While eighteenth-century Spanish folk airs such as the fandango and seguidilla are now gaining more recognition, there remains an important oversight: the tirana, a dance song that became particularly popular during the last third of the century onward, even inspiring foreign composers such as Luigi Boccherini, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Saverio Mercadante. Lacking a systematic study, the tirana has been regarded as a general name for Andalusian songs without clear typologies or concrete, identifying musical characteristics. Based on an analysis of approximately one hundred tiranas found in the repertoire of the old theaters of Madrid (held in the Biblioteca Histórica Municipal de Madrid) and dating from the late 1770s and 1780s, the period of development and consolidation of this dance song, this article verifies that the tirana has distinct attributes and evolved from its earliest forms, originating in Andalusia, to more complex and richer examples. In light of this analysis, it is now possible to investigate the circulation and impact of the tirana abroad in the late eighteenth century. For example, Vicente Martín y Soler’s “Viva, viva la Regina” from Una cosa rara (1786), long wrongfully considered the first onstage manifestation of the Viennese waltz, can now be identified as a tirana.

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