Marsh Lute Book

Sellenger’s Round
[PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06 (subtitled ‘The Beginning of the World’)
The well known version of this tune from the Margaret Board Lute Book appears above. The present version (note the different spelling) is a very different harmonisation. This transcription can be played either with the third string retuned to F# or in normal tuning.

Doomp [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 05
One of the pieces discussed in
this section.

Lord Strang’s Galliard [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 07
The title given in the manuscript is Gall Lord Stra so it could equally be Lord Strange’s Galliard. For this arrangement I have rebarred it in 3/4 (barred in 6 in the MS), corrected the 1st chord in bar 17 (the scribe wrote the bottom two notes on the wrong courses), revoiced some of the D minor chords to make them playable in guitar tuning (F natural on 2nd string instead of 4th) and put the bass E in bar 45 up an octave, adding a bass E in bar 46. The curious voicing of some D major chords (with a 6th string bass F sharp) is retained as it strongly influences the character of the piece (see similar voicing in the Anthony Pavan, below). Arguably this voicing may have come about from a scribe copying a 7-course lute piece to 6 courses, but I can see no other evidence for this.

The ML Lute Book
These pieces are taken from the facsimile edition edited by Robert Spencer and available from Ruxbery Publications

Poor Tom of Bedlam [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06
“Poor Tom” or “Mad Tom” appears in song:
“For to see Mad Tom of Bedlam Ten thousand miles I travelled Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes To save her shoes from gravel. Still I sing bonny boys, bonny mad boys Bedlam boys are bonny For they all go bare and they live by the air And they want no drink nor money.” and in literature, eg Shakespeare uses him in King Lear where Edgar disguises himself as poor Tom of Bedlam, a demonic madman, who believes the is tortured by the foul fiend. Bedlam, of course, refers to the Bethlehem Hospital, established in Bishopsgate, London in the 13th century as a hospital for the poor. In the 14th century it began treating “lunaticks” (the mentally ill) and later became exclusively what was then called a lunatic asylum, so that the name “Bedlam” became synonymous with lunacy. The name lives on today in the Bethlem Hospital, now situated in Beckenham, Kent. Neither this tune, nor “Mad Tom of Bedlam” (below) seems to suit the above version of the words (which can be found to yet another tune, sung by Steeleye Span on the album Please to see the King [1971]).

Mad Tom of Bedlam [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 05
The title ostensibly refers to the same character as ‘Poor Tom’ but the tune also appears as ‘Gray’s Inn Masque’ in other sources (though there is also another tune with this name that appears twice in a different keys later in the ML manuscript). Certainly the piece does sound as if it might be masque music and part of it is similar to Lord Souche’s Maske (below). The masque was an entertainment that developed in England during the 16th and 17th centuries around a masked dance. Masques were usually based on allegorical or mythological themes and involved poetry, music and elaborate sets. They were arguably the forerunners of the semi-operas of the Restoration period.
More about…

John Come Kiss Me Now [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 05
This is a song known in a version by Robert Burns (to a different tune):
“O John, come kiss me now, now, now; O John, my luve, come kiss me now; O John, come kiss me by and by, For weel ye ken the way to woo.” It also appears in Playford and in a version by William Byrd among others. The tune in the ML book appears to be a version of the passamezzo moderno ground and is unusual in that 14 divisions (variations) are written out.It also appears in Playford and in a version by William Byrd among others. The tune in the ML book appears to be a version of the passamezzo moderno ground and is unusual in that 14 divisions (variations) are written out.

French Tune [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 05
This appears untitled and unattributed in the ML manuscript; the tune appears to have been popular as a song by the French musician Pierre Guedron entitled
Est-ce Mars and it appears with a variety of titles in several sources.

Lord Souche’s Maske [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 05
Probably named after Edward La Zouche (?1556 - 1625) who became Lord Zouche in 1569.

Mynshall Lute Book

The Flat Pavan [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06
The Flat Galliard [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06
Paired pavans and galliards, sharing the same thematic material, are commonly found in English lute manuscripts, though there were many more of each found without a corresponding pair. This pair of pieces is clearly similar to the similarly named pair found as duet arrangements in the
Jane Pickering Lute Book and well-known to guitarists from the versions found in Frederick Noad’s The Renaissance Guitar. The duet versions are attributed to John Johnson, but there is no indication of the composer of these solo versions.

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