Enríquez de Valderrábano

¿Con que la lavaré?


Silva de sirenas (1547), fol. 24


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Source title Segundo grado.
Title in contents   Villancico con que lavare, en el segundo grado.
Text incipit Con que la lavare


Category song

Genre Villancico

Fantasia type

Mode 1

Voices 3

Length (compases) 55


Tuning G

Courses 6

Final VI/0

Highest I/7

Lowest VI/0

Difficulty medium

Tempo not specified

Song Text

Language ES

Vocal notation texted cifras rojas


Valderrábano’s setting of this well-known popular text is original and not based on any of the other surviving versions. It is definitely not an intabulation of the Vásquez version in Recopilación de Sonetos y villancicos a quatro y a cinco (Sevilla, 1560). Valderrábano’s setting of 55 compases only introduces the song melody towards the end, from c. 32, although it begins with some clear motivic material based on the theme. The appearance of the melody seems like the resolution of an enigma rather than the melody of a song. It certainly does not conform to the standard modern notion of a performable song. A comparison of the opening of the melody is shown below alongside the versions by Fuenllana and Narváez. Pujol describes the work in the following terms: “Uno de los villancicos más difundidos en el período que comprende la producción musical renacentista en España. Casi todos los compositores que en esa época se inspiran en la lírica popular, se sienten atraídos por su belleza y lo asimilan para verterlo después, con el nuevo ropaje de su personal ingenio.” (Pujol1965, 51-52). The song is found in three further vihuela sources: Narváez (na029), Pisador (pi016), and Fuellana (fu143), There is no direct connection between these four versions. Polyphonic settings in four voices are found in the Cancionero de Upsala (no.16) among the Romances and Villancicos, in the Romances y Villancicos a cuatro voces by Juan Vásquez (n.° 36), pág. 209. Valderrábano’s version is reprinted in Phalèse, Hortus Musarum [1552/11], Nº 5, transcribed into French tablature. Six settings are compared in detail in sohns1987: Narváez, Valderrábano, Pisador, Fuenllana, Vásquez (1560) and Uppsala (no 29). Gracia Gil (email communication 2/9/2012) also compared it with another polyphonic setting by Carreira (Coimbra). The melody in the Valderrábano setting is the only one that least conforms to the presumed popular melody on which the song is based, although it is still clearly related. Given the brevity and disarming simplicity of the Valderrábano, Sohns suggests that it may be the oldest version, closely connected to its popular roots.

There are differences in the texts of the various settings:
Juan Vásquez:
¿Con qué la lavaré La tez de la mi cara?
¿Con qué la lavaré, Que bivo mal penada?
Lávanse las galanas Con agua de limones;
Lávome yo, cuytada, Con ansias y pasiones.
¿Con qué la lavaré La tez de la mi cara?
¿Con qué la lavaré, Que bivo mal penada?

Pisador’s version has variants in lines 1,2, 3 and 5:
¿Y con qué la lavaré La flor de la mi cara?
¿Y con qué la lavare, Que bivo mal penada?
Lávanse las mocas Con agua de limones;
Lávome yo, cuytada, Con ansias y dolores...

Narváez, in the fifth line gives “casadas” in place of “galanas” and in line 8: he gives “ penas y dolores” in place of “ansias y pasiones”.
Fuenllana has the same text as Vásquez except for line 4 where he also replaces “ansias y pasiones” with “ansias y dolores”.