Enríquez de Valderrábano

Fantasía 10, sobre un pleni de contrapunto


Silva de sirenas (1547), fol. 68v


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Source title Fantasia sobre vn pleni de contrapunto. Segundo grado.
Title in contents   Fantasia en el tercero grado remedando a vn pleni de contra punto.
Text incipit


Category abstract

Genre fantasia

Fantasia type Par

Mode 8

Voices 3

Length (compases) 113


Tuning G

Courses 6

Final VI/0

Highest I/7

Lowest VI/0

Difficulty medium

Tempo fast

Song Text


Vocal notation


Rubric: “Fantasia on a Pleni in counterpoint. Second level [of difficulty]”. The table of contents lists it as of the third level of difficulty. It is a parody fantasia based on an unknown model. The extent of any borrowing is therefore unknown, but it appears that the introduction with voice pairing style might be borrowed. It is difficult to know whether the addition of “de contrapunto” in the title refers to the model or the style of Valderrábano’s elaboration of the initial seeds, but the work is one of the more imititative of his fantasias. The opening gesture of this piece is identical to the opening of the unidentified Agnus Dei intabulation va006. The melodic range suggests mode 8, but cadences are more typical of mode 7. The final cadence is a fine example of an under-third “Landini” cadence, long anachronistic by Valderrábano’s time but used by him on numerous occasions (such as va096, Fantasia 9).

This fantasia is one of Valderrábano’s most immediate and exhuberent fantasias, abounding with great clarity. Its structure (see diagram below) shows three sections. The work begins with voice pairs, and develops into a breathless flow of cascading and rocketing motives racing through a transparent texture. The characteristic of these (themes 2, 3, 4) is their identical rhythm, one also favoured by Francesco da Milano. The breathlessness is caused through the avoidance of cadence, that is interrupted or interlocking cadences taken “in motion”. Most notable is the playability of the work. It falls under the hand with ease, and is a sure case for an improvised piece done with instrument in hand.