Romanza, also known as Spanish Romance’ and ‘Romance De Amor’r, was written by an anonymous composer some time in the 19th century.
‘Romance Anónimo’ (Anonymous Romance) is a Spanish piece for guitar, also known as ‘Estudio en Mi de Rubira’ (Study in E by Rubira), ‘Spanish Romance’, ‘Romance de España’, ‘Romance of the Guitar’, ‘Romanza’ and ‘Romance d’Amour’ among other names.
Its authorship is currently in question, and it has variously been attributed to Antonio Rubira, David del Castillo, Francisco Tárrega, Fernando Sor, Daniel Fortea, Miguel Llobet, Vicente Gómez, and Narciso Yepes. The Anonimo (Anonymous) part of its name has been incorporated over the years due to this uncertainty. The question of authorship has probably been propagated by three main reasons: the lack of claim by its true author; the desire to avoid paying copyright fees; and the desire of publishing companies to claim the lucrative copyright of this world-famous song.
The style of the piece is that of the Parlour music of the late 19th century in Spain, having a closed three-part form – the first in the minor key and the second being in the major key, with the third being a restatement of the first.
Narciso Yepes interpreted and is listed as the author of the song in René Clément’s 1952 film Jeux interdits (Forbidden Games). The popularity of the film gave the song worldwide fame. Yepes currently has the copyright of this composition in Spain although recordings and manuscripts of this song predate 1952. Newer publications show Yepes as the arranger and being of anonymous authorship. However, the official statement from Narciso Yepes and the Yepes heirs claim that the young Narciso originally composed the piece for his mother when he was about seven years old (c. 1934) and soon thereafter performed it between acts at the Teatro Guerra, in Lorca. However, sometime later, when Yepes was thirteen years old, he attended a performance in Valencia and heard his composition performed by another guitarist who indicated the authorship as “anonymous”. The melody had evidently been plagiarised (with some changes to the accompaniment) by someone who had attended that first performance.
Vicente Gomez published it and performed it in the Hollywood movie Blood and Sand (1941 film) with Tyrone Power and Rita Hayworth, also attributing authorship of the song to himself.
Publishing company Ricordi of Argentina currently publishes the piece and attributes authorship to Antonio Rubira.
The earliest manuscripts of the song documented so far, are from the late 19th century: one attributing authorship to Antonio Rubira; and an unsigned version which shows a note at the bottom stating “Melodia de Sor” (Sor’s melody) – arguably attributing the piece to Fernando Sor, though the style is vastly different from Sor’s work.
A noticeable difference between the early manuscripts and the famous version of Yepes is the inverted arpeggio. These originals have not been conclusively dated by radiocarbon dating and/or been subject to professional graphological scrutiny to determine whether they are in Rubira or Sor’s autograph.
A Ukrainian folk song Nich Yaka Misyachna (Beautiful Moonlight) could also be a precursor of the song. Although some correlation can be made between Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (especially the arpeggio), the Romance song and the Ukrainian folk song, little can be explained as to why the folk song has enjoyed such success through Eastern Europe and Russia, while being vastly different from the Spanish song and its different arrangements. Obviously Western music is largely governed by the same harmonic principles and similarities between unrelated original compositions are not only inevitable but ubiquitous.
If you like this video, then you might also want to look at these videos:-