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The tonada is a folk music style of Spain and some countries of Hispanic America (mainly Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela). In nowadays Spain, the traditional sung piece known as tonada is considered as having been originated in Asturias and Cantabria, although tonada (from "tone") is a Spanish word which can mean anything sung, played or danced, musicological usage in Spanish and English is more specific.[1]

Baroque Peru[edit]

The baroque tonada is distinct from the tono humano or tonado, secular song, a main genre of 17th-century Spanish and Portuguese music. Examples of the baroque tonada are found in the Codex Martínez Compañón.[2]


The Argentine form of the tonada originates from Cuyo Region and is usually played by guitar group.


The modern rural Chilean folk tonada is typically a simple "monotonous" [3][4] slow-moving song with a melancholy theme.[5][6]


  1. ^ Jane Magrath, Pianist's Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature, page 448. "A tonada is a Spanish word meaning anything sung, played or danced. Rhythmic writing, mild dissonances, at the same approximate level as Turina Miniatures. The works are tonal and frequently use ostinatos containing tonal and modal..."
  2. ^ Emily Kay Berquist, The science of empire: Bishop Martinez Companon and the ... page 29, The University of Texas at Austin, 2007. "The liner notes to the Música Temprana recording of Martínez Compañón's musical annotations, Al Uso de Nuestra Tierra, Chants et danses du baroque péruvien, confirms that 'the Tonada del Chimo is the only original music written to a text in the mochica language, a language that had already disappeared by the time of Martínez Compañón'."
  3. ^ Raquel Barros y Manuel Dannemann, El romancero chileno, 1970.
  4. ^ Juan Eduardo Wolf, La Tonada Chilena: The History of a Musical Genre through Performance, 2007. "Employing one of the classic descriptions of a tonada, Barros and Dannemann state that the melody of a tonada is simple and monotonous. They state that the melodies use only small intervals and use this criterion to once again distinguish..."
  5. ^ The World and its peoples: Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Falkland Islands, 1966. "OTHER POPULAR AIRS: The Chilean countryside and towns each have their own brand of folk song. In rural areas the lyrical tonada Chilena is particularly popular. A tonada is divided..."
  6. ^ Marianne Pickering, Chile: Where the Land Ends, 1996. "A tonada is usually a slow-moving song with a melancholy theme. Thirty years ago, the Nueva Cancion (nu-WEH-vah kan-see-OWN), or 'New Song,' movement was started by Chilean musicians and poets. The writers protested against the..."