Pavana Lachrimae - Sweelinck

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  • Created by: Annie
  • Created on: 12-03-12 15:59


  • Elizabethan England - sets of variations on dance tunes or songs were popular
  • Dowland's Flow My Tears was probably one of the most famous songs composed around 1600
  • Dowland himself wrote variations of it, as did his fellow Englishmen Byrd and Farnaby
  • The song is in the style of  a slow processional dance of the late Renaissance period known as a pavane 
  • Lachrime (meaning tears) refers to the image of falling tears with which the words of Dowland's song begins
  • John Bull, who had earlier been organist of the Chapel Royal in London was appointed to Antwerp Cathedral and whilst in the Netherlands became friends with Sweelinck (organist at the Old Church in Amsterdam for over 40 years)
  • Bull introduced Sweelinck to Dowland's lute songs and the variations on them
  • Sweelinck's Pavana Lachrime was composed in about 1615 and was not published in his lifetime
  • The manuscript was probably used as teaching material to be played on the harpsichord (or possibly organ) by Sweelinck's many pupils


  • The work follows the structure of Dowland's song but instead of a repeat of each of it's three sections there is a variation
  • The printed note values of Flow my tears are doubled in the Pavana which means that: - Bars 1-8 of the song = bars 1-16 of the pavane
  •                     - Bars 9-16 of the song = bars 33-48 of the pavane
  •                     - Bars 17-24 of the song = bars 65-81 of the pavane
  • Sweelinck leaves Dowland's harmony mainly unchanged, including the false relation between G (bass) and G# (treble) in bar 10, but he embellishes cadences in bars 8 and 14-15

Figural variations

  • At bar 17, instead of repeating the first part of the song to new words, as Dowland did, Sweelinck


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