Alonso Mudarra

Fantasía 04, de pasos de contado


Tres libros de música en cifra (1546), fol. I/4


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Source title Fa[n]tasias de pasos de contado A de yr el compas muy apriesa.
Title in contents   Otra de passos de contado
Text incipit


Category abstract

Genre fantasia

Fantasia type Id

Mode 5

Voices 4

Length (compases) 72


Tuning G

Courses 6

Final IV/0

Highest I/10

Lowest VI/0

Difficulty not specified

Tempo fast

Song Text


Vocal notation


This fantasia is essentially a through-composed, instrumentally-conceived work. It is the only work in the vihuela repertory to be designated as containing “passos de contado” Pujol: Mu. Text p.63 discusses title, suggesting that it has something to do with metric precision and dance rhythm. Venegas discusses it in terms of alternating middle/index alternation in plucking over a cantus firmus which is how this work primary proceeds. It is reminiscent of basse dance styles and some settings of hymn tunes. It is a short work, to be played at a fast speed. It moves without any sectionalization although my diagram indicates the points where more significant and repeated ideas are introduced. The work concludes the introductory group of 4 idiomatic fantasias, yet is distinct because of its metric approach and the consequent the absence of redobles in corcheas (eighth notes) which imply the more rhapsodic and lyrical style. In terms of the use of the term “pasos de contado”, one possible clue might come from the treatise of Esquivel Navarro (esquivel1642) where the author differentiates between inferior “Danzas de Cascabel” which “es para gente que puede salir a dançar por las calles” and “…el dançado de cuenta es para Principes y gente de reputacion” (fol 45)