Performing Musical Theater in the Bodas de Camacho in Don Quixote
he careful and frequent integration of musical performance in Don Quixote is essential to Cervantes's literary strategy. The abundance of musical references and their heterogeneity suggests that Cervantes's musical knowledge was extensive, and far surpassed that of other authors of the time. In Don Quixote, music is prominent in 51 of 126 chapters, and thirty-five different musical instruments are mentioned in 125 different combinations (Leal Pinar 7176). Several characters sing or play instruments regularly, and entire episodes either depend on music, or it is operative in the background. Elsewhere, 1 documented how musical pieces appearing in the novel are nearly always lyrical poems, sometimes sung and accompanied by music, other times recited and performed from memory, and occasionally just mentioned in passing. I The origins for most of these pieces can be traced to well-known songbook collections such as the Cancionero de Palacio or the Romancero general, while some poems are Cervantes's inventions.
This book chapter is published as Gasta, C. “Performing Musical Theater in the Bodas de Camacho in Don Quixote.” Living the Comedia: Essays Celebrating Amy Williamsen. Vol. II. Ed. Esther Fernández and Yuri Porras. University Press of the South, 2020. Chapter 12;165-76. http://unprsouth.com/Living_Comedia_Peculiar_Lives.htm. Posted with permission.