John Dowland (1563 - 1626)

"During his lifetime John Dowland was one of the few English composers whose fame spread throughout Europe. He has never been entirely forgotten although his music was almost completely ignored during the whole of the eighteenth century and most of the nineteenth. The early twentieth century saw a dawning recognition among scholars and specialists of the rare quality of his work."
(Diana Poulton in
The Collected Lute Music of John Dowland.

Dowland's lute music is among the most commonly arranged for guitar and I am wary of adding to the total of arrangements already available. However I have used this page for pieces that I have not seen elsewhere arranged, or where my arrangement differs significantly from those usually found. In particular, where possible, I like to make arrangements using normal guitar tuning rather than retuning the third string. I have numbered the pieces according to their location in
Poulton and Lam (1981)

Poulton’s edition of Dowland’s music and her
biography of Dowland (Poulton 1982) are generally regarded as authoritative, but the lutenist David Tayler challenged her account in his PhD thesis (Tayler 2005) suggesting that a number of her attributions are incorrect. In particular he suggests that music attributed to Dowland in MS sources may often only be derived from Dowland’s work by other musicians and that some continental sources regarded by Poulton as derivative may in fact include Dowland’s own music. This difficulty arises from the fact that only thirteen of Dowland’s solo lute pieces appear in printed collections. Poulton suggested that Dowland intended to compile a printed collection of his best works, but never managed to do so. A somewhat similar point is made by Shepherd in his blog at (Shepherd 2016A).

Fancy (Fantasia) (Poulton 05) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
Poulton & Lam (1981) list seven fantasias by Dowland together with four more as probably by Dowland and a further short fantasia attributed to Dowland in a continental manuscript

Fancy (Fantasia) (Poulton 06) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08

Solus cum Sola (Poulton 10) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
The title of this pavan is obscure as this phrase doesn’t readily translate* (nor is it clear why the title
Solus sine Sola is associated with the next piece). Poulton suggests that solus cum sola might have the meaning “One is one and all alone” (as in the rhyming game that I know as Green Grow the Rushes Oh! and which Poulton calls The Dilly Song). A more racy suggestion is contained in the sentence: Solus cum sola non cogitabuntur orare Pater Noster (A man and a woman alone together are not likely to be saying the Our Father.) This is found in Victor Hugo’s novel Notre Dâme de Paris. He is, of course, a much later writer, but is quoting something that he regards as an old saying.

Solus sine Sola (Poulton 11) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
(Mrs Brigid Fleetwood’s Pavan)
Despite the similarity of the name associated with this pavan it does not resemble no 10, being more serious in mood.

Dr Case’s Pavan (Poulton 12) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08

Lachrimae Pavan (Poulton 15) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
This may well have been Dowland’s most popular work appearing, as it does, as the song
Flow my Tears in Dowland’s Second Booke of Songs or Ayres (1600) and as the first of the pavans for broken consort in Dowland’s Lachrimæ or seaven teares figured in seaven passionate pavans, with divers other pavans, galliards and allemands, set forth for the lute, viols, or violons, in five parts (1604) - (usually referred to as Lachrimae or Seven Tears). Lute solo versions of the piece appear in several manuscript sources that predate these printed sources so it seems likely that the piece first appeared as a lute solo. However it is not clear that any of the several versions can be definitely attributed to Dowland. The version that my arrangement is based on (from the Holmes MS Dd.2.11) is the generally accepted version - though Tayler (Tayler 2005) doubts this. Here you can find a version that appears in a printed source (Barley’s A New Book of Tabliture) and is attributed to Francis Cutting. Two more versions of Lachrimae can be found here and here.

A detailed discussion of Lachrimae and its various sources can be found online from
Gale and Crawford (retrieved 19/05/2018). Their concluding paragraph begins thus:
The ‘Lachrimae’ pavan was evidently a bona fide ‘hit’ of its age. Unfortunately, such are the huge number of settings, derivatives and imitations it spawned that only a small sample can be fruitfully discussed here. Furthermore, we are undoubtedly left with an incomplete picture of what was once in circulation.

Captain Digorie Piper’s Galliard (Poulton 19) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML]
Grade 08

Dowland’s First Galliard (Poulton 22) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
I have adapted this piece for guitar by revoicing a number of chords, especially in section A.

The Frog Galliard (Poulton 23, 23a, 90) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05
This galliard, based on a song "Now, O, Now I needs must part" has always been one of my favourites. It appears in lute manuscripts in several versions and there are three versions that may be ascribable to John Dowland in Poulton. The lutenist David Tayler posted a beautiful performance of the piece on the archlute in December 2007 This performance seems (assuming A=440) to be in E and did not correspond fully with any of the versions in Poulton but I found it so enjoyable that I decided to make my own arrangement for guitar inspired by Tayler's playing. The arrangement is constructed from sections of Poulton’s versions plus elements of Tayler's playing, though my version is less decorated than his. I have also constructed it so that it is playable in normal guitar tuning.

Galliard (Poulton 24) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
This short galliard was adopted by Cutting who added divisions (varied repeats)
(Cutting B33)

Melancholy Galliard [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] (Poulton 25) Grade 05

Galliard (Poulton 27) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06

Galliard (Poulton 28) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
“on a galliard by Daniel Bacheler”
See Bacheler Galliard 1

Giles Hobie’s Galliard (Poulton 29) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 09

Galliard (Poulton 30) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06

Mrs. Vaux Galliard (Poulton 32) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06

Mr Langton’s Galliard (Poulton 33) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
This is one of several
battle galliards that Dowland wrote, imitating the sounds of battle, the best known of the others being the King of Denmark’s Galliard.

Mignarda [M. Henry Noel's Galliard] (Poulton 34) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08

Galliard (Poulton 35) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06

My Lord Chamberlain’s Galliard (Poulton 37) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
This piece is described as 'An invention for two to play on one lute’; it can also be played as a guitar solo though the fingering requires careful thought.

The Lord Viscount Lisle, His Galliard (Poulton 38) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 09

Queen Elizabeth’s Galliard (Poulton 41) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
In this arrangement I have made some octave transpositions to adapt the piece for guitar tuning.

Can She Excuse (Poulton 42) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
This piece occurs in several sources, some with the alternative title
The Earl of Essex Galliard. Poulton (Poulton & Lam 1981) prints 2 versions (42 and 42A) the second with the alternative title. The piece is notable for quoting part of the tune The Woods so Wild in its third strain.

Dowland’s Bells (Poulton 43) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07 (Lady Rich’s Galliard) This is one of the few pieces by Dowland that appeared in printed form, in Robert Dowland’s Varietie of Lute Lessons . It is also found in several manuscripts. Poulton reproduces a manuscript version and the printed version which she regards as Dowland’s final revision of the piece. My guitar arrangement is closer to the printed version, but has some elements of the manuscript version (see comparison score here)

The Earl of Derby’s Galliard (Poulton 44) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
This galliard is found in several sources and, like Dowlands Bells, is printed in
Varietie of Lute Lessons from which this version is taken.

Lady Clifton’s Spirit (Poulton 45) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
This galliard is also found in Robert Dowland’s printed collection
Varietie of Lute Lessons where it is attributed to Robert Dowland rather than his father. However the same piece can be found (without divisions) attributed to John in Dd.2.11 with the title K Darcie’s Spirit and as Poulton points out (Poulton 1982, p 401) Katherine Darcy married Gervaise Clifton who was later knighted, making her Lady Clifton. Poulton confidently attributes the piece to John rather than Robert (Poulton and Lam 1981) though others have doubted this. The piece is marked by a particularly widespread use of hemiolas; in all three sections the rhythm switches often between 3/4 and 6/8.

Galliard to Lachrimae (Poulton 46) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
This galliard is based on the same theme as the Lachrimae Pavan.

Sir John Smith, his Almaine (Poulton 47) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07

Almaine (Poulton 49) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05

A Piece without title (Poulton 51) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08

Mrs. Vaux Gigue (Poulton 57) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07

The Shoemaker’s Wife (Poulton 58) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07

Tarleton’s Resurrection (Poulton 59) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05

Come Away (Poulton 60) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05
Instrumental version of one of Dowland’s songs.

Fortune (Poulton 62) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05
This piece is commonly arranged for guitar in A minor. In E minor with the 6th string tuned to D it gets closer to the presumed original pitch (D minor if played on a lute in G) and also preserves an feature that may seem odd to modern ears but is not uncommon in lute works from this period, namely its deepest bass note sounding one tone below the key note.

Go From My Window (Poulton 64) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
This set of variations on the Tune
Go From my Window is easier to play in lute tuning, but with a couple of minor changes (detailed here) it is playable in guitar tuning.

Aloe (Poulton 68) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07

Loth to Depart (Poulton 69) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 09

Robin (Poulton 70) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
Dowland’s arrangement of the tune ‘Robin is to the Greenwood Gone'

Fancy (Fantasia) (Poulton 73) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
This is one of the fantasias that Poulton (
Poulton & Lam 1981) lists as ‘Anonymous, but probably by Dowland’. It is sometimes referred to as Dowland’s Tremolo Fantasia because of the pattern of repeated notes near the end. However these would not have been played on the lute with modern guitar tremolo technique and would likely have been slower than guitar tremolo is usually played.

Fancy (Fantasia) [revised] (Poulton 73) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
The lutenist and lute maker Martin Shepherd has (
Shepherd 2016) proposed a re-interpretation of the tablature source for this piece (which is found in the Matthew Holmes manuscript CUL Dd.9.33). In his view Poulton missed the significance of some dots that he takes to indicate dotted rhythm and also took the barlines to indicate regular 4/4 time though, in that period, barlines were often not used in that way. Shepherd also corrects one or two errors that Homes (normally a fairly careful scribe) may have made in the tablature. I have used Shepherd’s version to make a revised arrangement for guitar. I haven’t always followed Shepherd’s barring, but I have put some bars in 2/4 and some in 3/4 where that seemed to make more sense to me, and I have adopted Shepherd’s rhythmic changes and most of his other alterations.

Fancy (Fantasia) (Poulton 74) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
This short fantasia is another of those that
Poulton lists as ‘Anonymous, but probably by Dowland’.

A Dream (Poulton 75) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
This beautiful pavan is listed by Poulton (
Poulton & Lam 1981) as ‘Anonymous, but probably by Dowland’ mainly on stylistic grounds. It is written for a 6 course lute and transfers quite easily to the guitar with some minor revoicing of a few chords. I’ve included some fingering where this did not seem straightforward. (Fingering the low Bs in bar 21 can be problematic if you don’t have large hands; luckily for me I can reach them on string 5; an alternative of course is to alternate the Bs on string 6 with the open A on string 5.)

What if a Day (Poulton 79) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
This piece from the Folger Dowland Manuscript is in C minor in the original (assuming a lute in G). It is usually arranged for guitar in A minor. I have arranged it in D minor; it is less easy to play but, with thoughtful fingering, not too difficult.

Tarleton’s Jig (Poulton 81) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
Poulton lists this piece as ‘Anonymous, but probably by Dowland’ on stylistic grounds.

Galliard (Poulton 82) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
This galliard from the Cambridge University Library manuscript
Dd.9.33 has the names ‘Dowland’ and 'F Cutting’ written underneath - so it is unclear whether it is by Dowland or Francis Cutting (or both).

Pavan (Poulton 94) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 08
This piece is one of several Dowland pieces found in the continental source known as the
Schele MS Poulton regarded its attribution to Dowland as questionable. I have adapted it for guitar from the 9 course lute original by raising by one octave many bass notes, some inner voice notes and sections of individual voices.The MS has a number of errors and I have mostly adopted Gerbode's corrections - plus: in bar 15 bass D raised to F (to preserve the rising bass line). In addition (among other minor alterations): 2nd bass note in bar 21 altered to G; in the first 2 bars of section B the middle voice is dropped an octave in bar 39 and raised an octave in bar 40; I’ve altered the figure on the last beat of bar 109, omitting an F that would have stopped the D sounding.

La Mia Barbara (Poulton 95) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
This piece is also from the
Schele Manuscript. Poulton (Poulton & Lam 1981) regarded its attribution to Dowland (at least in its entirety) as doubtful. However I think it a beautiful pavan (presumably based on a song tune) and well worth playing.

Almand (Poulton 96) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
This is one of several pieces attributed to Dowland in the
Board Lute Book

Praeludium (Poulton 98) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
Also from the
Board Lute Book.

Mr. Dowland’s Midnight (Poulton 99) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 05
This short, mournful piece another piece from the
Board Lute Book. Praeambulum (Poulton 102) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
This is one of three pieces attributed to Dowland to be found in a large collection of lute music in Italian tablature known as the
Hainhofer Manuscript.

Gagliarda (Poulton 103) [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 06
This piece is also found in the
Hainhofer Manuscript. It is unusual for a galliard in having five strains rather than the usual three; the sequence given by Poulton amounts to A A′ B B′ C C′ D D′ E. Galliards more usually follow the pattern A A′ B B′ C C′. In the present case C′ finishes in the same (major) key as A begins but E finishes in a the minor key a semitone lower. I have therefore added repeats bring the key at the end back to the original major key (E major); my arrangement is thus:
A A′ B B′ C C′ D D′ E E A B C.
I have also revoiced chords throughout to make a suitable arrangement for the guitar.

*My knowledge of Latin is quite shaky, but I take Solus cum Sola to mean something along the lines of A man alone with a woman and Solus sine Sola to mean A man alone without a woman, both phrases playing on the conjunction of feminine sex and linguistic feminine gender.

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