Dowland’s Galliard by John Dowland

Dowland’s Galliard by John Dowland (1563-1626)

John Dowland This tuneful dance by John Dowland should be played at a moderate to lively tempo. Note that the piece is made up of four eight-bar (measures) phrases, and that the last four bars of each phrase are a repetition of the first four. To achieve a good dynamic contrast either play the last four bars of each phrase more softly than the first four, or closer to the bridge (sul ponticello) for a more nasal tone color.

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As a dance, the galliard was definitely not one to be improvised, it had dancers combining patterns of steps which occupy one or more measures of music. The galliard is an athletic dance, characterised by leaps, jumps, hops, and other similar figures. The main feature that defines a galliard step is that the last two beats consist of a large jump, landing with one leg ahead of the other. The galliard was a favourite dance of Queen Elizabeth I of England, and although it is quite a vigorous dance, in 1589 when the Queen was in her mid fifties, John Stanhope of the Privy Chamber reported, “the Queen is so well as I assure you, six or seven galliards in a morning, besides music and singing, is her ordinary exercise.”

Renaissance. Moderate tempo. 16 measures. Beginner piece. Repeat the 2 sections. Key of E Minor. 3/4 Time Signature

Category: Easy Pieces, England, Genre, John Dowland, Renaissance, World

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