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Mystery: Is the Spanish Anthem Arab?

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Forum Name: Historical Art & Architecture
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Topic: Mystery: Is the Spanish Anthem Arab?
Posted By: pinguin
Subject: Mystery: Is the Spanish Anthem Arab?
Date Posted: 06 Feb 2011 at 13:13
This is a mystery for me. There is some evidence in the web that the Spanish national anthem has Arab origins. Or, better said, it was based in music composed in Al-Andalus Confused. How come this could be? It is true or just an hoax.

This is the evidence. Try to hear it, you must have a good hear.

Modern Spanish Anthem, from the Franco age. The lyrics were selected by the dictator.

The Royal March, that is official anthem since the 18th century, and was the symbol of the Spanish Empire. Here with the flag of the Spanish empire. Please listen carefully. It is the same march.

But, this melody seems to be part of an Al-Andalusi musical piece, writen in the Middle Ages. Now you must have a very good ear. Go ahead, listen it. Curiously, the lyrics of the original tune was a poem to Alah Confused

I quote the thesis in Spanish:
Otras fuentes apuntan a que el origen del himno oficial podria estar en la tusiya u obertura instrumental del movimiento Dary de la Nuba al-Istihlal del filosofo y musico arabe saraqusti Ibn Bayyah (Avempace) de finales del siglo XI o principios del XII. Tras descubrir casualmente el parecido entre una composicion del sabio andalusi, interpretada por Omar Metiou y Eduardo Paniagua, y el himno espanol, el musico andaluz Chapi Pineda confirmo las semejanzas

So, it appears that the Spanish Arab musician and philosopher Avempace was the author of the melody in the 11th or 12th century A.D.

Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 06 Feb 2011 at 14:50
Oh good heavens La Marcha Granadera (and no Granadera does not refer to Granada but to grenadiers!) as an old Andalusian folk melody! What's next the Bourbons are really descendants of Tariq? The fact that the earliest transcription of the music dates from 1761 and the Libro de Ordenanza de los toques militares de la infanteria espanola compiled by Manuel de Espinosa and that the youtube snippet does proceed from the suppositions of Metio and Paniagua, with the latter being a bit creative on his part premised on rather loose variations found in the Cantigas de Santa Maria, one might suppose a bit of Spanish PCism is at work here within the ambit of the propagandistic Tres Culturas milieu. But then many Spanish musicologists, the most famous of which was Isaac Albeniz, share such a trait. As for the Cross of Burgundy being a "flag" rather than a standard one could wax poetic as to the actual difference. Anyway, national tunes and flags are an 18th century phenomenon--of course if one is a hopeless Carlista anything goes. Anyway since they are inextricably linked to nationalistic folderol consequent to their actual necessity at sea...oh well anyone ready to discuss drinking songs and national anthems?

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 06 Feb 2011 at 21:45
Interesting oppinion, doctor. However, (1) is the Nuba al-Istihlal  a real musical piece? (2) It is true that was writen by Avenpace? And finally, (3) it is true that sounds as above? I don't know that, and you are the expert. Because if these three conditions hold, then certainly the Grenadiers March comes from there.

By the way, also calls my attention of the Spanish anthem the second verse of the lyrics: "Glory to the fatherland that knew how to follow, over the blue of the sea the path of the sun".... Obviously, that lyrics talks about Hispanic Americans, because we followed that path, while Spaniards , that stayed in Spain, did't... LOL

Here is another version of the Nuba, that sounds more believable.

La Tawshiya (preludio instrumental) del movimiento Dary de la Nawba Al-Istihlal podria ser el orígen del Himno nacional espanol, cuyo autor se desconoce hoy día.

(Translation: Tawshiya, instrumental prelude of the Dary movement of the nuba Al-Isihlal, from Avempace, could be the origin of the Spanish national anthem, whose author today is unknown)

What do you think on this?

A record with the Nuba

Avempace, whose Arab name was Ibn Bayyah. Well, his full name was longer: Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn al-Sa'ig ibn Bayyah. Was born in Zaragoza in 1080 and died in Fez in 1139.

Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 00:26
The only piece there that to me has anything Arabic about it is the last, labelled al-Istilhal.
The others aren't even medieval let alone Arab medieval.  

Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Posted By: Al Jassas
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 01:21
While its definitely not Arabic (the first two samples) I wouldn't rule it out completely. Court and military music in Andalusia was purely instrumental and completely different than the Ottoman music that came to dominate the region.
The guy's name is Ibn Bajah, he was not a professional musician but a philosopher. Also being from Zaragossa, he would have not wore a turban and he would be probably be blond and not Asian looking since his family have been living in that region for 350 years and was well integrated with the Islamicised gothic nobility.

Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 02:57
Penguin, none of your suppositions hold--perhaps you did not grasp the implications of my mentioning Albeniz--and the assignation of musicalization to the 11th century is more than pure supposition it is sheer fancy. The "creativity" of contemporary musicians can hardly be accepted as historical recreations. The album cover itself should give you the biggest hint in all of this.
As for the purported lyrics to the "Royal March", you very well know the origins of this particular piece of puffery in the Spain of the 1920s.
Whether you choose the lyrics of Eduardo Marquina or the later ones of Jose Maria Peman, they are impositions of the 20th century that never gained popular acceptance. Particularly since the Marcha Real itself had achieved a long association with the pasos de la Semana Santa in all of Andalucia and Castilla la vieja. -
Here is an example of what it would sound like solely with cornetas y tambor and flauta y tambor. - -
Orchestration can do wonders: -

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 03:07
Indeed. Andalusian classical music was different from "Arab" and "Ottoman" musical styles. The Nuba was a piece of Andalusian classical music, which have a structure similar to western Symphonies and Operas. That is, it is compossed of several parts with different moods.
Fortunately, a large number of pieces has been preserved where that musical tradition is still alive: Morocco. Also, the Sephardite Jews keep this traditional style as well. Andalusian music also influenced local music in Spain, and probably in the rest of Europe as well.

Some Andalusian classical music.

From Israel,

From Morocco,

Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 03:17
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Penguin, none of your suppositions hold--perhaps you did not grasp the implications of my mentioning Albeniz--and the assignation of musicalization to the 11th century is more than pure supposition it is sheer fancy. The "creativity" of contemporary musicians can hardly be accepted as historical recreations. The album cover itself should give you the biggest hint in all of this.

None holds? Please, be systematic and explain it to me. I am not a musician and I live almost at the antipodes of Spain. Do not expect I can reach the conclusions easy.

What is the "creativity" in the album cover that make you suspicious? I would like to know.

Also, I made three question to you. Please, kindly answer them by separate:

(1) is the Nuba al-Istihlal  a real musical piece?

YES or NO?

 (2) It is true that was writen by Avempace? And finally,

YES or NO?

(3) it is true that sounds as above?

I will reformulate it: If the Nuba exist and was written by Avempace, then does it sounds like the piece above?

YES or NO?

Please, kindly answer the questions above, and give me your reasons.

I will accept a sincere "I don't know" as an answer. Don't worry.


Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 03:57
The answer is simple: Webislam is agiprop! That is your "source" is it not? As for the interpretations you put forth be it a lad in a yamulke or a violin in a Moorish patio, please! There are no authentic musical accompaniments to the poetry of Avepacem dating to the 12th century hence all is contemporary recreation and sheer supposition.
As for critical analysis, I will let a musicologist tell you the truth with regard to the album you present:

This is a prominent and engaging attempt to reconstruct the Andalusi-Magrebi music of the Arabic era in Spain. Of course, beyond its intrinsic musical merits, this is an illustrative repertory with interesting implications for the later - Spanish & Provencal repertory .

Although any statements with respect to the "authenticity" of this program may be somewhat dubious, there is actually a huge volume of medieval literature on the subject, led by none other than Abu Bakr Ibn Yahya al-Sayigh (Zaragoza 1070 - Fez 1138) or "Ibn Baya" of the present ensemble. Fortunately for any project of this sort, medieval Spain was one of the most literary socities around. Beyond the extensive theory, the andalusi lute of the period has been reconstructed from preserved carvings.

Naturally, the most similar music is the contemporary Nuba (or "modal suite") music of Morocco. However, the present reconstruction offers some styles and techniques which seem more evocative of other musical approaches of the Islamic world, including that of contemporary Iran (considered by many to be the "least changed" over the years). What is most striking here is that there is no derivative character. The music proceeds in a unified way, with no creeping doubts. It is very confidently laid out, and although not as florid as most contemporary repertories, solidly expressive. In that sense, while any remarks on "authenticity" would be dubious, this reconstruction is believable as a real musical system.

Todd McComb
There are far more examples of music with impeccable historical lineage to present with respect to the authentic rather than dwell upon artistic fancies.
As for the you know anything about Islamic art? Where do you think that "cover" would originate?--hint look at that turban closely.

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 09:17
Indeed. That could be true about the musical arrangements.
But it certainly doesn't answer the questions I asked very clearly and in an structured form.

Interpreting your answer,
(1) iT Seems that the Nuba is a real piece actually. (answer TRUE)
(2) It was written by Avempace? (Answer TRUE)

So, far no problems. However,

(3) It is true it sounds as above? (Your answer is FALSE)

That's interesting. So, your argument against the authenticity of the piece is based in the fact is a reconstruction. But a reconstruction of what?  They had the plot of the Nuba, of course. But did they have musical notations for the melodies at those times.

I doubt there is a system of written recording of the arrangements at those times, of course. Guido D'Arezzo wasn't born as yet, and musical notations in the Middle Ages times were rudimentary, to say the least, but there were some. However, I am not sure if there were recordings of the melody available at Al Andalus. If so, were the melodies of the Nuba were recorded or not? Are those melodies of the Nuba some modern inventions, or just they are actually reconstructions based in the real melodies, with some fixings here and there?

Please, be precise. I am not interested in the political motivations of these studies but only about facts.


Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 13:07
Perhaps your problem stems from a poor mastery of English or just simply an excessive calcification of the cranium. For one thing, the modern Nuba is a Maghrebi creation and if we are are going to discuss Ibn Baijah then we are in the realm of the Zinyab responding to European modalities of the 11th and 12th centuries. There is no evidence either in the literary record or the surviving manuscripts on music that would even substantiate that this latter individual ever composed a Nuba (nabwas) and if you can read French you can understand the circuitiousness of what is pretended:
La musique andalouse marocaine
Faute de documents ecrit, il n'est pas aise de savoir a quel point la musique andalouse est restee fidele a celle qui etait en vogue dans l'ancienne Andalousie -
You might as well play the "lute where's my lute" game in assigning origins and then enter the byzantine world of the fractionals. The Cantigas de Santa Maria illustrate the instrument but even there you'd be hard put to establish origin.
The instrument there is much different than both earlier examples (from the Persian and Byzantine) and later representations. Anyway do you understand that a Nuba is not a short ditty or even a brief song and that in an Andalusian setting it referred to poetry? So frankly speaking the association of the March of the Grenadiers as music with the poem and poetry of Ibn Bajia exists solely in the minds of Metioui and Paniagua. The kindest statement that can be made falls in the field of artistic license. What next the cantigas of Martin Codax are not reflective of the authenticity of the Medieval cancioneros but instead display the impact of Persian song on Europe?

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 13:22
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Perhaps your problem stems from a poor mastery of English or just simply an excessive calcification of the cranium.

Thanks for the answer, but I don't thanks you the insult.
In any case, I should better communicate with the experts, rather than with yourself, given the fact the only thing you do is "googling". Something I can do even better than yourself.

As usual, with your persistent insults, you insist in behaving as an idiot. And, obviously, your agresive style is tollerated -and even celebrated- in this forum, you sucker. Angry

Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 13:39
You have yet to display any mastery of the art of Googling much less adeptness with the Bing or even an exhorting from Yahoo so why use the Internet at all. Oh wait then we wouldn't have all of those diversions from for your interest in the facts, well you seem to find those little more than intrusions upon your artifices. Now that you do not like being treated with doses of your own medicine should actually bring you to an Eureka moment...but I am afraid that with that last outburst you have proven yourself terminal.

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 21:40
You insulted me, Drgonzaga. I just answered you what you deserved.

You keep this strategy to get me banned. I know.

And the reason is simple. Your arguments never have any consistency. You don't follow logic, and perhaps the reason is you don't undestand it. All your strategy are Ad Hominem attacks and Straw Men. You can't follow a reasoning either.

And suddenly, you find a guy that expose your ignorancy. And you feel threatened.

Certainly, you can get me banned, but you will prove nothing.

With respect to the topic, it is quite simple: I don't know the answer, and you don't know either.
You believe you know, simply because you see a fact and assume an answer in an authomatic form. You don't have the custom to doubt, to meditate, and to search for the truth. Specially if the question is outside your speciality. Why to search for the truth, when you always know the answer once you ear the question.

If you had said me: "In Al-Andalus there wasn't musical notation, and no single musical piece survived", I would have accepted it. But you just tried to show how smart you are and how stupid are your opponents.

It is sad, Dr. Right. I just have to wonder how much people loves you in real life and I feel pitty for you.

Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 07:32
This mystery is getting more interesting the more I research.
It is seem, it is right there wasn't musical recording at Al-Andalus. However, there has been a continuous musical tradition from Al-Andalus to the present keep at Morocco and other Arab countries.

Is it possible to preserve music just by memorizing it? Just think in an ancient tune, like "The old McDonald have a farm" and the melody immediately comes back to you.

It is known that history and events can be keep by oral tradition for hundred of years. That way the Iliad was preserved, the Sundiata of Mali as well, and the history of Hotu Matua in Easter Island. Two hundred centuries of pre-hispanic Inca and Aztec history was preserved after Spanish introduced writing.

Yes, I don't know much about music, but it seems possible to preserve a tune intact for hundred of years without much variations, particularly if it is a well known piece of art.

So, I need an expert. Please, don't call a doctor. I need an expert!

Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 09:42
After that last outburst you are in need of a psychiatrist. That you haven't a clue comes right up almost immediately with your reference to a certain farmer and his farm and your ascribing it an ancient lineage! Sorry but that little ditty for children has a history and its lyrics are 20th century, while the music is 18th century deriving from an opera from the Age of Handel, The Kingdom of the Birds. Why is it so difficult to accept the fact that Paniagua took a well known musical number associated with Spanish military and religious ritual and rendered it in a purportedly Moorish style? Bone up on the transition of folk ballads and then perhaps you might really understand the role of jogleur, specially in the alteration of more formal musical compositions into a folk venue.
To answer the question posed by the thread succinctly: No the Marcha Real is not of Arab origin and there is no historical or oral tradition that would lead to such a conclusion and in fact its entire sense of structure is firmly bound to the limits and needs of military ceremony and communication combined to the instrumentalities associated with such: horn, drum, and flute. You might as well have claimed Arab origins for Yankee Doodle since it too derives from the musicality of a certain grenadier during the mid 18th century.

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 10:51
I am waiting for the experts, doctor. Sorry.
It will be very interesting to know Paniagua's oppinion indeed, rather than yours.
I am taking hollydays now. I hope when I come back I receive an informed aswer. Let's hope so. Informed and a bit more educated, I hope.

Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2011 at 02:34
Guess you will have a long wait, perhaps until Doomsday, but then enjoy your holidays--we will certainly give grace for your absence since it promises the new Millenium.

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2011 at 23:08
Thanks for your wishes about my holidays.

With respect to the mystery, I have patience. At least this is an authentic mystery. I wish I could write Paniagua himself to ask about the topic.

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