John Dowland

The First Booke of Songs or Ayres of Foure Parts (1613)

I. Overview

This is the final edition of this book, first appearing in 1597. Editorial changes--apparently by Dowland himself--make this the favored versions for facsimiles and modern performance.

Title: THE FIRST BOOKE OF SONGS OR AYRES OF foure parts, with Tableture for the Lute. SO MADE, THAT ALL THE parts together, or either of them severally, may be sung to the Lute, Orpherian, or Viol de gambo. (London: Humfrey Lownes, 1613).

Description:
48 pp. in movable type
22 pieces, all but one for voice(s) and lute
Foliation: [none on first 2 ff.] A-L (no J) with 4 pp. in each

II. Prefatory Material (5 pp.)

f. *1) "THE FIRST BOOKE OF SONGS OR AYRES OF foure parts, with Tableture for the Lute. SO MADE, THAT ALL THE parts together, or either of them severally, may be sung to the Lute, Orpherian, or Viol de gambo. Composed by JOHN DOWLAND, Lutenist and Bacheler of Musick in both the Universities. Also an invention by the said Author for two to play upon one Lute. Newly corrected and amended. John Marsham. . . . Nec prosunt domino, quae prosunt omnibus artes. Imprinted at London by Humfrey Lownes, dwelling on Bredstreet-hill, at the signe of the Starre, 1613." [title page]

f. *1v) [blank]

f. *2) "TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE SIR George Carey, OF THE MOST HONORABLE ORDER OF THE GARTER Knight, Baron of Hunsdon, Captaine of her Majesties Gentlemen Pensioners, Governour of the Isle of Wight, Lieutenant of the County of South[hamp]t[on]: Lord Chamberlaine of her Majesties most royall House, and of her Highnesse most Honerable Privy Councell. . . ." [dedication]

f. *2v) "To the courteous Reader. . . ." [details Dowland's previous travels on the continent and reasons for publishing this work; also includes a letter in Italian by Luca Marenzio]

f. A1) ". . . Not to stand too long upon my travels . . ." [continuation of previous address, followed by an epigram by Thomas Campion and the table of contents]

III. Notation:

Tablature: French lute tablature and standard notation in tablebook format

Instrument(s): Nine songs use the 6-course lute (G-c-f-a-d'-g') and the other 12 and the galliard use the 7-course lute (D-G-c-f-a-d'-g')

IV. Indices

The book contains 21 songs for lute and from 1 to 4 voices, arranged around the open page in tablabook format so that several performers can read from the various parts. The part directly above the lute tablature is marked "Cantus"; and is the melody. The other parts (Altus, Tenor, Bassus) are optional.

Twelve of the songs have lyrics which would seem to imply a male performer--being addressed to or mentioning a "mistress" or "lady"--but performance by a woman is still possible.

Contents (for lute and 1-4 voices; last piece for one lute with two performers):

Folio Title
Final
Meter
Vocal Range Note 1
Notes
A1v I. Unquiet thoughts
G minor
C
F4-Eb5
6c lute; lyrics imply a male performer
A2v II. Who ever thinkes or hopes of love for love
G minor
¢
F4-G5
7c lute [7 = D]
B1v III. My thoughts are wingd with hopes
C minor
3/[2]
G4-G5
7c lute [7 = D]; lyrics imply a male performer
B2v IV. If my complaints could passions move
G minor
3/[2]
F#4-F5
6c lute
C1v V. Can she excuse my wrongs
D minor
3/[2]
D4-D5
7c lute [7 = D]; lyrics imply a male performer
C2v VI. Now, O now I needs must part
G major
3/[2]
E4-E5
7c lute [7 = D]; lyrics imply a male performer
D1v VII. Deare if you change Ile never chuse againe
A minor
¢
D4-E5
6c lute
D2v VIII. Burst forth my teares
G minor
¢
D4-D5
7c lute [7 = D]
E1v IX. Goe crystall teares
C minor
C
G4-Eb5
6c lute; lyrics imply a male performer
E2v X. Thinkst thou then by they fayning
G minor
¢
D4-D5
7c lute [7 = D]; lyrics imply a male performer
F1v XI. Come away, come sweet love
G minor
C
F#4-F5
6c lute
F2v XII. Rest a while you cruell cares
G minor
3/[2]
F#4-D5
6c lute; lyrics imply a male performer
G1v XIII. Sleep wayward thoughts
G major
3/[2]
G4-E5
7c lute [7 = D]; lyrics imply a male performer
G2v (XIV.) All ye whom love or fortune hath betrayd
G minor
C
D4-D5
7c lute [7 = D]; lyrics imply a male performer
H1v XV. Wilt thou unkinde thus reave me of my heart?
A minor
¢
E4-C5
6c lute
H2v XVI. Would my conciet that first enforst my woe
E minor
C
C#4-E5
6c lute
I1v XVII. Come againe: sweet love doth now invite
G major
C
D4-E5
7c lute [7 = D]; some verses imply a male performer
I2v XVIII. His golden locks time hath to silver turnd
G major
3/[2]
F#4-D5
7c lute [7 = D]
K1v XIX. Awake sweet love thou art returnd
F major
3/[2]
E4-F5
7c lute [7 = D]; lyrics imply a male performer
K2v XX. Come heavy sleepe
G major
¢
E4-E5
7c lute [7 = D]
L1v XXI. Away with these self-loving lads
G major
[9/4]
D4-E5
6c lute; lyrics imply a male performer
L2v My Lord Chamberlaine his Galliard (A Galliard for two to play upon one Lute)
G minor
3/[4]
7c lute [7 = D]

Notes:

1. The Cantus part only. Notes listed with the American Standard Pitch system (middle A is C4) for the Cantus part only. Note that concert pitch would have been at least a half step lower, possibly more, in this period. Pitches here are given as they are written in the original.Return to text

Index of Genres:

The following chart summarizes the contents of the book by genre. Major genres are given by the form used in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2d ed., with the forms actually used in the book in parentheses.

Genres:
total
major
minor
meter
Songs (all in English)
21
10
11
8 in 3/[2]; 6 in C; 6 in ¢; 1 in [9/4]
Galliard
1
0
1
3/[4]
Totals:
22
10
12
8 in 3/[2]; 6 in C; 6 in ¢; 1 in [9/4]; 1 in 3/[4]

Index of Keys Used:

Keys used in the book; note that the pitch is relative and that since the lutenist was using tablature, there was no need to think in terms of traditional key signatures.

A major 0 A minor 2
B flat major 0 B flat minor 0
B major 0 B minor 0
C major 0 C minor 2
C sharp major 0 C sharp minor 0
D major 0 D minor 1
E flat major 0 E flat minor 0
E major 0 E minor 1
F major 1 F minor 0
F sharp major 0 F sharp minor 0
G major 7 G minor 8
A flat major 0 A flat minor 0

V. Bibliography

Danner, Peter. "Recordings: John Dowland, Lute Songs and Lute Solos, Deborah Minkin, lute . . . and John Dowland, Lute Songs and Dances, Frederick Noad, lute." Journal of the Lute Society of America VI (1973): 68-70.

Newton, Richard. "English Duets for Two Lutes." Lute Society Journal (UK) I (1959): 23-30.

Poulton, Diana. "Some Changes in the Technique of Lute Playing from Le Roy to Mace." Lute Society Journal (UK) I (1959): 7-18.

Poulton, Diana. John Dowland: His Life and Works. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972).

Répertoire international des sources musicales: Einzeldrucke vor 1800. RISM.A/I [D 3482

Ruff, Lillian M., and D. Arnold Wilson. "Allusion to the Essex Downfall in Lute Song Lyrics." Lute Society Journal (UK) XII (1970): 31-36.

Ward, John M. "A Dowland Miscellany." Journal of the Lute Society of America X (1977): 5-153.

Wells, Robin Headlam. "Notes and Information: The Art of Persuasion." Lute Society Journal (UK) XVI (1974): 67-69.

Facsimile:

Dowland, John. The first booke of songs or ayres of foure partes with tableture for the lute. (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI, 1999). [Digital version of: Early English books, 1475-1640].

Dowland, John. THE FIRST BOOKE OF SONGS OR AYRES OF foure parts [Performers' Facsimiles 127] (New York: Performers' Facsimiles, 199?).

VI. Exemplars:

GB-Lbl = Great Britain: London, The British Library This is the exemplar used for the facsimiles and microfilm.

GB-LI = Great Britain: Lincoln, Cathedral Library

GB-Och = Great Britain: Oxford, Christ Church Library

GB-T (in GB-Ob) = Great Britain: Tenbury Wells (Worcestershire), St. Michael's College Library; now in Oxford, Bodleian Library