Alonso Mudarra

Fantasía 01, de pasos largos para desenvolver las manos


Tres libros de música en cifra (1546), fol. I/1


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Source title Fa[n]tasia de pasos largos para dese[n]boluer las manos.
Title in contents   Fantasias de passos desenbueltos
Text incipit


Category abstract

Genre fantasia

Fantasia type Id+Im

Mode 1

Voices 4

Length (compases) 57


Tuning A

Courses 6

Final V/0

Highest I/5

Lowest VI/0

Difficulty not specified

Tempo medium

Song Text


Vocal notation


A fantasia with long passages to develop the hands. This is the name Mudarra gives to this opening fantasia of his Tres Libros, and also to several that follow in the first of his three “books”. It is a work inspired idomatically by the innate potentials of the vihuela. The work has a tempo indication using the sign C to indicate a medium tempo. Mudarra also annotates the tablature to show the passages that work well with “dos de” meaning “dos dedos” (alternating thumb and index finger or index and middle) and passages to play “de di” meaning “dedillo”, using the index finger as if a plectrum. Descending scales are marked with “dedi” and ascending scales with “dos de”.

Pujol describes the work as like Milan’s “Consonancias & Redobles” type but a more accurate description would be Imitation & Redobles. The work would also almost fall into Ward’s monothematic category if thematicism were used as the sole criteria for analysis. The work’s own title gives two clues 1) that it is conceived to help the hands and 2) therefore that it must be idiomatic in its conception. The most relevant sectional division is thus made in these terms although it may not concord fully with cadential/harmonic process. This creates many analytical possibilities and it is here seen to be most useful to sectionalize in the broadest terms recognizing the existence of many mutually exclusive phrase within these texturally derived boundaries: I (compases) 1-18; II 18-36; III 36-43; IV 43-56.

Because of the scalic character of this type of work the slower polyphonic themes in sections I & III have themes formed basically from scalic motion. This is combined with a dotted rhythmic pattern (diagram). Section I opens with SA & TB non-overlapped pairs, the lower voice of each being a contraction of the upper. The type of pairing is idiomatic. It is followed by statements in imitation of the theme in B&A drawing section to a close, although a short bridge takes tonality back from the A of the cadences to D with an inverted theme 1 in Bass. Section II consists of 4 independent phrases of redoubles separated by clear cadences: 18-21; 21-27; 27-31; 31-36. Section III makes 2 brief statement of theme 2, finishing with a Phrygian cadence. Section 4 begins in the Bass with a motivic redouble which is not further developed. Instead in 47 a series of descending figures leads to a cadence at which point a short coda with imitative features is introduced. It has double leading tones. The beginning and end of the piece suggest a four voice texture, but the only other part where it is evident is at 43. V-VI cadences are common as in-passing resolutions. The opening motive of the work occurs several rimes & themes 1 & 2 are basically the same.

Song Text

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