form so probably are not dance.

Seguidillas Book 2 nos. 12-16 are late.

It is only a personal opinion, but I would think that the guitar accompaniments of the “early” ones could well be played in a very lively style with a lot of rasgueado and improvisation.  Guitars of about 1800 (or replicas) would be appropriate, which means guitars which are more like baroque guitars than a Lacote.  The performance style could well be closer to Scarlatti than to Chopin. In the case of Seguidillas Book 2 nos. 1-4, the guitar accompaniment does not really give a good balance with the strength of the three voices, and I suspect that what is notated, which comes straight from the ms source, is only a kind of shorthand and that a lot of rasgueado and improvisation would be all the more appropriate. Also it could be just fine to use two guitars rather than only one.

Sor- Seguidillas

Sor- Seguidillas Book 2

Copyright 2002 by Tecla Editions. Errors and omissions excepted.