Arte de Tanger: Gonzalo de Baena's New Keyboard Method (1540)

Artist Bruno Forst organ
Format 2 CD
Cat. number 95618
EAN code 5028421956183
Release February 2018

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About this release

Gonzalo de Baena’s Arte novamente inventada pera aprender a tãger (Newly devised method for learning to play) was the first book of keyboard music ever printed on the Iberian Peninsula. Lost for centuries, it was rediscovered in 1992, and early music keyboardist Bruno Forst has since painstakingly decoded its unique tablature system and edited a modern edition, published in 2012.

Baena compiled mostly polyphonic vocal music by various composers, from the old Flemish Masters he himself studied, to contemporaries thriving alongside him in the rich musical environment of Spain under the Catholic Monarchs, along with pieces of his own and several by his son, Antonio. To disseminate this music in arrangements for keyboardists, professional or amateur, Baena transcribed them in an easy to read tablature notation and ordered the pieces in increasing level of difficulty.

While his collection, printed in 1540, was pedagogical in intent, Baena nevertheless left a valuable historic document to posterity, creating a faithful depiction of the place and time that gave birth to later masters such as Antonio de Cabezón.

In 1992 a (misfiled) manuscript was discovered in the Madrid Palacio Real Library: the Arte Novamente Inventada pera aprender a tager (Newly devised method for learning to play), which proved to be the first book of keyboard music to be printed in the Iberian Peninsula, published in 1540. The author, Gonzalo de Baena, was a Castillian musician in the service of the King of Portugal.
The book is a method designed to teach amateurs without theoretical knowledge to play a keyboard instrument through the use of a simple tablature that represents the notes by letters. The pieces consist primarily of transcriptions of vocal works, but also purely instrumental music is included. It is a valuable historical document, faithfully depicting the cultural and musical environment of early 16-th century Iberia. Composers included are Ockeghem, Obrecht, Desprez, Compère, Brunel, Agricola, Gascogne.
Organist and musicologist Bruno Forst has painstakingly deciphered and prepared the manuscript, and performs it complete on this new recording, adding suitable embellishments in the 16-th century style: clearly a labour of love, bringing to life this musical treasure after 472 years!

Recorded in Zaragoza (July 2013) and Madrid (April 2014), Spain.
Booklet contains detailed notes on this extraordinary early Iberian keyboard tablature collection, as well as information and specifications for each organ.
Full organ registrations for each track available at


Track list

Disk 1

  1. Cristóbal De Morales: In diebus illis
  2. Juan de Urreda: Two verses of a Magnificat
  3. Joao de Badajoz: Pange lingua
  4. Juan Anchieta: Congratulamini mihi omnes
  5. Anonymous: Kyrie eleison de nuestra señora
  6. Francisco de Peñalosa: Unica est columba mea
  7. Francisco de Peñalosa: Kyrie eleison 4º tono
  8. Francisco de Peñalosa: Kyrie eleison 8º tono
  9. Anonymous: Conditor alme siderum
  10. Pedro de Escobar: Clamabat autem mulier cananea
  11. Pedro de Escobar: No title
  12. Pedro de Escobar: Patrem omnipotentem
  13. Anonymous: Jesu nostra redemption
  14. Juan García de Basurto: Deposuit potentes
  15. Gonzalo de Baena: Si dedero
  16. Gonzalo de Baena: Ave maris stella
  17. Antonio de Baena: Agnus dei
  18. Antonio de Baena: Kyrie eleison
  19. Antonio de Baena: Sanctus
  20. Antonio de Baena: Pleni sunt
  21. Antonio de Baena: Kyrie eleison 6º tono
  22. Antonio de Baena: Sanctus

Disk 2

  1. Johannes Ockeghem: Domine deus
  2. Loyset Compère: 1º tono
  3. Loyset Compère: Credo
  4. Loyset Compère: Et iterum venturus est cum Gloria
  5. Josquin Desprez: Benedictus
  6. Josquin Desprez: Pleni sunt
  7. Josquin Desprez: Agnus dei
  8. Jakob Obrecht: Benedictus
  9. Johannes Ockeghem: Sanctus
  10. Josquin Desprez: Benedictus. Mass fortuna desperate
  11. Josquin Desprez: Pleni sunt
  12. Jakob Obrecht: Si sumpsero penas meas
  13. Josquin Desprez: In pace, in idipsum dormiam
  14. Jakob Obrecht: Si dedero
  15. Josquin Desprez: Gloria
  16. Josquin Desprez: Agnus dei
  17. Josquin Desprez: Sanctus
  18. Josquin Desprez: Patrem omipotentem
  19. Antoine de Févin: Agnus dei
  20. Antoine Brumel: Mater patris
  21. Matthieu Gascogne: Agnus dei
  22. Firmin Caron: Hélas que pourra devenir
  23. Alexander Agricola: Motete del ciego