Daniel Bacheler

Daniel Bacheler (1572 - 1619)  English lutenist and composer. Details of his life were obscure until Anne Batchelor, a Leeds schoolteacher decided to investigate her family history (Haynes, 1991; Batchelor, 1988). She discovered that he was born of a yeoman farmer in Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire, apprenticed to a lutenist at 7 and entered the service of the Walsingham family and later royal service as a Groom of the Privy Chamber in the court of Queen Anne.  Bacheler’s compositions date from 1588 and the style of some of his lute solos suggests that he was still composing in the last years of his life. More than 50 of his lute solos survive, in manuscript form. Some of his pieces require considerable technical skill, and he was among the first lutenists to include passages of melody on the lower courses of the instrument. He may also have been the first English lutenist to adopt the French fashion for unmeasured preludes. His best known composition is probably his version of Monsieur’s Almain. (Spencer, Accessed Dec. 2003Several of the following arrangements are made with the assistance of the Oxford University Press edition of selected works by Daniel Bacheler (Long,1972) which includes facsimiles of the original works and grand staff transcriptions.

Courante (Volte) In G:[PDF] [MIDI] [XML];  In E: [PDF[MIDI] [XML]  Bacheler Grade 06
Long (1972) entitles this a Courante, but remarks that it is more like a Volte. Assuming a lute in G, the piece was originally in F and I have posted two arrangements here, one in G which is closer to the original piece and one in E which is easier to play (but differs from the original in that some individual notes and passages are raised by an octave).

Galliard 1 [Scorch] [pdf] Bacheler Grade 06
This piece is found in (among other sources) the ML Lute Book clearly attributed to Bacheler and it is immediately followed by another Galliard on the same theme entitled 'A gallyard on the gallyard before by Mr Dowland’ (which appears as no 28 in the The Collected Lute Music of John Dowland Poulton (2001). Clearly John Dowland knew and must have admired Bacheler’s work.

Galliard 2 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Bacheler Grade 05
Found in three of the Matthew Holmes Manuscripts

Galliard 3 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Bacheler Grade 07
Found in Nn.6.36, one of the 
Matthew Holmes Manuscripts

La Jeune Fillette [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Bacheler Grade 09
There is an old French tune, 
Une Jeune Fillette, a mournful song about a girl made to be a nun against her wishes:

Une jeune fillette de noble coeur, 
Plaisante et joliette de grand' valeur, 
Outre son gre on l'a rendu’ nonnette 
Cela point ne luy haicte dont vit en grand' douleur.

in English:
There was once a young girl, noble of heart, charming and pretty and of great worth, against her will she was made a nun; this doesn't please her at all, so she lives in great pain.

This seems to have been very popular and a number of instrumental versions can be found including three sets of lute variations. Two of these are by a Polish born lutenist active in the French court in the latter years of the 16th century, known as Jacob Polonois, or Jakub Polak; this one by Bacheler is found in Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s Lute Book. It is written for a 10-course lute; a direct transcription would put it in D minor, but I find it more playable in E minor. The piece is sufficiently similar to one of Jakub Polak's versions to suggest that Bacheler based his work on that of Polak.

Mr Bacheler's Ground (En Me Revenant) [Scorch] [pdf]  Bacheleler Grade 07
Long entitles this piece ‘Mr Bacheler's Round’ as that appears as the title in an incomplete version found in a MS held by Trinity College Library, Cambridge, but comments that the title is puzzling and may be a miscopying of "Ground". Other versions, including the complete version in the Cozens Lute Book (Cambridge University Library) on which this arrangement is based, are untitled. I have followed Long's suggestion in adding the initial upbeat which does not appear in the MS. Since originally making the arrangement I discovered that the tune is 'En Me Revenant' (On my Return - presumably a popular song), and that versions with this title are found in other sources. I made the arrangement in E minor, rather than the original D minor as I think it sits better on the guitar in this key. 

Monsieur’s Almain [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLBacheler Grade 08
This set of variations on a popular tune is found in Robert Dowland's Varietie of Lute Lessons. The title is thought to refer to Francis Duke of Alençon and, later Anjou, youngest son of Henry II of France and Catherine de Medici and brother of two French kings (Charles IX and Henry III). He paid suit to the English queen Elizabeth I and she referred to him on correspondence as ‘Monsieur’; Elizabeth also referred to Francis as 'The Frog’ - perhaps the origin of the title of John Dowland’s Frog Galliard. (I have included other settings of this tune here and here.)

Pavan [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLBacheler Grade 07
I transcribed this pavan from the tablature edition published by Christopher Morongiello in the July 2005 edition of the Lute Society News. It is a beautiful and complex pavan with some interesting rhythmic figures. I have revised this piece more than once since first posting it; the most notable change being to double the original note values - this makes the notation much clearer and easier to follow. 

Unmeasured Prelude
E minor [Scorch] [pdf Grade 07; D minor [Scorch] [pdfGrade 09;
10-String (A minor) [
Scorch] [pdf]  Grade 07 Bacheler
This is one of several preludes Bacheler notated in an almost unmeasured fashion. The sketchy notation may be a shorthand for what was to be essentially an improvisation. However the piece may indicate, both in its unmeasured nature and in its harmonies, that Bacheler began to adopt French fashions in composition towards the end of his life. I take it that the piece can be played slowly with free arpeggiation and decoration. It was written for 9 or 10 course lute and spans a range of virtually 4 octaves. A straightforward transcription from the tablature would put the piece in A minor, but this chopped off too many bass notes. I have therefore transposed it into E minor. This has necessitated thinning out some of the chords and dropping the register of a section from the fourth beat of line two to the fourth beat of line 3 by an octave. This changes the balance of the piece (removing an octave jump between beats 3 and 4 of line 2 and inserting one between beats 4 and 5 of line 3). I spoke to the lutenist Lynda Sayce about this piece; she suggested it should be possible to arrange if for guitar without this compromise and I have therefore included an arrangement in D minor that preserves all the octaves though this is more difficult to play satisfactorily. I have also included an arrangement in A minor for 10-string guitar, on which it is much more straightforward to include the whole range of the piece.

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