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In 1858, Francisco Frontera de Valldemosa published a peculiar music theory treatise in Madrid under the title Equinotación ó Nuevo sistema musical de llaves. It has two parts. The first (pp. 11-20) is an explanation of the invention (namely, the reduction of all clefs to only three) detailing the perceived actual need for it (that is, most clefs are unnecessary, and they impede or delay the creativity of the avid music learner). The second part (new pagination, pp. 2-83) is a curious anthology of music in many genres and styles. On the left page of each spread, there is a composition or a fragment of a work in its original clef notation; the opposite right-hand page presents its transcription into the new equinotación system. The musical anthology in Equinotación reveals, for one, Valldemosa's political acumen. To be sure, each one of these composers and compositions was compiled at least for two reasons: one, musical, showing that the equinotación could be used in many different musical genres and contexts; and two, as a professional and social strategy.


This chapter was originally published in Respondámosle a concierto: estudios en homenaje a Maricarmen Gómez Muntané, edited by Eduardo Carrero Santamaría and Sergi Zauner Espinosa, available at

This work is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).



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