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Santiago de Murcia

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Santiago de Murcia (d. after 1732) was a Spanish guitarist and composer.

Few details about the life of Santiago de Murcia remain. He may have been related to the stringed-instrument makers, Gabriel and Antonio de Murcia, but this has never been proved. Although he mentions the guitarist and composer Francisco Guerau in the introduction to his own printed collection of guitar music, there is no evidence that he actually studied with Guerau.

In his printed collection of guitar music Resumen de acompanar, de Murcia describes himself as Master of Guitar to the Spanish Queen Maria Luisa Gabriela de Savoy, a post he held from about 1702 to 1714. From 1714 he lived in the house of Jacome Francisco Andriani, Extraordinary Envoy for the Catholic Cantones (those areas of Switzerland that remained Catholic at the Reformation) and Caballero of the Order of Santiago.

Although two of the surviving manuscript collections of de Murcia’s music - Passacalles y obras and Codice Saldivar no 4 - came to light in Mexico in modern times, they were most probably taken there at a later date by subsequent owners. It now seems unlikely that de Murcia actually travelled to Mexico himself.

His date of death is unknown.

One of the important aspects of de Murcia’s music is his interest in a wide range of pre-existing music for guitar, including that by Spanish, French, and Italian composers, and in popular dance forms which probably originated in Africa (rather than in Mexico).

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