Matthew Holmes Manuscripts (Dd.2.11, Dd.5.78.3, Dd.9.33 and Nn.6.36)

I have given the Matthew Holmes Manuscripts, now kept in Cambridge University library in the UK, their own page as it is the richest source of English lute music. It contains many of the best-known lute pieces from the end of the 16th century. There are nine Holmes manuscripts, the following four of which contain mainly solo lute music. They are numbered by library shelf mark: Dd.2.11 (which is the largest), Dd.5.78.3, Dd.9.33 and Nn.6.36. These MS have been dated respectively, 1590-95, 1595-1600, 1600-1605 and 1605-15 (Spring, 2001, pp115-122). The manuscripts have been digitised and are freely available at:

Dargesson [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06
A popular dance tune; the meaning of the title is unknown. Dd. 2.11 f.8

A Downe
[PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06
Dd. 2.11 f.94) and a modern tablature version can be found in the music supplement of The Lute Society’s
Lute News, no. 62, June 2002. I arranged it initially in A and later added the version in G that appears here as it is easier to play. There is a recording of the piece on Paul Odette’s lute CD The Royal Lewters, Harmonia Mundi HMU 907313, where he implies that a downe is similar to a dump (see The Dump). I recommend anyone who tries this piece to listen to the Odette recording as an example of how to invest a simple piece with musical meaning.

The Duke of Milan's Dump [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 05
From Dd.2.11. This appears to be a simplified version of the Duke of Somerset’s Dompe (found in the Willoughby Lute Book) - itself based on an Italian Padoana.

Galliard [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06
A galliard (from CUL Nn.6.36) originally written for bandora.

Galliard (Untitled) [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 05
An untitled piece with the form of a galliard from Dd.5.78.

Loth to Depart [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06
A popular tune Dd. 2.11 f.9

Pavan [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 07
A pavan from Dd.5.78.3.

Sick, Sick and Very Sick [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06
This is an anonymous set of variations on a tune that may have been sung to the refrain:
Syck sicke and to towe sicke
And sicke and like to die
the sickest nighte thst euer I abode god lord haue mercy on me.
This is the refrain to a
Child Ballad known as the Ballad of Captain Car. This version of the tune is found in Dd.9.33 and has been published as facsimile and in grand staff transposition in Elizabethan Popular Music It is a very catchy tune for such a sombre subject, its character perhaps deriving from the way it jumps back and forth between major and minor tonality.

Mrs EB Teares [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
Teares [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 07
These two pieces are found together in Nn.6.36 and their titles suggest they are laments. In the first piece, for ease of performance on the guitar, a number of notes have been raised an octave: the D sharp and F sharp in bar 17 (17;13 and 17;14) the B and D sharp in the echoing phrase in bar 18 (18;13 and 18;14) and the bass G in bar 20 (20;1). In addition the bass voice in bar 29 and the beginning of bar 30 has been raised an octave. Conversely a D in bar 29 (29;5) has been dropped an octave. The second piece is transcribed unchanged.

Grimstock [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 04
This dance tune in 6/8 metre was evidently quite popular as it is found in several manuscript versions and in John Playford’s
The Dancing Master (first published in 1651).

Jour Desiré [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06
From Dd.1.11. An arrangement of what was presumably a popular tune but I haven’t found anything about its provenance.

Southwell’s Galliard [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 05 From Dd.2.11

© 2003 - 2022 Eric Crouch: Make use of use anything you find here, but please mention this site if you do. Contact Me

Made in RapidWeaver