Cathedrals, Colonization, and Conversion: Mapping the Music of New Spain

More about our research process

Our research process is still incomplete, and there are many sources that are out of our reach. For example, there are many original manuscripts that have been lost or are now unreadable due to the hot and humid weather conditions in Mexico and Texas. Also, many primary sources are written in Spanish or are held exclusively by the cathedrals and have not been translated or released digitally. Most of our initial research relied on secondary sources, and from there we were able to dig into the primary sources we were able to find. 

A big asset to our research was dissertations, because of the meticulous documentation of sources these included. Dissertations written by Ruben Valenzuela, Eladio Valenzuela III, and Timothy Watkins were of particular use in gathering more sources to guide our research. With help from Drew Edward Davies, we found a database (“Musicat”), which Davies is helping turn into a digital archive of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México’s archival collection. This database was a huge help in collecting composer names, dates, and manuscripts of scores. 

We then focused on collecting data points with the intention of mapping this information on arcGIS. This proved to be more complicated than we imagined, as some of the information we needed to complete a data entry (ex. date or specific location) was simply not supplied in our source material. With that in mind, our maps are not fully complete, nor will they be without considerably more time and effort than this semester allowed.