The copla, copla andaluza ("Andalusian copla"), tonadilla or canción folklórica is a form of Spanish popular song, deriving from the poetic form of the same name. Although the genre has a long heritage, it flourished in the 1930s and 1940s, and is epitomized by songwriters Antonio Quintero, Rafael de León and Manuel Quiroga. It is also associated with the Catalonian folk-dance, the sardana.
One of the first singers of coplas was Raquel Meller. Initially she sang cuplé, which later evolved in Andalusian and Spanish song into the copla as it is known today. Other well-known singers of coplas are Imperio Argentina, Manolo Corrales, Estrellita Castro, Concha Piquer, Miguel de Molina, Lola Flores, Marifé de Triana, Juanita Reina, Manolo Escobar, Juanito Valderrama, Sara Montiel and Antonio Molina.
Particularly of note is es: Carlos Cano, who was a key figure in reviving the popularity of the copla in the later 20th century. More recent singers of coplas include Rocío Jurado, Bambino, María Jiménez, Isabel Pantoja, Martirio, and es:Miguel Poveda and, even more recently, Pasión Vega, Clara Montes, Pastora Soler, Aurora Guirado, Diana Navarro, Concha Buika, La Shica, Montse Delgado and Plácido Domingo. Some of these artists, particularly Pasión Vega (born 1976) and Diana Navarro (born 1978), have bent and stretched the genre in directions that have come to be known as Nueva Copla ("New Copla").
Some examples of famous coplas include "Ojos verdes" (Green Eyes), "Tatuaje" (Tattoo), "La false moneda" (The Fake Coin), "María de la O," and Rocío." The lyrics often feature marginalized characters, including prostitutes, sailors, escaped convicts, gypsies and so on, and have themes based on the "illegitimacy of all relationships outside the recognized heterosexual marriage" (i.e., mistreated women, abandoned children and extramarital affairs). See Made in Spain: Studies in Popular Music at 94-95. Because these were stories of love gone wrong, of women who crossed the line of sexual mores, and of men's honor, they used to be criticized for being old-fashioned and sexist. However, more recently, modern performers have given the songs a new twist by "selecting coplas that vindicate a women's power, their independence and their passion." Id. at 287.
- Cuplé – a genre of risqué cabaret songs in Spain of the 1890s–1910s
- Martinez, Sílvia; Fouce, Héctor (2013). Made in Spain: Studies in Popular Music (1st ed.). Routledge. p. 90. ISBN 1136460063. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- Directory of World Cinema: Spain – Page 282 Lorenzo J. Torres Hortelano – 2011 "It is known popularly as a musical genre, with the same name, mostly in Andalusia, so 'Andalusian copla' is a type of light music that flourished in Spain since the 1940s, with songs of human passions, often of a narrative type — classic stories ..."
- Tatjana Pavlović Despotic Bodies and Transgressive Bodies: Spanish Culture from ... – Page 66 2003 "The copla was used as a weapon of Francoist ideology in the promotion of "true Spanishness," but the genre also lends itself to subversive ... Berlanga captures this ambiguity of the copla in order to fully explore its ranges and possibilities."
- Probst Solomon, Barbara (2009). The Reading Room. Great Marsh Press. p. 282. ISBN 1928863132.