Sweelinck - Pavana Lachrimae

Set of revision cards outlining the main features of Sweelinck's Pavana Lachrimae for Edexcel A2 music Unit 6: Further Musical Understanding. 

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  • Created by: Misha Mau
  • Created on: 13-06-12 16:29

Context/Background information

  • Sweelinck worked in netherlands head of Dowlands music and made a variation on it. 
  • three of the six sections of Pavana Lachrimae embellished versions of dowland's music. 
  • date is not known but likely to be from 2nd half of 17thC
  • Piece is played on harpsichord but more modern performances are on an organ
  • intended for domestic or educational use. 
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Performing Forces + Handling

  • probably composed for single-manual harpsichord
  • range is 3 octaves
  • contempary dutch harpsichords had 4 octave range
  • limited range reflects derivation of pavana from original limted range
  • sweelinck's bass is sometimes octave higher
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Texture and Structure

  • most of the piece in 4 parts, florid passages sometimes in 3 parts
  • melody is borrowed from Dowland's top part and texture is homophonic
  • some contrapuntal interest in inner parts b1-4
  • Piece is in 3 sections A, B, C
  • Produced varied repeat of each section after the section
  • A ends with A minor perfect cadence as does A1
  • B ends with A minor imperfect cadence  as does B1
  • C ends with A minor perfect cadence as does C1
  • doesn't have consistent regular phrasing
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  • written before major/minor system
  • A minor even though no key signature mostly sounds this
  • A minor with some Aeolian elements such as G naturals 
  • G naturals could mean that piece is in Aeolian mode
  • uncertainity derives from G sharps and naturals
  • False reations b96
  • Sometimes there is instances of major key like in section B
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  • Most chords are 5/3s or 6/3s not root position or first inversion
  • non chord notes are passing notes and auxillary notes and some suspensions
  • cadences imperfect and perfect
  • section A (A minor) has 3 imperfect cadences before perfect cadence which ends with tierce de Picardie.
  • imperfect cadences are all phrygian (Aeolian A minor)
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  • Meoldic writing often vocal in character wuth stepwise (conjunct) writing
  • minor 6th b2 leap 
  • falling 4th representing tears
  • top part is conjunct some passages similar to trills
  • sometimes repeated short patterns in sequence b17
  • inserts additional notes between pairs of notes borrowed from dowland's melody
  • or substitions of melody like b33 and b55 addition of melody
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Rhythm + Metre

  • more rhythmic diversity 
  • passages begin with semibreves, minims, crotchets and quavers
  • cadential trills b30
  • meter is simple quadruple
  • syncopation not widespread but minim A generated suspension b37
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Useful resource, but I have one query. Most chords are root position or first inversion I thought.

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