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Tiento (m., Spanish tentar : touch, seek, also: seduce; similar to the Italian terms Ricercar and Toccata ) or Tento (Portuguese) is a name for various musical forms that are used in Iberian music, especially for keyboard and plucked instruments was in use for centuries.

The early tiento

The early tiento was a fixation of free improvisations (cf. Fantasia ). This early form includes the technically demanding four Tientos for Vihuela by Luis de Milán (1535/36), in the original (Libro VII of "El maestro") as "Tentos" (Tiento III and IV) or "Fantasías tentas" (Tiento I and II). Milán's Fantasías de consonancias y redobles , “Fantasies about the chord and scale play” conceived as études, also correspond to the tiento type with their explicit instructions for a flexible and, at the same time, improvisational tempo. The Tiento IX para harpa u órgano (Tiento for harp or organ, notated in a 14-line tablature system) by Alonso Mudarra (Seville 1546), here recorded on a spinet , is of limited scope, but of notational interest .

Audio file / audio sample Sound sample 1.32 MB ? / i

In the early baroque period, the term tiento denotes a contrapuntal organ piece in the style of the intabulated vocal polyphony , but often with particularly long diminutions , the glosas .

The Tiento de medio registro

Beginning of the "Tento de registo baixo de 1. ° tom" by Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia; One-part bass solo with three accompanying voices

A special form of the Tiento is the Tiento de medio registro (Spanish) or Tento de meio registo (Portuguese), the Tiento for divided register . This form of the tiento could only develop because of the uniform division of the manuals of the Iberian baroque organs between c 'and c #', but on the other hand it was only able to establish itself there. In these tientos, one or two solo voices are set against two or three accompanying voices by registering the treble and bass halves of the manual differently.

For the solo part (s), practically any solo registration can be used that clearly stands out in terms of sound from the accompanying voices; for the accompanying voices, it is more principals or dumb. Longer pieces can also be divided into several sections of different time signatures, e.g. B. with change from binary to ternary clock ( Tripla ). In such multi-part tientos there is often the opportunity to re-register the solo part as well as the accompanying part (s). Likewise, a previously unanimous solo can then be continued in two voices.

Registration examples

There are almost no sources for the registrations of Tientos. The examples listed here can be implemented on Spanish organs of the time.

The sound samples from Tientos by Francisco Correa de Arauxo were played on the 1765 organ of the San Juan Bautista church in Marchena .

Treble solo

Possible registrations for Tientos de medio registro with discant solo ( de mano derecha , de tiple , alto ) are:

  • Corneta VI (cornet 8 '6f.); Bass: Flautado (Principal 8 ')
  • Clarín batalla (horizontal trumpet 8 '); Bass: Flautado, Octava, Quincena, Diezynovena (8 principals '+ 4' + 2 '+ 1 1 / 3 ')
  • Flautado, Diezynovena (principal 8 ', fifth, 1 1 / 3 '); Bass: Tapado violón (Gedackt 8 ')
  • Flautado, Octava, Quincena, Diez y novena, Lleno (8 principals '+ 4' + 2 '+ 1 1 / 3 ', mixture); Bass: Flautado, Otava sound sample 913 kB ? / i
    Audio file / audio sample

Bass solo

Possible registrations for Tientos de medio registro with bass solo ( de mano izquierda , de bajón , de baxón ) are:

  • Trompeta real, bayjoncillo (inner trumpet 8 ', horizontal trumpet 4'); Treble: Flautado, Octava, Docena, Quincena, Lleno (8 principals '+ 4' + 2 2 / 3 '+2', mixture)
  • Trompeta real (inner trumpet 8 '); Treble: Flautado (Principal 8 ') sound sample 901 kB ? / i
    Audio file / audio sample
  • Octava nasarda; Docena; Quincena; Diezisetena (Flute 4 '+ fifth 2 2 / 3 ' + octave 2 '+ 1 third 3 / 5 '); Treble: Flautado (Principal 8 ')
  • Double bass solo: Orlos (Regal 8 '); Treble: Tapado violón, Tapadillo (Gedackte 8 '+ 4')


Tientos de medio registro have come down to us from the following composers, among others:

The late Tiento

Some of Juan Cabanilles' tientos are multi-part forms, the sections of which already come very close to the Central European fugue .

Antonio Soler finally uses the term intento (Spanish: attempt) for his early classical Fugato movements.

Adaptations in 20th Century Music

  • Maurice Ohana (1913–1992) - 1955 Tientos for guitar
  • Hans Werner Henze (1926–2012) - 1958 Three tentos from chamber music 1958 on the hymn "In lieblicher Bläue" for guitar solo
  • Manuel Castillo (1930–2005) - 1972 Preludio, tiento y chacona for organ
  • Ernesto Halffter (1905–1989) - 1973 Tiento for organ


  • Konrad Ragossnig : Manual of the guitar and lute. Schott, Mainz 1978, ISBN 3-7957-2329-9 , pp. 108 and 114 f.
  • Arsenio García-Ferreras: Juan Bautista Cabanilles. His life and work (The Tientos for organ). Gustav Bosse Verlag, Regensburg, 1973, ISBN 3-7649-2086-6

Individual evidence

  1. tentar. In: Pons Online Dictionary Spanish-German. Retrieved January 15, 2018 .
  2. Cf. for example István Szabó (Ed.): Luis Milán (ca 1500 – ca. 1561): Complete Solo Works for Guitar. Complete solo works for guitar: El Maestro (1536). 2 volumes. Könemann Music, Budapest 2000 (= K. Volume 156–157), ISBN 963-9155-07-1 and ISBN 963-9155-08-X , Volume 2, pp. 7 and 52–69 ( Tento […] ).
  3. ^ Emilio Pujol (Ed.): Hispanae Citharae Ars Viva. A collection of selected guitar music from old tabs, edited by Emilio Pujol. (Spanish, French, English and German) Schott, Mainz 1956 (= guitar archive. Volume 176), pp. VI and 6 f.