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Dowland’s ‘Tremolo’ Fantasia: What’s wrong with it?

Dowland’s famous “tremolo” fantasia is familiar from many performances, starting with Julian Bream in the 1970s and continuing to be a favourite piece amongst modern lutenists.

This piece appears in the Collected Lute Music of John Dowland (London: Faber. 3rd edition, 1981; edited by Diana Poulton and Basil Lam;

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Dump by Anon. (Dd.2.11, f.12v.)

The first of the lute books copied by Matthew Holmes in the 1590s is about to be published in facsimile by the Lute Society.  Dd.2.11 is the largest of these manuscripts with around 300 pieces.  Alongside well-known pieces by Dowland, Johnson, Ferrabosco and others there are many anonymous pieces, some very substantial and clearly the work of a serious composer.  

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