OUR SCHOOL: SAN JUAN BAUTISTA – LA SALLE
SPANISH TRADITIONAL MUSIC AND DANCES
Spain's traditional music is essentially a multi-faceted mosaic of
the many cultures of Spain's long and colorful history. For this
reason, the traditional music and dance vary as you travel from
region to region.
For the fourth part of our project “Traditional Music and
Dances” we would like to share with all of you some of The
Spanish Traditional Dances that are typical from some of our
regions. You will learn a bit about:
Jota. The fast tempo jota originally hails from Aragón but is
popular - with minor modifications - throughout the rest of
Spain. With probable Moorish influences, the jota is typically
danced in two's as couples raise their hands above their heads
Flamenco. Attributed to Andalucía's persecuted gypsy
culture, flamenco is a passionate form of music and dance
combining Jewish, Moorish and Andalucían influences.
Paso Doble. The paso doble is a quick and lively one-step
traditional Spanish dance.
Sardana. Danced in a closed circle by several couples joined at
the hands, the sardana is a popular form of traditional Spanish
music and dance from Cataluña.
Muñeira. Whether alone or in two's, the muñeira - or "Miller's
Dance" - is a typical dance in Galicia and Asturias accompanied
by soulful bagpipe music.
Cantabria is a Spanish historical region and autonomous community
with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque
Autonomous Community (province of Biscay), on the south by Castile and
León (provinces of León, Palencia and Burgos), on the west by the
Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea (Bay of
It can be a differentiation and description of the different regional
costumes of Cantabria according to the different geographical locations of
the autonomous region. We have chosen the traditional one from the
The Catabrian Montañés regional costume for women consists of:
Shirt: Strong home canvas with very wide sleeves.
Skirt: long, four or six fingers above the ankle, in cloth, being the most
common tones bright orange, green and yellow. At the bottom, one or two
strips of black velvet.
Tights: Knee-length white or blue.
Footwear: black cloth shoes.
Jewls: colorful necklaces and long
Headdress: silk or cotton floral scarves
with brilliant tones.
The Cantabrian Montañés regional custome for men is formed by:
Shirt: strong home canvas, long up to the knees, open up the chest, closing
with thread with the shape of candy buttons.
Trousers: made of thin cloth.
Vest: silk carved with tiny and colorful
Jacket: made of dark cloth, short, without
rolling, round-tipped or peak, sleeve
Band: silk or worsted wool, red, blue,
Footwear: tall and strong in the natural
color of the leather.
Headdress: High hat of black felt.
Complements: Pinto stick.
Dances, songs and popular music of Cantabria are very rich.
Throughout the year, especially between
San Juan and San Miguel, parties which
combine two types of attraction occur by
peoples: the religious celebration in honor
of the patron saints and the Virgin of the
place and the pagan amusements with more
or less survival of folk traditionally.
Processions, music and dances, Holy cults
and folk competitions, composed a classical
picture that is repeated with little
Both songs and traditional dances of the mountain, and even the regional
costume, are an elemental elegance, but next to the simple marzas, Maya
and picayos (almost bare recitation) find other events more complicated,
such as La Danza de Ibio, the Baile de las Lanzas (in Ruiloba), the
Trepeletré (in Liébana).
The vocal melodies are accompanied by tambourines, whistles, drums,
castanets and a rebec (medieval string instrument).
Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain, with the official
status of a nationality. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona,
Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona, the
second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the center of one of the
largest metropolitan areas in Europe.
The Catalan regional costume for women consists of several
The "bully", a net made of thread that adorns his head and gives
them comfort when dancing.
Velvet black dress, in the case of the "pubilla’s" dress (formerly
known as the heiress daughter of a family), or white shirt for the "Catalan"
suit (implying that it was a woman's farmhouse worker.)
The "mantellina" or "Mantell" can be of lace or other fabrics that
women wear to cover their shoulders.
The "mitenes" are nets made of the same material as the bully and
used to cover the arms, from the elbow to the middle of the thumb and the
top of the other four fingers.
Petticoats are pieces of fine white linen, which go under the skirt to
The skirt made of linen and decorated with floral motifs.
An apron placed over the skirt, usually black.
Jewels, with ornamental function, brooches and earrings highlight
The Catalan regional custome for men is formed by:
The “black barretina” that is the red and black cap that covers the head. A
white linen or cotton shirt or blouse. The “jupetí”, a black velvet vest that
covers the shirt. “Faixa”, a strip between 30 and 50 cm wide that holds the
shirt and the “jupetí” by the lumbar zone.
Knee-length black velvet trouser. The traditional footwear was the esparto
canvas shoes although at the moment also moccasin shoes are used.
As the Catalan part of our cultural identity, in Barcelona events could
not ignore traditional folk dances.
The sardana is a type of circle dance typical of Catalonia. The dance was
originally from the Empordà region, but started gaining popularity
throughout Catalonia during the 20th century.
Music for the sardana is played by a cobla, a band consisting of 10
wind instruments, double bass and a tamborí (very small drum) played by 11
musicians. The cobla has five woodwind instruments: the flabiol which is a
small fipple flute, and the tenora and tible (two of each) which belong to
the oboe family. These and the tamborí are typical Catalan instruments.
The brass instruments include: two trumpets, two fiscorns (a type of
saxhorn created by Adolph Sax during the 19th century), and a trombone
(usually a valve trombone). The double bass was traditionally a three-
stringed one, but now the part is usually written for and played on the
modern (four-stringed) instrument.
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the
city is roughly 3.3 millionand the entire population of the Madrid
metropolitan area is calculated to be around 6.5 million. It is the third-
largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its
metropolitan area is the third-largest in the European Union after London
Male costumes consist of a vest with a carnation on
its lapel, tight dark trousers, a black and white cap,
shiny ankle boots and a white scarf around the neck.
Females cover their hair with a white scarf and a
carnation and they dress either a tight white blouse or
polka dotted skirt or the traditional ankle-length polka
dotted dress with a Manila shawl over it.
The name derives from German Schottisch (Scottish) and originated
in Central Europe (Bohemia) as a typical folk-dance.
Chotis reached Madrid in 1850, being danced for the first time at
the Royal Palace on the 3rd
of November of that same year, under the
denomination of German Polka. From then on, its popularity spread and
Chotis became the most genuine dance in the Madrilenian area, to the point
that it represents their festive spirit.
It is fairly easy to dance Chotis. It is a partnered dance in which the
couples are facing each other. The woman dances around the man while she
makes him turn around his own central axis. The man holds the woman with
one hand and keeps the other inside his vest pocket. His feet are kept
together while he spins on his shoe tips while the woman dances around him.
At a certain music beat, they both move three steps backwards and three
steps forward followed by more turning and spinning.
It is usually performed by a typical
Madrilenian instrument, the barrel organ.
This portable instrument is a 19th century
English invention. To perform its music it is
necessary to turn a crank which moves a
cylinder in which different pins and staples play the keyboards inside a
Aragon is an autonomous community of Spain, resulting from the historical
kingdom of the same name.
It is located in northern Spain, and is bordered to the north by France, on
the west by the autonomous communities of Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y
León, La Rioja, Navarra and on the east by Catalonia and Valencia.
Aragon is divided into three provinces: Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza.
In Aragón the typical costume is known as
Baturro or Baturra´s costume. Is the
costume that used the Jota dancers.
For men: Men should wear a knee length
black shorts along with a white shirt with a
vest. The belt (usually red) should be
placed at the waist, over shirt and pants.
In the head they wear a handkerchief with
black or red boxes. On the feet, they
dress soled espadrilles or sandals.
For women: The Aragon costume for
women consists of old underwear, under a
long skirt with flower print. A white shirt
or blouse and above it, a shawl or scarf
usually dark colored. The legs are covered
with white stockings and shoes, sandals or
Aragonese Jota is the most outstanding manifestation of Aragonese
folklore as well as constituting a genre in itself which is present in most
Spanish communities. The way it is performed nowadays derives from late
and early 19th
It is carried out by dancers, singers and a small music band or rondalla
consisting mainly of guitars, lutes and bandurrias (lute-type instruments).
The rondalla is mainly composed of stringed instruments such as the guitar,
the lute and the bandurria although lately similar guitar-like instruments
(guitarro, guitarrico, requinto) are being recovered and played together
with castanets and tambourines. In an ordinary rondalla the guitar is the
low note that is played with a strumming technique. The highed-pitched
bandurria is in charge of the instrumental accompaniment whereas the lute
introduces the counterpoint.
Flamenco is a genre of Spanish music, song, and dance from Andalusia, in
southern Spain, that includes cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile
(dance) and palmas (handclaps).
In recent years flamenco has become popular all over the world. UNESCO
declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible
Heritage of Humanity.
Andalusia is in the South of Spain. The territory is divided into eight
provinces: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and
Seville. Its capital is the city of Seville.
Court of the Lions
Flamenco occurs in four
The juerga that can include
dancing, singing, palmas
The cantaores (singers) are the
heart and soul of the performance.
Camarón de la Isla was one of the
most famous cantaores.
There are also tablaos,
establishments that may have their
own company of performers for
each show. Many internationally
renowned artists started their
careers in tablaos flamencos.
The professional concert. A dance
concert usually includes two or
three guitars, one or more singers
and one or more
dancers. One of
the singers may
play the cajon, a
wooden box drum
played with the
The so-called Nuevo Flamenco or
"new flamenco", popularized by
artists such as Camarón de la Isla,
may include flutes or saxophones, a
piano or other keyboard, even the
bass guitar and the electric guitar.
Finally, the theatrical presentation of flamenco is now an extended and
sophisticated performance in its own right, comparable to a ballet, by such
ensembles the famous Sara Baras Ballet Flamenco Company.
Sara Baras and Joaquín Cortés are internationally famous flamenco dancers and
regularly tours the world.
Muiñeira is a traditional
dance and musical genre
typical to Galicia, north-
western in Spain. Muiñeira
“is the Galician word for
the English word “miller”.
This traditional “Miller´s
Dance” is called this way
because it was danced by
country people while they
were waiting in the mills to
grind the grain into flour.
“A Muiñeira” is a very
rythmic, fast, bright and
colourful dance. It is usually
danced in Galician festivals,
where there is a traditional
enviroment and many popular
customs from old times are
It’s danced in a group formed
by mixed pairs.
Galicia is an autonomous community in northwest Spain.
It comprises the provinces of A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense
Their music is classified as
part of the body of Celtic music.
Santiaqo de Compostela cathedral.
“A Muiñeira“ is danced to the time of 6/8. It has two or more parts and
these parts have 8 times each.
It consists of two or three parts: one to execute puntos and the other to
execute voltas, which always have 16 times. The volta can be executed in a
ring or in a diagonal.
Dancers often form a circle. Jumps are incorporated, synchronized with
The position of the arms
is very characteristic
because they move from
one side of the body to
the other according to
the rhythm of the
The instruments that are
played to accompany this dance
Gaiteiros, or bagpipe players. Gaita is the most
representative Galician musical instrument.
Carlos Nuñez is one of the most
famous bagpipers in Spain.
In the different areas of the region, this dance can be accompanied by
other typical instruments from each place; or even, sometimes these
dances are only accompanied by songs sang by a group of female singers