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Manuel Ferrer | William J. McCoy | Eleanor Hague | Aurelio M. Espinosa | Historic Disk Recordings | More info

Manuel Ferrer

Compositions and Arrangements, by
            Manuel Y. Ferrer. Los Californios® Collection.

Compositions and Arrangements, by Manuel Y. Ferrer.
First published in 1882 by Mattius Gray. This edition is from 1910.
Los californios® Collection.

Manuel Ferrer, born in Baja California in 1828 and moving to Alta California at a young age, studied guitar in the mid 1840s with Narciso Durán, one of the Franciscan missionaries in California.

In turn, Ferrer became an influential performer, teacher and composer — particularly in San Francisco — from about 1850. His instructional book of guitar pieces, including a section of songs, was first published in 1882 by Mattius Gray.

This 227-page work is an eclectic mix of pieces, and includes such pieces as:

Lejos de ella:
     Also sung for Lummis by
     Mrs. Melba Melsing & Mercedes García
Spanish Melody No. 2:
     The same as the tune for Ángel tutelar,
     sung for Lummis by Adalaida Kamp
El jazmín
La cacha
El vestido azul
Spanish Mazurka (No. 1 & No. 2)
Spanish Melody No. 1
La súplica:
     Composed by another californio guitarist & composer,
     Miguel S. Arévalo
Ferrer’s own compositions:
     Nonie Waltz
     Anita Schottische
     Alexandrina Mazurka
     Los lindos ojos (Words by J. M. Paredes)
This book is also somewhat available in a modern facsimile edition from Syukhtun Editions.

Los lindos ojos, by
            Manuel Y. Ferrer.

Los lindos ojos, by Manuel Y. Ferrer.
Published in 1875 by Mattius Gray.

Some additional historic pieces arranged by Manuel Ferrer are available in another modern publication well worth perusing: Hispanic-American Guitar by Douglas Back (Mel Bay Publications, 2003).

El olé
A la orilla del Ebro Jota (Catanbide)
Manzanillo (A. G. Robyn)
El vito sevillano (Hernan)
Arbor Villa Mazurka (Ferrer)
Spanish Mazurka (No. 1 & No. 2)

This publication also features some other guitarists from 19th-century California: Manuel Arévalo and Luis Toribio Romero.

Romero studied guitar with both Arévalo and Ferrer. Douglas Back describes that one of the included pieces from Romero’s repertoire, Peruvian Air, might have come from his teacher, Manuel Ferrer. This tune is also the tune used for La pena negra, a song from Adalaida Kamp included in Charles Lummis’ recordings. Adalaida’s source for the piece is José de la Rosa, who wrote the words into his word book around 1850. He may also be the author of that poem.

Overall, half of the pieces in Douglas Back’s Hispanic-American Guitar are from California sources, a quite respectable percentage.

William J. McCoy

Folksongs of the Spanish Californians, by
            William J. McCoy. Los Californios® Collection.

Folksongs of the Spanish Californians, by William J. McCoy
Los californios® Collection.

William J. McCoy’s song folio was first printed in 1895, and was reissued in 1926.

One early popular folio featuring secular music specifically from Mexican California was that done by William J. McCoy in 1895 and published under various titles over time, including Canciones del país de California and Folksongs of the Spanish Californians.

The pieces included are:

Me mue …
Tus ojos
Crepúsculo de amor
Ángel divino
Mitad de mi vida
El trovador
Te adoro yo
La indita
La culpa
El tormento de amor

With the release of Volume 9 of the Music of Early California (2007 Supplement), all of these pieces are again available, and in arrangements friendly to folk guitarists.

Eleanor Hague

            Folk-Songs, by Eleanor Hague

Spanish-American Folk-Songs, by Eleanor Hague
Los californios® Collection.

Another popular collector and promoter of this heritage was Eleanor Hague. Her work was often published in magazines and academic articles, and she collected many pieces together in larger publications. She was a contributor to the publication Masterkey, published by the Southwest Museum (now part of The Autry Center).

In Spanish-American Folk-Songs, published in 1917 by the American Folk-Lore Society, she included melody lines for a good number of pieces from California, such as:

A la luz de la luna
¡Ay! vienen los yanquis
Las blancas flores
No me mates (Version of El capotín)
Carmela (Carmen, Carmela)
Los celos de Carolina
Dime, mujer adorada
Entré [a] un jardín
Levántese, niña
María, María
Media noche
Nadie me quiere
O blanca virgen, a tu ventana
¿Quieres que te ponga? (Version of Sombrero blanco)
Serenata (Era medio de la noche)
Si formas tuvieran mis pensamientos (Los pensamientos)
Todo tiene su hasta aquí (El termino)
El tormento (El tormento de amor)
El trovador
Vivo penando
Yo no sé si me quieres
Yo pienso en ti

Early Spanish-Californian Folk-Songs,
          by Eleanor Hague, Los Californios® Collection.

Early Spanish-Californian Folk-Songs, by Eleanor Hague
Los californios® Collection.

Eleanor Hague’s music folio, Early Spanish-Californian Folk-Songs, published in 1922 with piano arrangements, was influential in preserving this music for performing musicians. The pieces included are:

Carmela (Carmen, Carmela)
Nadie me quiere
El trovador
Un pajarito
Serenata (Era medio de la noche)
Yo no sé si me quieres

The collection of the Braun Research Library at the Southwest Museum Campus of The Autry Center includes some additional pieces collected and transcribed by Eleanor Hague, previously unpublished. Some of these reflect her own transcriptions of pieces from the Edison wax cylinder recordings made by Charles Lummis.

Arrangements of these pieces with lead lines and guitar chords, and usually harmony lines, are available to musicians in the Music of Early California.

Aurelio M. Espinosa

Folklore de California,
            by Aurelio M. Espinosa, Los Californios® Collection.

Folklore de California, by Aurelio M. Espinosa
Los californios® Collection.

Aurelio M. Espinosa, who was also a noted linguist in the Spanish-language field, applied his highly developed academic methodology and resources to the collection of folk lore in New Mexico and California, including documention of the words to many songs from both areas. Las Romances Tradicionales en California was printed in 1925 as part of a collection of essays, Homenaje a Menéndez Pidal, Tomo 1. It is the only source I have encountered to document any appreciable tradition of romances in California. Published in an edition of only 1000 copies, this publication is not currently readily available. One original copy is housed at the Geisel Library at the University of California at San Diego in Special Collections.

Another point of interest in this publication, mentioned in passing, was Espinosa’s observation of similarities between Spanish as spoken in New Mexico and as spoken in historic California. And since Espinosa is the primary authority on the specifics of how Spanish in New Mexico is different from Spanish spoken elsewhere, we can be assured that this is not just idle speculation.

Folklore de California, a pamphlet published in 1930, includes words to a number of songs. This work is more available than the previous document, but has not yet been re-printed for modern use. Included are words to:

El vaquero (El charro in Lummis’ collection)
La muerte del marido (See Esequia de Villa’s La viuda
     and Adalaida Kamp’s El celoso)
Oración sobre la pasión
Jesucita Ruiz
Mañanitas de placer (See versions by Adalaida Kamp
     and Manuela García)
La batalla de los tulares (A romance specifically about an
     event in California)
El capitán enamorado (See Manuela García’s Capitán de un barco)
El borreguito (A version of El borrego)
Por la señal
A collection of coplas populares

Unfortunately, because his interest was in the poetry, Espinosa’s work does not include tunes.

Historic Disk Recordings

Bowmar Records Album Cover. Los Californios® Collection.

Bowmar Records Album Cover
Los californios® Collection.

This album of 78 rpm records from Bowmar Records came out in 1953. It includes versions of a number of songs included in Charles Lummis’ folio, some in English-language translations.





This 1953 collection from Bowmar Records includes:

La indita (English-language
     version from McCoy)
Cántico del alba (In Spanish)
Alabado (In Spanish)
El zapatero (English-language
     version from Lummis)
La noche está serena (Spanish-language
     version from Lummis)
El capotín (Spanish-language
     version from Lummis)

Decca Records Album Cover. 
            Los Californios® Collection.

Decca Records Album Cover
Los californios® Collection.






This 1950s album of 78 RPM records from Decca also includes the English-language versions of a number of songs included in Charles Lummis’ folio.

Find further information about this type of music at:

Californios and Spanish-speaking Californians in Sheet Music

Where to find this music currently in print and recordings

To find a CD or music books of this music, go to San Diego Friends of Old-Time Music — Wares

If you came to this page via a detour, return to where you left off at
Spanish-Language Social Music of 19th-Century Southern California

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