Morlaye: Galliarde "Les Cinque Pas"

In Chords Guitar 48 views

Morlaye: Galliarde "Les Cinque Pas" A jolly galliard, and not too difficult to play. The “cinque pas” refers to the choreography of the galliard, with five steps in the space of six beats (of one 6/4 bar, or two 3/4 bars).

I have only recently discovered Morlaye’s work here on the Delcamp Guitar website: grateful thanks to them for making such clear facsimiles available. The original book is not paginated: this galliarde is item 19, on pp 40 – 42 of the pdf file.

Morlaye’s “Galliarde Les Cinq Pas”(first 16 bars) from his Le Premier Livre de Galliardes, Paris, 1552.
The r-shaped annotations represent c’s, or fret 2 – in the Secretary hand, which was used in music MSS in this period.

This is quite a syncopated piece, which in part is achieved by using the RH strokes indicated by the composer.

In the transcription I have shown where Morlaye indicates that chords should be played with an upward strum with the RH index finger, as explained at the top of the score. (In the original he used dots beside the fingerings, as in bar 8 above.)

He also shows (with a dot) specifically where pluck with the index finger, which was conventionally considered to be weaker, for unaccented notes. To include these marks would clutter up the transcription; the general rule is when counting say “1 & 2 & 3 &” use the thumb and/or second finger on the beat, and the index finger for the “&” between the beats. (I’m finding it difficult to re-programme my fingers to play like this.) In a few places, I have indicated (by an “i” in the score) where Morlaye specifies that this rule does not apply and that the index finger should be used ON the beat. NB: another opinion of the dot notation (Page) is that the dot means use any finger(s) but not the thumb. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

In the facsimile, as you can see in the image above, a later hand has filled out the chords by adding extra notes, especially an A on the 4th string for the 2nd position D-major chord. I have ignored these additions, but you might want to try including some, especially on a repeat.


The piece is strongly anchored to the key (and chord) of G major, like many other compositions for the Renaissance guitar in the mid-1500s.

There are three themes of 8 bars, each followed by a variation. The piece ends with a 4-bar coda.

The outline chord sequence below shows the harmonic structure and substitutions:

1:   |G Am |G     |D G Am |G    |G    |G    |D    |G   |
1’:  |G    |G     |D      |G    |G    |G    |D    |G   |

2:   |G    |D     |G A    |D    |D    |C    |D    |G   |
2’:  |G    |D     |G A    |D    |Am   |G    |C    |G   |

3:   |G    |Am F  |F      |G    |G    |C    |D    |G   |
3’:  |G    |Am F  |F      |G    |G    |Am   |D    |G   |

Coda:|F C  |D Gm F|C D    |G    ||

The brief modulation into A major in bars 19 and 27 adds a nice original touch, as do the I – ii – bVII – I sequence in the third theme and the unexpected accidentals in the coda.

All in all, a simple piece, but more interesting than I had thought at first sight.

You can download the arrangements in the following formats:

  • pdf (between the lines)
  • pdf (on the lines)
  • MIDI
  • TablEdit

Tags: #cinque #galliarde #morlaye

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