Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

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EricKatz
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Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby EricKatz » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:57 am

I have been trying to understand a little bit more of the Pavanas of Luys Milán. That raised a lot of questions. Some questions were solved, but I would appreciate some help with other questions.
This is what I found until now. Let’s take the first Pavana as an example. Originally it’s called “Pavana del primero y segundo tono”. That means the Dorian and Hypodorian scales are used.

ScreenHunter_557 Jul. 22 11.50.png


Regarding the Dorian scale (D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D), this means – to put it very simple! - that the melody notes vary between d and d’ (ambitus), the tonic is d and the dominant is a. When we look at the score made by professor Delcamp (download/file.php?id=41573) we must realize that the original tablature was translated to a modern guitar tuning, while the vihuela has another tuning. So we have to relate the notes from the first table to the tuning in the Delcamp score:

ScreenHunter_558 Jul. 22 11.50.png


When we look at the melody notes in the score, the lowest is a and the highest note is a’, which is exactly Dorian ambitus. Also we see in the score that the A functions as tonic (begin and end are A(m)-chords; and the E could be interpreted as dominant note.
This table also shows that it’s likely that Milán wrote for/played on a vihuela in A-tuning. This is the smaller version of the 16th century instrument, what makes some nasty extensions on the modern guitar (i.e. in measure 25) a lot easier to play.

What I don’t understand, is this:
• The Dorian part of the story seems clear, but Milán talks about 2 tonos! What does that mean: are there one or more sections in the Pavana where the 1th tono (Dorian) is replaced by the 2nd tono (Hypodorian)?
• When I transpone the Dorian scale to fit into the score, I get: A-B-C-D-E-F#-G-A. But I see a lot of C#’s and G#’s. How about that?
• There’s a F# in the basic scale (Dorian, transponed). And yes, there are more F#’s than F’s, so why is the score not in the key of G?

Some help would be appreciated!
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cadiz
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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby cadiz » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:04 am

Do you know that a book about the work of Luis Milan for vihuela was written by Luis Gasser: "Luis Milan on Sixteenth-Century Performance Practice (English)" ?
It does not specifically address these Pavanes but reading this book could be useful.

EricKatz
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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby EricKatz » Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:14 pm

Thanks, Cadiz. I read again some parts of this book (which I already owned), but there it only says that certain notes in a piece would not be possible in mode 1, but could be played perfectly in mode 2 (and the other way around). So we speak of a mixed mode.
OK, I can understand that. But to what (combination of) notes in e.g. Pavane I does that concern. I haven't got the slightest idea...

Jack Dawkins
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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby Jack Dawkins » Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:24 pm

It's think it's difficult to see the piece as the composer would have done without knowing a great deal about the theory of music of the time. That kind of knowledge would take years to acquire, I would think, so you would really have to love the music of this period...

From a modern (and non-expert) point of view, I believe it would be considered to be partly in Am (but with some picardy thirds) and partly in the relative major, C. What seems hard to explain is the fact that, in the passages that are in C, we sometimes find F natural and sometimes F#.

I wonder whether the difference between dorian and hypodorian could equate to the difference between Am and C, or explain why we sometimes have F and sometimes F#. I can't really see how though. Are you sure that was the original title?

I did see on Wikipedia that the 6th degree of the dorian could sometimes be flattened, which would explain the Fs if the composer was looking at the passages that seem to be in C as if they were in A dorian. This doesn't strike me as very plausible, though, and even if it does account for the Fs, it doesn't explain how the hypodorian comes in.

I believe the reason the piece is not in G major is that the tonal centre is not G.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby Stephen Kenyon » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:35 pm

While one waits for comments from somebody with the appropriate degrees in renaissance musical analysis, a couple more thoughts. Firstly, accidentals in themselves shouldn't be a surprise; if a piece is in C and its long enough we would expect it to modulate to G and that will normally attract some sharps. Modal pieces can step away from their modes just as a piece in C can move to G - except its not normally done in anything like the same way. The C sharps as Jack mentioned are picardy 3rds. When they appear surprisingly early in mm 15-16 the passage is prefiguring the ending, which is the most usual place to find them.
The G sharps though in the beginning, and the end, on the face of it contradict the stated mode, and I don't get it.
The F sharps and naturals follow in this piece the principle that you tend to sharpen in rising and flatten (or naturalise in this case) on falling. In bar 28 it happens in the same bar and we could call this a false relation, which is an expressive feature especially in Dowland and friends.
The piece is definitely in A minor, in guitar terms. Today's conventions surrounding key signatures post-date this kind of modal composition and there is no complete consensus, as far as I'm aware, of how one should handle key sigs in a case like this (of course, an irrelevance with tablature).
The title is definitely as described in the OP.
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Jack Dawkins
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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby Jack Dawkins » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:48 pm

How about this for a wild speculation - what if the dorian in question is the one on the dominant, E, and the title doesn't refer so much to a transition between modes as the idea that the piece is basically in one mode (A hypodorian) but borrows freely from another.

A Hypodorian

A Bb C D E F G

E Dorian (A to A)

A B C# D E F# G# A

If you avoid the Bb, this pretty much gives you today's minor, on top of the option of the picardy third which (I think) was already current.

Of course, the notes of E dorian are the same as those of A hypolydian, and you would think it would be simpler to call the second mode that - in which case the title would refer to modes 1 and 6 rather than 1 and 2. Still, the G# comes in with the E chord and isn't used over the A, so perhaps there was an idea that the borrowed notes belonged in a sense to the dominant.

I assume by the way that there's no doubt that mode 1 is dorian and mode 2 is hypodorian. If 1 could refer to hypolydian and 2 to dorian, this explanation would be neater. The composer must have meant something by his reference to two modes, though.

It's interesting (well to me it's interesting) that if you regarded some notes of a related mode as available for borrowing in this way, you would discover today's minor almost by accident, misunderstanding where it comes from but nevertheless recognising that it sounds right. This is sort of what I meant the other day, Stephen, by saying that even if the dominant 7th was regarded as a passing tone in earlier times, there's still a sense in which it had always been part of the chord, but had not yet been recognised as such.

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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby Tonyyyyy » Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:49 am

We have 20th/21st century minds, so its difficult to listen and think in the way they would in the 16th C. It would be great to have temporary amnesia and approach this music with ''innocent ears''!

Eric, an excellent place to ask this question would be http://lutegroup.ning.com/ where dwell musicians who really do have 16th century expertise

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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby KevinCollins » Thu Jul 30, 2015 8:33 pm

I think of the Pavanes as medleys of popular Italian tunes that Luis (from Milan) brought to Spain.

Musicians of the day were always welcome at court. They brought news of the latest fashions. When it came to writing it down, Luis very cleverly stitched the entire hodgepodge into a convincing quilt of sounds. And it had to all fit on a little block of wood.

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stevel
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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby stevel » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:13 pm

Eric, I wonder if you've seen this:

http://www.laguitarra-blog.com/wp-conte ... alysis.pdf

Steve

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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby stevel » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:46 pm

Eric, I am not a Renaissance Theory expert by any means - my background is primarily in Common Practice Period harmony.

But, from what I can surmise:

The section with all the "C" cadences is the Hypodorian section. We're transposed up a 5th here, so the Dominant of Hypodorian, originally F, is now C. In my experience, the "ambitus" isn't usually take literally. The Dominant and Finalis are more important in determining mode (and there are pieces that don't even end on the correct Finalis!).

As far as the C#s and G#s this is COMMON.

Think about modern minor: A Minor has no sharps or flats in its key signature, yet you'll see G# all the time. This comes from the evolution from the modal system.

Each mode that did not contain a half step from the 7th note to the Final used a raised 7th note at cadences - what we call the "Leading Tone".

That means, in A Dorian, G# would be used at a cadence point.

C# is a "Picardy Third", a common device where the final chord in a minor mode is made into a Major chord.

For your last question, modal music is modal, not Tonal. It's not in a "key". It's in a mode. All of the modes were written before Key Signatures existed (although they were starting to evolve during the time period this work was written).

So the practice was to write all accidentals in becuase, really Key Signatures didn't yet exist!

Modern editors will try to use what we call a "modal key signature".

For A Dorian, that would in fact be a key signature of one sharp.

But, some may choose to preserve the original "no key signature" idea and just put in accidentals. My music history is a bit weak here too but it may be that "Transposed Modes" didn't use Key Signatures either - all accidentals being written in, at least until the 1600s.

BTW, there are Scarlatti and even Bach pieces a century later that have what we call "modal key signatures" - the piece will be in F#m but have only 2 sharps in the key signature for example (which is like F# Dorian) with the 3rd accidental (G#) needed for F#m written in as needed. Modern editors put it in F#m, but the originals are still "more Dorian" in nature.

HTH,
Steve

Jack Dawkins
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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby Jack Dawkins » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:32 pm

stevel wrote:The section with all the "C" cadences is the Hypodorian section. We're transposed up a 5th here, so the Dominant of Hypodorian, originally F, is now C. In my experience, the "ambitus" isn't usually take literally. The Dominant and Finalis are more important in determining mode (and there are pieces that don't even end on the correct Finalis!).

Steve, I'm not clear on what counts as a C cadence in this context - from what I have picked up C is the cofinalis or dominant of the hypodorian with finalis A, but I guess that doesn't mean that the progression from C to Am counts as a cadence (or does it?!) I can't see any C/Am changes, but then there don't seem to be any C/F changes either. Are we talking about a cadence on to the dominant, e.g. G/C?

Thanks!

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Tonyyyyy
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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby Tonyyyyy » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:55 pm

stevel wrote:Eric, I wonder if you've seen this:

http://www.laguitarra-blog.com/wp-conte ... alysis.pdf

Steve


Fantastic paper, clear but detailed. And I went back to the laguitarra website and found a plethora of great stuff, mainly in Spanish (which luckily I can read) but some articles in English

EricKatz
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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby EricKatz » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:21 am

Cadiz, Jack, Tony, Kevin and Steve, thank you all for your contributions to this topic. It was very helpfull!!
E.g. the Picardy Third explains a lot. (Never heard of it before! I was puzzled by the change of a minor chord into a major chord).

I have take another look at the score professor Delcamp has made. It's very close to the Original, in fact the only things he added are extensions of notes that can keep sounding as long as there's not another note on the same string. And of course he has provide a fingering.

When I divide the piece into sections (7 sections of 8 bars, except section 4 that has 10 bars), these are the chords at the beginning and end of each section:

section 1 (m1-8) : A minor - E major
section 2 (m 9-16): C major - A major
section 3 (m 17-24): C major - A major
section 4 (m 25-34): F major - C major
section 5 (m 35-42): F major - C major
section 6 (m 43-50): C major - A major
section 7 (m 51-58): C major - A major

Does this make sense?
Is the A-E section Dorian and the C-A sections Hypodorian?
But what about section 4 and 5, that starts with a F major chord? Neiter finalis, nor dominans.

Maybe these questions are too detailed, but I hope someone can let shine his light on this.

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Re: Musical analysis of the Milan Pavanas: help needed

Postby scottszone » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:21 am

Pavan I is equivalent to the modern A melodic minor (a, b, c, d, e, f#, g#), with modulations in some bars to the 3rd mode of A melodic minor (C lydian augmented: c, d, e, f#, G#, a, b), and modulations to the parallel key of A major towards the end. Very jazzy!
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