When, in the first year of my Master’s degree, I started this research, I wasn’t sure I could complete such a huge amount of work. As the days went by, and as the information to look for, the pages to write, the things to fix became increasingly more overwhelming, I had the immense and essential support of my father Franco, without whom this book, with all that it entails, would certainly not exist. A companion of work, a source of inspiration, a continuous factory of ideas and advice. Thank you! But the path taken to reach the crucial moment of closing a thesis is long, and full of people who was of the greatest importance, both in my personal and professional life. My mother Sabina, with Eduardo, gave me the opportunity and the ability to snoop around and then to enter the world of early music. My life, as it is now and as I know it, could not “be” if it were not for their constant and indispensable presence, and I can not thank them enough. Together with my parents, my sisters Margherita and Carolina follow, the omnipresent rocks in the sea of my existence. With them, whether near or far, I “am”, complete with all my parts and all the pieces necessary to carry on. Juan José Francione, “Juanjo”, companion in music and in life, putative brother and patient listener, was a “partner in crime” in the creation of our ensemble Cordis Consort. A gifted arranger and an amazing musician, he always supported, endured, and sustained me without blinking an eye. In a way not too different from how I was “approached” to early music, also the repertoire and the specific instrument of which my thesis is concerned “encountered” me. I don’t think I would never have come up with this research idea if it weren’t for Manuel Vilas who, in the now distant 2004 in Cuba, gave me my first lessons in Spanish harp and tablature reading. Many, many years later, here I am studying and playing to understand how, from the instrument he presented me, it came to the Latin American folklore repertoire so dear to me. My warmest thanks go to Inês de Avena Braga, my tutor in this research and the writing of my thesis. Always available for the best advice, attentive and open to any cue, she was the most impeccable and the best possibe tutor for my work and my human growth. For the fundamental information, which was essential for the development of the chapter on the local derivations of modern harps in Latin America, a very special thanks goes to Juan Miguel Barandiaran Sanchez, friend, colleague and expert. Among my mentors, last but not least I want to thank the incredible patience and dexterity with which Christina Pluhar leads me into the unbelievable “wilderness” of strings that characterizes my instrument, with always new suggestions and ideas, thanks to which my potential as an harpist is slowly coming to light. A warm aknowledgment to the staff of the early music department of the Koninklijk Conservatorium, and in particular to Johannes Boer, Kathryn Cok, Brigitte rebel and teunis van der Zwart, for their infinite patience in answering questions, insecurities and doubts. My companions of the Master Circle, led by Johannes Boer, were imprescindible guides to my work that they always saw with new eyes, giving me from the beginning new ideas and inputs taht I would never have thought of, too immersed in my research. I want to thank the staff of the Cedla Library in Amsterdam, who kindly assisted in the search for rare books, as well as the personnel of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek to made physically available almost infinite material for study and research. To the Fondo de Cultura Económica de España, for sponsoring the fundamental work Historia de la música en españa e Hispano América and making it available to scholars.
The Hague – Torino