Romanza - Romance

A unique genre in the Sephardic Jews musical tradition. A narrative poem, a ballad, originated in Medieval Spain. As a literally form, the text consists of an indefinite number of 16 syllables lines or verses, each one divided by a cesura into two isometric hemistiches of 8 syllables. The rhyme of all the verses is assonant and is maintained throughout the whole song. The music divides this series of rhyming verses (that can indeed be quite long) into a strophic structure, in which one musical stanza is repeated, with slight variations, throughout the text.

The themes of the Sephardic romances reflect the Hispanic heritage, carried and preserved in the communities of the former Ottoman area and in Northern Morocco. The musical style reflects the musical culture of the peoples among whom the Jews lived, including the Turkish makamlar, Berber and Balkan rhythms and European influences. The romance is usually performed as a woman solo song and is mostly used as a lullaby. Very few romances are also for the year and life cycles. 

Video Gallery: 
Romance- Hermanas reina y cautiva (Morocco)

* Until 2:50.

Musical transcription of a variant of this Romance, with lyrics.

Romance- La vuelta del marido (Turkey - Izmir)