Luis Milan (1500 – 1560) was one of the first to write and publish a method for the vihuela. His music is interesting for guitar as well. This section provides a few examples of his music. Milan worked at the vice regal court of Ferdinand of Aragon and Germaine de Foix in Valencia, a scene of social and cultural elegance.
Besides El Cortesano, a book on etiquette and court manners, he wrote a didactic work for playing the vihuela, titled Libro de musica de vihuela de mano, intulado El Maestro. The book was published in 1535 and contained a large number of exercises and concert pieces in tablature, mostly own compositions. Milan added didactic comments and instructions with many of the works, including tempo descriptions, which was a rarity in those days.
The vihuela da mano is a plucked instrument with five string pairs (like the mandolin) and one single string. The vihuela tuning is similar to the modern guitar, only the third string has a different tuning (E-A-d-f#-b-e). This tuning is often used when playing lute music.
Below you will find four Pavanes by Luis Milan from his collection Libro de musica de vihuela de mano, intulado El Maestro.
The Pavanes by Milan are in so called church modes, a system of intervals from those days for the definition of scales. The modal system originates from the ancient Greeks and thus the names of the modes were the names of districts in ancient Greece, where people allegedly used this modus to sing their songs.