Semper Dowland, semper dolens (pavan, John Dowland, 1604)

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is a famous pavan written by John Dowland (1563-1626). Dowland published two different versions of the tune: for solo lute (in "Varietie of Lute-Lessons", 1610) and for consort (in "Lachrimae", 1604).

    This is an arrangement of the consort version for five voices (two treble, two tenor, bass) by Steven Hendricks from his SCA music site at:

    Link to PDF sheet music

    I am playing this as a quartet of plucked strings, without the bass part:

    Treble 1: "Baroq-ulele" bowlback soprano ukulele/lute (tuned GDAE)
    Treble 2: 1915 Luigi Embergher mandolin
    Tenor 1: Mid-Missouri M-111 octave mandola
    Tenor 2: Ozark tenor guitar

    The strangely unresolved ending is original, and described in the Allmusic entry for this tune:

    "John Dowland's Lachrimę or Seven Teares, published in 1604 in London, consists of arrangements for five viols and lute of earlier works, as well as six new pavans. The eighth piece in the volume is an arrangement of Semper Dowland semper dolens. The solo lute version of Semper Dowland semper dolens appeared in Varietie of Lute-Lessons, printed in 1610 for Thomas Adams, and with a treatise on performance by Dowland. The volume was edited by Robert Dowland (1591 - 1641), John Dowland's son, who also contributed two songs to the book.

    Both the solo and consort versions end ambiguously with a plagal cadence -- G minor to D major -- after a strong cadence on G minor. As the title might suggest, melancholy is the dominant mood of the piece, developed musically in the constant, falling four-note figures in the upper and lower voices of the third strain. The lute part in the solo version is very different from that of the consort version, with numerous differences in the melodic material. The end of the piece provides a good example of these differences: While both close with the same cadence, the bass line in the solo version is very active, contains most of the chromatic alterations, and is joined in its rapid declamation by the upper two voices with repeated notes, all leading to a sustained final chord of D major. The consort version, however, pushes to its close with block chords and ends with a quick, neighbor-note motion in the uppermost viol and lute voice after resolving a suspension, making it even less conclusive than in the solo lute version.

  2. billkilpatrick
    beautifully done, martin
  3. catmandu2
    That OM really provides a different character and underlayment for you. Nice Martin!

    One thing I've noticed about citterns: with their sustain, they impel me toward a harp aesthetic, which opens a whole other approach (after becoming smitten with this sustain, I began pursuing more harp repertoire, and clarsach--which I have yet to acquire, and in the meanwhile assuage with hammered dulcimer. There's often such a pronounced demarcation between gut/nylon versus steel/alloy stringing)
  4. Gelsenbury
    Very nice! The ending is obviously asking you to invent a variation and conclusion.
  5. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I have recently figured out that I can read and play bass clef parts for most of these early music arrangements by retuning a bouzouki to FCGD -- this puts the open strings on the same places in the bass clef as they are for GDAE tuning in treble clef. So, I've been adding bass parts to some of my recordings that I had originally recorded without bass. It fills out the sound nicely, and sometimes changes the character of the recording a lot.

    Here is Semper Dowland, semper dolens with the added bass part, making the chords complete. After uploading this, I got a copyright claims notice for the use of their "musical composition" from "AdShare MG for a Third Party" -- obviously spurious and/or malicious. Looking online, they seem to be doing this on a lot of public domain music. Clearly, their business model is to get ad revenue from music on which they have no claim if the uploader is too intimidated or too uninformed to dispute the claim.

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