Ut re mi fa so la

The most basic materials for a composer to work with – the hexachord. The first piece is by Alfonso Ferrabosco, from the Hirsch lute book (BL MS Hirsch M 1353, f.64v. and also found in Dd.2.11, f.54v.).

The second is something of a blockbuster by Diomedes (Cato) of Venice, from Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s lute book, the only source for this piece (f.2v.-3). Diomedes presents the hexachord in ascending and descending forms, in augmentation and diminution, usually in the highest or lowest voice, but watch out for sneaky entries in the middle, for example starting on h5 in bar 17. Diomedes shows great skill in writing complex counterpoint without creating impossible technical problems for the lute player – it is a real gem of a piece.


Ferrabosco      PDF

Diomedes        PDF

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