Luys Milan - El Maestro (1536)

Luys Milan (c. 1500 - c. 1561) was a Spanish composer for the vihuela.  Milan published his book  Libro de música de vihuela de mano intitulado El maestro in Valencia in 1536.  El Maestro is the earliest known publication of vihuela music.  The book is dedicated to King John III of Portugal.  The book includes a number of fantasias, pavans, and vihuela settings of Italian sonnets.  The vihuela music in El Maestro is written in Italian Tablature, but unlike most later examples of Italian Tablature, Milan's tablature places the 1st (highest pitched) course at the top of each tablature, and the 6th (lowest) course at the bottom - this is inverted from other examples of Italian Tablature (with the exception of the 4 renaissance guitar pieces by Barberiis, discussed here),  The vihuela was tuned to the same intervals as the lute, so when working from Milan's book, a modern guitarist needs to retune the 3rd string of the guitar to "F#" rather than "G" or otherwise be prepared to arrange the music for modern tunings.

Cover page of Luys Milan's El Maestro (1536)

Depiction of the vihuela (Orpheus playing the vihuela) from the front matter of El Maestro.  This could well be the earliest recorded rock star guitarist pose.  Milan was obviously reminding the reader that "vihuelists are the rock stars of the musical world."  This is easily one of my favorite images remaining from the SCA period.

Another depiction of the vihuela from El Maestro

Pavana #1 from El Maestro - Luys Milan (1536)

Click on the player above to hear Milan's Pavan #1 from El Maestro.  This recording is from my SCA guitar album (Whilst My Guitarra Weepeth Gently) - you can check out the entire album on Bandcamp.

Facsimile of Pavana #1 from El Maestro.  The piece begins on the last line of the first page, and continues through the fifth line of the second page.

Johann von Solothurn

Johann is a bard and Court Musician in the Kingdom of Atlantia.  Johann enjoys sharing his art.  If you would like Johann to assist you in organizing or judging bardic/music competitions, teaching classes, or if you would like him to drop by your camp and perform, just send him a note (email below).  

Johann von Solothurn

Barony of Black Diamond

email/contact Johann here