Luis Venegas de Henestrosa

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Luis Venegas de Henestrosa (* around 1510 in Écija , Seville Province ; † December 27, 1570 in Taracena , Guadalajara Province ) was a Spanish composer , organist , cleric and music editor.

Live and act

There is no information about the early period of Luis Venegas de Henestrosa. From 1535 at the latest he was a member of the generous court of Cardinal Juan Pardo de Tavera, Archbishop of Toledo (term of office 1534–1545). In addition, he was a priest in the city of Hontoba near Toledo, for which there is a document for the year 1543. In 1557 his main work Libro de cifra nueva for keyboard instruments , harp or vihuela was published . For a few months, between July 25th and November 22nd, 1570, he also worked as administrator of the San Juan Bautista Hospital in Toledo. Because of his deteriorating health, he then had to retire; he died at the end of 1570.


His main work Libro de cifra nueva represents the most important Spanish music collection of its kind in the 16th century; it was the first book in a planned series. It used a new type of tablature for keyboard instruments, which was developed from various systems used in Spain, including Gonzalo de Baena (around 1476 - after 1540). This tablature used the digits 1 to 7 for the notes of the diatonic scale and additional symbols for the respective octave. With this, Venegas believed that he had created a universal musical notation that should be equally usable for keyboard instrument players, harpists, vihuelists and ensemble players. This system was adopted by the composer Antonio de Cabezón , whose Obras de música collection ( Madrid 1578) was deliberately based on the work of Venegas de Henestrosa.

The Libro de cifra nueva contains 138 compositions with all common genres of keyboard music. There are also pieces for liturgical include purposes such as hymns , choral movements , fabordones for the accompaniment of psalms , but also dances, variations , unbound Tientos and fantasies , a 40-voice fugue for ten keyboard and intabulations of motets and chansons . The intabulations go back to compositions by Clément Janequin , Jacobus Clemens non Papa and Thomas Crécquillon . The compositions for keyboard instruments are primarily by Antonio de Cabezón (over 40 pieces), also by Francisco Fernández Palero (around 1533–1597), Francisco de Soto (around 1500–1556), Pere Alberch i Ferrament alias Vila, Luys Alberto and the Nun Gracia Baptista; in addition, Italian works by Giulio Segni (1498–1561) are included.

As an example of how keyboard instrument players can easily transfer lute and vihuela pieces for their instrument, Venegas has compositions by Luis de Narváez , Alonso Mudarra , Enríquez de Valderrábano , Diego Pisador and Francesco as samples in the same oeuvre Canova da Milano edited and adapted.


Libro de cifra nueva para tecla, harpa, y vihuela , Alcalá de Henares 1557. Edition: La música en la corte de Carlos V con la transcripción del "Libro de cifra nueva para tecla, harpa y vihuela" (Alcalá de Henares, 1557) compilado por Luys Venegas de Henestrosa , published by H. Anglés, Barcelona 1944 (= Monumentos de la música española No. 3), Reprint 1965.


  • J. Moll Roqueta: Músicos de la corte del Cardenal Juan Tavera (1523–1545): Luis Venegas de Henestrosa. In: Anuario musical No. 6, 1951, pages 155–178
  • J. Ward: The Editorial Methods of Venegas de Henestrosa. In: Musica disciplina No. 6, 1952, pages 105-113
  • J. Ward: The Use of Borrowed Material in 16th-Century Instrumental Music. In: Journal of the American Musicological Society No. 5, 1952, pp. 88-98
  • M. Querol: La canción popular en los organistas españoles del siglo XVI. In: Anuario musical No. 21, 1966, pages 61–86
  • HM Brown: Instrumental Music Printed before 1600: A Bibliography , Cambridge / Massachusetts 1967
  • L. Jambou, F. Reynaud: Double enigma en torno a la figura de Luis Venegas de Henestrosa († 1570). Su testamento. In: Revista de musicología No. 7, 1984, pages 420-430
  • R. Judd: The Use of National Formats at the Keyboard: a Study of the Printed Sources of Keyboard Music in Spain and Italy c. 1500–1700 , dissertation at Oxford University in 1988
  • T. Knighton: A Newly Discovered Keyboard source (Gonzalo de Baena's "Arte nouamente inuentada pera aprender a tangier", Lisboa 1540): a Preliminary Report. In: Plainsong and Medieval Music No. 5, 1996, pages 81-112

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Music in the past and present (MGG). Person part volume 16, Bärenreiter Verlag Kassel and Basel 2006, ISBN 3-7618-1136-5
  2. Marc Honegger, Günther Massenkeil (ed.): The great lexicon of music. Volume 8: Štich - Zylis-Gara. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau a. a. 1982, ISBN 3-451-18058-8 .