Luis de Narváez

Ya se asienta el rey Ramiro


Los seis libros del Delphin (1538), fol. 60


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Source title En los roma[n]ces y villa[n]cicos q[ue] hay en este q[ui]nto libro sea d[e] guardar esta regla q[ue] estubiere[n] señalados d[e] colorado se an d[e] ca[n]tar co[n] la boz/y metan letra a donde estuuiere porque asi lo requiere la tonada del romance/o villancico. y este romance p[ri]mero es del sesto tono. En la tercera en el p[ri]mero traste esta la claue de fefaut. En la segunda en el tercer traste esta la claue d[e] cesolfaut.
Title in contents   Ya se asienta el Rey ramiro.
Text incipit Ya se asienta el rey Ramiro


Category song

Genre Romance

Fantasia type


Voices 4

Length (compases) 46


Tuning D

Courses 6

Final VI/3

Highest I/6

Lowest VI/1

Difficulty not specified

Tempo slow

Song Text

Language ES

Vocal notation texted cifras rojas


Historical romance about one of the Spanish kings named Ramiro, claimed by V. Beltrán to be Ramiro I of Aragón (beltran2018).

Narváez only gives one stanza of text. The remainder of the text given below is from the earliest other known version in cr47, the so-called Cancionero sin año, from the edition made by Vicenç Beltrán (beltran2018). Other later texts expand upon this one.

In the edition made by Durán (Romancero general, No. 1.232, BAE, xvi (1921), p. 214) Durán appends a note to the effect that the particulat king Ramiro of Aragon could not be established: "No sabemos a qué rey Ramiro de Aragón pertenece la época de este romance, el cual parece que es sólo fragmento de alguno que se ha perdido: pero de todos modos, es, acaso, uno de los más célebres y populares y que más han servido para glosas, y para temas de otros muchos que lo han mudado o contrahecho." [We do not know to which King Ramiro the period of this romance, which seems to be only a fragment of some other that has been lost: but in any case, it is one of the most celebrated and polpular and that tas served for many glosses, an for themes of many others which have modelled on it.] The text ot the romance is found in a pliego suelto [broadsheet] titled “Siete romances” (Valencia: [Juan Navarro], 1561), that surviv es in Italy (Infantes 2013. no 28). Beltrán appears to have resolved this as Ramiro I of Aragon )r. 1035-1063) (beltran2018)

The music is set using the I-IV-V progressions of diatonic harmonic tonality. Lafargue has poisted that this might be related to the Conde Claros ground, but it equally possible that there is no real connection. The music has characteristics that make it unusual among the romance repertory. It is built upon a repeated harmonic scheme, and with a rhythmic patterning that, in the majority of the work but not systematically, divides groups of eight semiminims of each pair of bars into groups of 3+3+2. Lafargue points to the similarity of the harmonic scheme to Conde Claros. She claims that “Ya se asienta el rey Ramiro is built on an extended Conde claros pattern: the I-IV-V-I formula is extended to I-IV-V-I-V-I (lafargue1999). Every statement enriches the preceding one with a longer ending. It is the only romance for voice and vihuela that she has found which appears to be a written example of improvised singing on the same bass and the same harmonic scheme as Conde claros. (She spoke about this in a paper she read at the Medieval-Renaissance conference in Spoleto in 2001). While she is not strictly correct, there does seem to be some connection. For an exact fit, it needs to be considered that Conde Claros is defined by a combined melodic-harmonic-rhthmic pattern. The melodic pattern is absent here and so is the rhythmic one: the harmonic patterning is based strongly on the I-IV-V sequence. The structure of this piece could, however, tell us something more about improvisation in romance recitation. After an initial anacrucial bar, the piece is structured regular two-bar units, each one a single harmony. The V-I unit in bold type is a repeated refrain that marks of the end of each larger unit and the end of each poetic verse. It has a standard texture as well: I- | I—IV—V—I // I- V—| I—IV—V—I // I- V—I—VII—| I—IV—V—I // I- V—I—VII—| I—IV—V—I (see analysis section of this entry)

There is considerable discussion of the Romance del rey Ramiro en Dumanoir’s 1998 article” De lo épico a lo lírico: los romances mudados, contrahechos, trocados y las prácticas de reescritura en el Romancero viejo”

The following diagram shows the chordal structure of the music with a I-IV-V-I progression at the end of each verse of the quatrain. In the diagram, each chord followed by a hyphen is a single bar, each chord followed by a line is a two-bar unit, and each V-I ending of each line is a standard repeated texture as well, effectively a refrain. Text repetition is used to to prolong each successive verse.

Song Text

Narváez underlays one strophe of text:

Ya se asienta el rey Ramiro
ya se asienta a sus yantar[es],
los tres de sus adalides
se le pararon delante:

Additional verses are found in numerous sontemporary sources, here from the Cancionero sin año (cr47) edited by Beltrán (beltran 2018):

al vno llaman Armiño,
al otro llaman Galuane,
al otro Tello luzero
que los adalides trae.
Manténga os dios, señor.
“Adalides, bien vengades,
¿qué nueuas me traeys
del campo de Palomares?”
“Buenas las traemos, señor,”
“¡Bien vengáis, mis mensageros,
si me venís a matar!
Dezí qué nuevas traés
del campo de mi Penar;
si queda algún esperanç
en quien yo pueda esperar”
“Buenas las traemos, señor,
cierto, para te acabar,
que la fe de tu firmeza
con muerte quieren pagar.
Con la causa te consuela,
si te puedes consolar,
aunque el consuelo al muy triste
con la muerte se ha de dar”

Now King Ramiro sits down
now he sits for his meal:
three of his commanders
stand before him:
one is called Armiño
another Galván.
the other Tello the guiding star
who the commanders bring.

Modern edition(s)
Printed source(s)