Dowland’s Galliard by John Dowland

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

John Dowland
John Dowland was an English Renaissance composer, lutenist, and singer. He is best known today for his melancholy songs such as “Come, heavy sleep”, “Come again”, “Flow my tears”, “I saw my Lady weepe” and “In darkness let me dwell”, but his instrumental music has undergone a major revival, and with the 20th century’s early music revival, has been a continuing source of repertoire for lutenists and classical guitarists.

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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