Enríquez de Valderrábano

La bella mal maridada


Silva de sirenas (1547), fol. 26v


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Source title Segundo grado.
Title in contents   Villancico La bella mal maridada en el segundo grado.
Text incipit La bella mal maridada


Category intabulation

Genre villancico

Fantasia type

Mode 2

Voices 4

Length (compases) 48


Tuning G

Courses 6

Final V/2

Highest I/7

Lowest VI/0

Difficulty medium

Tempo medium

Song Text

Language ES

Vocal notation texted cifras rojas


Ostensibly a setting by Valderrábano of a well-known text and melody. The melody shares considerable commonality with the versions by Gabriel in the Cancionero de Palacio (no 234, Barbieri no 158) and the setting by Narváez (na028). The music has been judged as mode 2 because of the greater prominence of F as the most important secondary tone in the harmonic structure. The same music is found in Flecha’s ensalada “La viuda” reported by Pedrell (pedrellCATA, II, 194.) but with the text “De iglesia en iglesia”. Ward claims that “the music intabulated by Valderrábano does appear in an arrangement for lute in 1536b” (ward1953, 449) The source 1536b =milano1536-3, fol.16 = BrownI 1536/3. This work is transcribed by Ness (no. 96), and shows no obvious relationship to Valderrábano’s music. Valderrábano only gives one four-line stanza of text, on a page of his book headed “villancicos” Nárvaez’s version has a longer text, clearly in the form of a villancico:

La bella malmaridada
de las más lindas que vi,
acuérdate quan amada,
señora, fuiste de mí.

Llorar quiero a ty y a mí
pues nuestra dicha fue tal,
a mí porque te miré
y a ty por te ver ansí,
y aquel tiempo en que me vi.

Tú lloras por malcasada,
yo porque te conocí,
si has de tener amado
señora, tomes a mí.

It has been speculated that the song may have originated as a romance before it transformed into a villancico. The text is also quoted by Gil Vicente in two of his plays: “Fragoa de amor” and “Comedia de Rubena”. Ward lists “Mon pere aussi ma mère ma voulu marier” (ward1953, 430) among Frnech chansons in the vihuela repertoire but in the accompanying footnote states that it is “not identical with the three sttings, one by Compère of ‘Ma pere ma done mari’ in 1503a, nor with the tunes discussed by Helen Hewitt, “Malmaridade and Meshouwet,” in Tijdschrift voor Muziekwetenschap 17 (1948-51): 181-191. (The villancico [originally a romance?] , La bella mal maridada, belongs to the same family; see n.68 below.) (ward1953, 449, n. 56)