Holborne: Walsingham

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Holborne: Walsingham Anthony Holborne (c 1545 – 1602) was a prolific and respected composer of, according to one of his titles: Pavans, Galliards, Almains, and other short Aeirs both grave, and light, in five parts, for Viols, Violins or other Musicall Winde Instruments. You can read his biography here.

Facsimile of the original, showing the compressed format used by Holmes in the days when paper was an expensive commodity. You can see the whole page here.


A short piece of 12 bars. The original Walsingham air (see blog page for more info) is of 8 bars. The first four bars of Holborne’s version follow the melody quite closely, the second four rather less so, and the final four are a variation on the second four.

A number of harmonies are unexpected (to me, at least). Although the piece is set approximately in G minor, the Gm chord occurs only twice, and the piece starts in the relative major (Bb). There is a strange transition (in bars 7 and 11) from Bb via D (possibly, or B) to C. All in all, an intriguing little piece, which is not that easy to get to grips with. As it wanders so far off-piste so soon, I wonder if it is merely a segment of a longer composition.

I know it’s anachronistic, but here is an approximate chord sequence:
Bb /  A   | Bb  C  D   | Eb   Bb   Am   | Bb /   /  |
F  /  Dm  | Gm  /  /   | Bb ?D  C  G D  | G  /  Eb  |

F  /  Dm  | Gm  /  /   | Bb ?D  C  G D  | G  /  /   ||

Available to download as 
pdf
TablEdit

Tags: #holborne #walsingham

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