Orlando Sleepeth by John Dowland

Orlando Sleepeth by John Dowland (1563-1626)
Grade 2 Intermediate.
Time 0:49

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.


John Dowland is considered the geatest lutenist/composer of the late Renaissance. Dowland wrote many beautiful songs for the lute during the late 16th to early 17th centuries. Many Elizabethan lute pieces bear the names of the persons of nobility to whom they were dedicated. Dowland came before Bach (Baroque) and his work is a rich source of repertoire for classical guitarists today. Orlando Sleepeth is an example of one of the many popular ballad tunes of the day.

Basic Chords and the good news is there are no Barre Chords. There’s a compund note with a slightly off timing so keep in tempo. Play the 4 parts (A-D) twice. AA-BB-CC-DD. Not a lengthy song with a total of 12 Bars. The Last 2 parts (C and D) consist of only 2 bars each. Be sure to change the time signatures from 4/4 to 6/4 at part C and D. Memorize the 5 chords-all majors. (C-A-G-E-D). Suspend bass at all times. With the exception of C, (A G E D) chord root can be found on the open strings on the guitar (EADGbe) so suspending or holding these notes with the chord should be easy.

Orlando Sleepeth: Suspend bass.
Orlando Sleepeth: Suspend bass.

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