• Created by: EGERMAN
  • Created on: 25-05-14 15:52


  • Tripartite: ABA:
  • Each strain is repeated 
  • Repetitions are not exact, but rather embellished variations; figural variation 
  • Regularity of phrase length; multiples of 2/4 bars
  • A: 1–16: Perfect, closing in A with Tierce de Picardie. 

A1:17–32: Perfect, closing in A with Tierce de Picardie. 

B:33–48: A minor imperfect (Phrygian) 

B1:49–64: A minor imperfect (Phrygian) 

C:65–81: Perfect, closing in A with Tierce de Picardie. 

C1:82–98: Perfect, closing in A with Tierce de Picardie


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  • Indebted to vocal styles and techniques 
  • Conjunct
  • Ocasional disjunct leaps 
  • Programmatic falling 4th 
  • Florid passages and elaborate figuration; lower auxilary notes frequently end
  • Sequential writing 
  • Melodic patterning not wide-spread
  • Figural variation, including inserting additional notes between pairs of notes borrowed from Dowlands original 
  • Some unvaried repetition of a melodic passage in order to add embellished lower part 

The rising minor 6th in bar 2 is very striking, especially after the initial stepwise descent of a perfect 4th A–G–F–E, and before a similar descent C–B–A–G sharp in bars 3–4. 
The distinctive quality of the falling 4th A–G–F–E, representing tears, had done much to make Dowland’s original widely known. Falling 4th figures were used more extensively in Sweelinck’s opening five bars than by Dowland himself, and are most effective in underlining and intensifying the melancholy mood.

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Harmony and Tonality

  • Root position, first inversion triads 
  • Dissonant, non-harmony notes. passing notes, Auxiliary notes, suspensions 
  • Cadences perfect and imperfect, including phrygian 
  • Tierce de picardie
  • 3 tonal interpretations (A minor, A minor with some Aeolian modal elements, completely modal in the Aeolian mode)
  • Prominant use of G naturals
  • False relation - (here G sharp and G natural) occur simultaneously, as at bar 96 b3 or successively in different parts, as in bar 10 b1–3
  • Remain in minor tonality in the main. Some tonal contrast; C major in section B
  • Some tonal ambiguity 
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  • Single manual harpsichord 
  • 3 octave range; less than contemporary Dutch instrument - Sweelinck used top G only once, in bar 96, with climactic intent in a passage featuring rising scalic passages that reach successively E (bar 94), F (bar 95) and G. 
  • Limited range betrays vocal origins 
  • Top G used only once 
  • Idiomatic, florid figuration 
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  • Homophonic in the main, with variations in treatment
  • Sometimes melody with bass in semibreves - In bars 1–4 the melody is supported by a bass in semibreves. The inner parts have some contrapuntal interest – notably where the higher of the two (the ‘alto’) echoes or anticipates the melody’s descending quavers.
  • Elaborated melodic line with figuration
  • Melodic exchanges between parts; often not imitation though
  • Pairs of parts in parrallel 3rds/6ths - In bars 39–41 pairs of parts in parallel 3rds or 6ths engage in rapid dialogue (again there is scarcely any audible overlap).
  • Some imitation - This dialogue subtly moves into imitation in bars 42–45
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  • Rhythmically diverse 
  • Often begining with longer values; semibreves, minims, crotchets 
  • Continuous semiquavers in figurations with slower supporting parts
  • Demisemiquavers in cadential trills - Cadential ‘trills’ involving eight demisemiquavers occur twice, in bars 30 and 45 
  • The metre is simple quadruple. Syncopation is not very widespread, but note the prominent minim A that generates a suspension in bar 37 and the corresponding bass D in bar 38. Compare the corresponding bars in the variation, 53–54, where the minim A is retained, but the bass line is decorated and the suspension is eliminated. 
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