Anthony Holborne (c1545 - 1602)

Holborne described himself as ‘gentleman and servant to her most excellent Majestie’ (Elizabeth 1) and may have been educated at Cambridge University and the Inner Temple*. Like many musicians of his age he had noble patrons to whom his music was often dedicated. He wrote music for viol consort, mixed consort, the cittern, the bandora and the lute (Edwards, accessed 12/09/2005) A modern edition of Holborne’s lute, bandora and cittern music (in tablature and grand staff notation) has been compiled Masakata Kanazawa (1967,1973). More recently Rainer aus dem Spring (2001) has published a lute tablature edition of the lute and bandora music that takes account of more recent scholarship in attributing some extra pieces to Holborne.

This page contains both lute and bandora music. Holborne’s bandora pieces constitute the biggest collection of extant solo pieces for this instrument by any composer, though aus dem Spring comments as follows: “Taking into account the number and quality of pieces it is clear that Holborne was the most important composer for the bandora. However this music survives (with a few exceptions) in Dd.2.11 only. We will probably never know if Holmes adapted lute music to the bandora...or if Holborne really wrote a substantial body of music for the bandora.”

As it fell on a Holiday [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
The title of this piece (which is either a galliard or a coranto) is sometimes given as:
As if fell upon a holly eve, or
As it fell on a holy eve.
The title is difficult to read in the source but appears to be:
As if fell on a holiday.

Almain (The Choice) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
Among Holborne’s nearlly 80 known pieces for lute and bandora there are only four almains

Almain (Heart’s Ease) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
In this arrangement some chords thinned out and some ocataves changed.

Almain (The Night Watch)
[PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
This almain is found in both lute and bandora versions, and most often arranged from the lute version. This arrangement is derived from the bandora version.

Almain (Reade’s Almaine) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05

Bandora Fantasia 1
[PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
This piece is found in the Matthew Holmes manuscript
Dd.2.11 as a bandora solo and in three other sources as a lute solo. It is not uncommonly arranged for guitar; my arrangement is derived from the bandora version.

Bandora Fantasia 2 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08

Bandora Fantasia 3 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
This is also found as Lute Fantasia 2

Bandora Fantasia 4 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06

Bandora Galliard 1 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07

Bandora Galliard 2 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05

Bandora Pavan 1 (Last Will and Testament)
a) G minor version [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
(largely based on Holmes Lute Book Dd.2.11)
b) E minor version [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
(largely based on Hirsch Lute Book ff.7v-8r)

Bandora Pavan 2 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06

Bandora Pavan 3 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
This pavan is found as a bandora solo and in several versions as a lute solo.
This arrangement is made from the bandora version.

Bandora Pavan 4 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07

Bandora Pavan 5 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
This pavan is a version by Holborne of a pavan by John Johnson (also a lutenist in the service of Queen Elizabeth, and the father of Robert Johnson). The Johnson pavan is found in several sources and this bandora version is found in the Matthew Holmes collection at Cambridge University. There is an existing guitar version of both this piece and the Johnson pavan in “The Lute Works of John Johnson” (Ward, 1994). Tablature versions are to be found in the sources mentioned above, both Masakata Kanazawa and Rainer aus dem Spring have the piece. The latter version has been corrected from lute sources and I have used this for my arrangement. A direct transcription to the guitar would put the piece in G. Like Ward I have chosen to make the arrangement in A; this has necessitated minor changes to the voicing of some chords and one or two bass notes are in changed octaves.

Bandora Pavan 6 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05

Bandora Prelude [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05

Mr.Bond’s Galliard 2 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05
This Galliard has the subtitle ‘Nec Invideo’ (I do not envy). Spring (2001) suggests this refers to Ovid:
‘Parve - nec invideo - sine me, liber, ibis in urbem:
et mihi, quod domino non licet ire tuo.’
O little book, I do not envy you, without me you will go into the city.
Alas, for me because it is not permitted for your master to go with you.
- though why this quotation should be linked with this galliard is not clear.

Clarke’s Galliard [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06

The Countess of Pembroke's Paradise
[PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06 This lute Pavan is one of two pieces by Holborne dedicated to the Countess of Pembroke (the other,The Contess of Pembrokes Funeral(s) is said by Grove to commemorate three deaths in the family). I find this piece very beautiful and it is not too difficult to play. There is a good arrangement by the late John Duarte (Duarte 1979). However he notated it in a way that tries to ensure that all the voices are continually present which produces an unnecessarily complicated layout; I have simplified this and made some other minor alterations.

The Cradle of Conceits [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08

The Fairy Round [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07

Lute Fantasia 1 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08

Farewell [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06

Galliard 05 (New Year’s Gift) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05
This Galliard is found in a version for the bandora (
Dd.2.11, f.62r), and two versions for lute (Dd.2.11, f.54v and Marsh p118). The two versions in Dd.2.11 are very similar and the Marsh version is a simpler arrangement. I have combined elements of all three to provide a guitar arrangement; the two ossia are from the Marsh version.

Galliard 11 (Passion) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05

Galliard 16 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07

Galliard 17 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05
Direct transcription from the tablature of this light-hearted piece sounds too bass heavy on the guitar, so I have raised quite a lot of the bass line by an octave and thinned out some of the chords.

The Gordian Knot (Tinternell) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08

Ground [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05
A bandora piece.

The Image of Melancholy [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06

Pavan (Bona Sperenza) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
In this pavan have revoiced and sometimes thinned out some of the chords and raised the top voices in the first two chords of bar 7 by an octave. The title presumably means Good Hope.

Pavan (Heres Paternus) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
This pavan is found in several sources. My arrangement is based primarily on the version in Cherbury f.8. It is also found in Euing f.19r, Holmes Dd.5.78, f.66v and printed in Varietie (where it is described as: Composed by the most famous and perfect Artist, Anthonie Holborne, Gentleman Usher to the most Sacred Elizabeth, late Queene of England &c.). There is also a consort version found in Pavans, Galliards, Almains and other Short Airs (1599).

It was composed for an 8 course lute with a fair bit of the melodic writing on the lower courses. On a G lute it would have sounded in G minor and the late John Duarte's guitar arrangement in his collection of
Varietie (Duarte & Poulton 1971) pieces puts it in the guitar equivalent key of E minor. I have chosen to drop it to D minor to make it more readily playable on the guitar. In order to do this some chords have been thinned out, some of the bass voice has been raised an octave and, in places, the upper voices have been raised an octave. Examples of this last are seen in bars 6 - 7. I assume Heres Paternus means Heir to the Father.

Response Galliard [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
The name of this piece reflects its musical structure.

Tears of the Muses [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05

Tres Choses [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
This bandora piece is a medley of three tunes, each with a varied repeat. The original would have sounded in C and a direct transcription to the guitar a fifth above, in G. I have made this arrangement in A; bandora bass tuning makes a direct transcription to guitar tuning tricky to play and A is easier. My source for this piece is the
Kanazawa edition. Kanazawa points out that the piece is written on three grounds, the second and third being well known as the passamezzo moderno and the third as the romanesca.

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