Enríquez de Valderrábano

Los brazos traigo cansados


Silva de sirenas (1547), fol. 25v


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Source title Este romance se a de tañer conforme al tiempo señalado que es despacio, y la boz colorada es el canto llano. Segundo grado.
Title in contents   Romance los braços traygo cansados en el segundo grado
Text incipit Los braços traygo cansados


Category intabulation

Genre romance

Fantasia type

Mode 3

Voices 4

Length (compases) 88


Tuning E

Courses 6

Final V/0

Highest I/5

Lowest VI/3

Difficulty medium

Tempo slow

Song Text

Language ES

Vocal notation texted cifras rojas


Valderrábano’s arrangement of a vocal setting by Juan Vásquez of a text from the ballad known as the “Romance de la muerte de Don Beltrán” (see menéndezpidal 1928, 107). Valderrábano’s rubric states: “This romance has to be performed in accordance with the indicated tempo which is slow, and the voice in red ciphers is the melody. Second grade”. Gil reports that “the version for vihuela presents a practically direct connection with the version by Juan Vásquez, from which it can be deduced that prior to including it in his collection, it was already known through a manuscript copy.” This refers to the fact that Valderrábano’s version was published thriteen years before the Vásquez version appeared in print in his Recopilación of 1560 (vasquez1560, fol. 27). Comparing the two versions suggests considerable reworking between Valderrábano’s version and that of 1560. As in Vásquez’s setting, the transcription for a vihuela in E gives the mode 3 melody transposed a fourth.

The text is a historical ballad from the time of Alfonso II “the Chaste” of León, and was well known in Spanish tradition from the fifteenth century. Other musical settings of the text are in the Cancionero de Palacio, the Cancionero de Barcelona and the Cancionero Masson. These are not musically related to this version. The CMP version is by Millán in three voices (CMP Anglés no 446, Barbieri no 344); the version in the Cancionero musical de Barcelona Ms.454, 144 (1520 - 1534) ed. in Ros-Fábregas diss) is by Other settings of the same text: Millán in three voices (CMP Anglés no 446, Barbieri no 344); Peñalosa in three voices, Cancionero musical de Barcelona Ms.454, 144 (1520 - 1534) ed. in Ros-Fábregas diss) is by Peñalosa and ilso in three voices, while there is an anonymous monophonic version in F-Pba 56: Masson, fols. 66v-67r (Ca. 1523), París, Bibliothèque École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts Masson 56 (Cancionero de París / Cancionero Masson).

Sources of the text include: Silva de varios Romances (Zaragoza, 1550) fol. 112r; Cancionero de Romances, Antwerp, 1550, fol. 188r (Ed. Rodríguez Moniño, 1967). Full text in Binkley Spanish Romances (with English translation), 145. Text variants
Recopilación de sonetos y villancicos (1560): Los braços traygo cansados / De los muertos rodear / Vide a todos los franceses / Y no vide a don Beltrán.
Cancionero de Palacio: Los braços trayo cansados / De los muertos rodear: / Fallo todos los franceses, / No fallo a don Rreynalte.
Barcelona Ms.454: Los braços trayo cansados / De los muertos rodear / Fallo todos los franceses / Y no fallo a don Reynalte.
Cancionero Masson: Los braços traygo camsados / De los muertos rrodear / Alho todos los franceses/ Y no alho a dom Beltrane

Song Text

Los brazos traygo cansados
de los muertos rodear;
Vi a todos los franceses
y no hallo a don Beltrán,

Por Dios te suplico, el moro,
me digas una verdad:
caballero de armas blancas
si tú lo viste acá pasar,

-Este caballero, amigo,
muerto está en aquel pradal;
Las piernas las tiene en el agua
y el cuerpo en el arenal.

My arms hang waerily
from turning over the dead bodies
Frenchmen were to be seen everywhere
but I did not see don Beltrán.

For God’s sake I implore you, Moor
to tell me the truth
If you have seen passing by here
Aknight armed in white.

Friend, this knight
was killed in yonder meadow
His legs float in the waters
His body lies in the sand.

Modern edition(s)

Vásquez, Juan. Recopilación de sonetos y villancicos a cuatro y a cinco, (Sevilla, 1560). Ed. H. Anglés. Monumentos de la Música Española 4. Barcelona: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Instituto Espanol de Musicologia, 1946.

Printed source(s)

Vásquez, Juan. Recopilación de sonetos y villancicos a quatro y a cinco. Seville: Juan Gutiérrez, 1560.