Thursday, 26 October 2017

Dowland: The frog galliard P23 & P23a, and the song 'Now, O now ...'

At last, a piece that's not too difficult to play (if you ignore the graces). The frog galliard was very popular in Dowland's time, and gave rise to versions by other lutenists, and also to J D's song Now, O now I needs must part.

In this post, rather than show the difficult variations in the originals, I have included two versions of each of the two strains (A and B): the first and simpler is from P 23 (ascribed to Anon), while the second is from P 23a (bearing J D's signature) and is very similar but with some bars more syncopated and with many graces (twiddly bits). These graces are indicated in the lute version by '#' whose interpretation is uncertain. Following Poulton's lute tutor I have plumped for mordents, where the grace note is higher than the main note on descending scales, and vice versa. But, it's up to you: I find them pretty difficult, and will need a lot of practice to make them musical, so I tend to leave them out.

Bars 7 and 14 of the first strain are versions of the 'Solus-cum-sola motif' (see previous post). The first 5 bars of the second strain are reminiscent of Greensleeves.

The Duc d'Alençon et d'Anjou, aged 29.
By an unknown painter, via Wikipedia.

There is conjecture that the title refers to the Duc d'Alençon et d'Anjou, Queen Elizabeth's most long-serving suitor, whom she affectionately referred to as 'My Frog'. Whether it's true or not, it does show how long this reference to the French nation has persisted amongst les rosbifs, and gives me the opportunity to include the duc's portrait as a young man (and much Elizabeth's junior).

The air 'Now, O now I needs must part' was published by Mr D in his First booke of songes and, though simple, follows the galliard quite closely. I have appended the words to the pdf transcript, as it helps to bear them in mind whilst playing the galliard.

You can find the transcriptions here:


  1. Another great setting from "my welsh"....
    ...And a warm hello from "your frog".

    Keep on the good size of life,
    Gilles T

  2. I meant the good "side", of course ! Forgive me — the shift to winter hour have some weird side effects.


I hope you enjoy these arrangements. I would welcome your views, and comments on possible errors or improvements.