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THE HISTORY OFMUSIC ON MENORCA

Music occupies an important place in the entertainment scene on Menorca, just like traditional festivals, which provide a unique variety of celebrations that help share the local culture and music.

Historia de la música en Menorca

There are many important musical events throughout the year. Every season, they include prominent productions and world-famous figures such as International Opera Week at the Teatro Principal of Mahón, one of the oldest and most famous opera theatres in Spain (rebuilt in 1829); the Summer Music Festival in Ciudadela, whose concerts are housed in the leading churches and public buildings; the concerts featuring the Capella Davídica in Ciudadela; the International Organ Festival; and the International Jazz Festival.

Cristine Bedfor

Menorcan popular music

Menorcan popular music has played an important role in society by accompanying farm work, celebration and customs. It is part of the values of Menorcan society and has been passed down from generation to generation to become the soundtrack of the feast days of the patron saints and the most festive times of year.

Mallorca and Menorca are much more intermingled in their practices and customs than the other Balearic Islands

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Menorca’s folklore has a clearly Anglo-Saxon feel because the island was in British hands throughout almost the entire eighteenth century: the equestrian traditions associated with the feast day of Saint John in Ciudadela and the Scottish dances in the town of Es Castell are good proof of this history.

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Menorca has a very rich folklore repertoire of dances, vocal music (glosas) and instrumentation. The instrumental ensembles that used to accompany peasant dances, comprised of the flabiol (a small flute with five openings), the tabor and the gaita (bagpipes), is now usually replaced by a more conventional ensemble with guitars, bandurrias, castanets and ferreguins (triangles), which are often joined by a violin.

The most celebrated dance is the fandango, which is quick paced with rapid movements. The jota is a lively, vigorous dance, but there are many kinds: almost every town on Menorca has its own unique jota. The bolero is particularly elegant and dignified, danced to a slower rhythm marked by castanets. Some boleros are called “parado” (stopped) because of their unexpectedly sudden ending, in contrast to the mild rhythmic flow of the rest of the dance.

Ana Carbajal

Musicologist, professor (Antonio de Nebrija University) and researcher at the UCM (Complutense University of Madrid)

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