The Romanesca

- Database of pieces based on the Romanesca sequence: click here!

- Romanesca VS Passamezzo:

- Romanesca forms:

- Romanesca meter; model VS practice:


1 [02:07] Luys de Narváez, Los seys libros del delphín (Valladolid, 1538) [link]

2 [02:25] Alonso Mudarra, Tres libros de musica en cifra para vihuela (Sevilla, 1546) [link]

3 [03:54] Thomas Ravenscroft, Melismata (London, 1611) [imlsp]

4 [05:18] See for example Frescobaldi’s forms in the his different Romanesca variations: 1. ABB 2. AB+ripresa 3. AB+ripresa 4. ABB 5. AB+ripresa 6. ABB 7. ABB 8. AB 9. AB 10. AB 11. AB 12. ABB 13. AB+ripresa 14. AB+ripresa.

5 [05:40] Ascanio Mayone, Secondo libro di diversi capricci per sonare, Naples, 1609 [imslp]

6 [06:33] Bernardo Storace, Selva di varie compositioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo (Venice, 1664) [link]

7 [07:03] Antonio Valente, Intavolatura de cimbalo (Napoli, 1576) [link]

8 [07:27] Chigi manuscripts, Vatican library, Q VIII 205. See edition by Harry B. Lincoln, Seventeenth-century keyboard music in the Chigi Manuscripts of the Vatican Library (American Institute of Musicology, 1968).


[02:05] Some viewers commented that the first published Romanesca (or a musical statement and a variation that might be called later a Romanesca) is found in Joan Ambrosio Dalza's lute book from 1608, p.46r (see Romanesca database). Many thanks to Sean Smith and Martin Shepherd.

EXTRA NOTES about the Romanesca:

  • In Francisco de Salinas "De musica libri septem" from 1577, the melody of "Guardame las vacas" is mentioned with a connection to the Romanesca [Romaneschum. see page 348 and here below]. Exceptionally, it is shown as a melody, and not as a bass or a harmonic sequence (in the example only the A of the Romanesca is shown). As for some time Salinas worked under Ortiz in Naples, it is not surprising that Salinas's Romanesca melody and Ortiz's Romanesca variation scheme ("Recercata settima") are compatible. (Point made by Ryosuke Sakamoto)

  • Edition and extensive edition by Joost Witte to Vincenzo Galilei's Romanesca undecima con cento parti [imslp]


Created by Elam Rotem.

Guardame las vacas by Narváez is performed on the lute by Ori Harmelin. The rest of the examples are performed on the harpsichord by Elam Rotem.

Special thanks to Anne Smith.