Research Manuscript Series

Document Type


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Santa Clara, Calif. : Santa Clara University, Department of Anthropology and Sociology


The Spanish missions in Califomia1 were frontier outposts established in order to defend northern borderlands and also to extend Spanish civilization to the peoples of California. From the founding of Mission San Diego in 1769 to the secularization of Mission Santa Clara in 1836, these settlements remained distant from the Spanish metropolitan areas, yet not "off the end of the road" when it came to European cultural life. The Spanish crown, in conjunction with the Roman Catholic Church,2 sent Franciscan missionaries3 to "reduce" the Indian communities in California into concentrations of the population into religious settlements known as the missions. By the original plan, these reducci6nes were to tum the baptized4 Indians or "neophytes"5into decent urban, productive members of the Spanish world within the span of only ten years. The courageous responses of the native peoples to the great pressures exerted to extinguish their heritage, as well as the extensive continuity of Spanish traditions, are borne out in the musical life at Mission Santa Clara.

In this study, I inventory and analyze little-known musical manuscripts located presently at Santa Clara University, the site of the former Mission Santa Clara. My research takes into consideration the religious, secular, and indigenous context of the music at Mission Santa Clara from 1777, the year of the founding of the mission, to 1838, when Mission Santa Clara was the final mission in Alta California to be confiscated. I describe and discuss the Choral Book of Mission Santa Clara, examining its use and its context. The first appendix presents an initial complete inventory of the contents of this magnificent liturgical book. Subsequent appendices contain my transcription and translation of an hithero unknown musical tutor found in the Miscellaneous papers from the mission library; my transcriptions and translations of the seventeen Spanish-language songs of the Choral Book; my transcriptions of the small number of chants I have identified as forming the basis for the chants of the Choral Book; and transcriptions of seven songs of the Yokuts people, who inhabited Mission Santa Clara after 1811.6

Part of

Research Manuscript Series; 13


Permission to copy or publish any portion of SCU Archives materials must be given by Santa Clara University Library, Archives & Special Collections.



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