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Saturday morning quotes 4.8: Name that tune

July 5, 2014

“Whats in a name? That which we call a Rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

– Juliet, from An Excellent conceited Tragedie of Romeo and Iuliet As it hath been often (with great applause) plaid publiquely, by the Right Honourable the L. of Hunsdon his seruants. (II, ii)

A name can make a great deal of difference.  For instance the name of our duo, Mignarda, is memorable for many reasons, including universal curiosity over its accepted pronunciation (meen – YAR – dah).  Those in the know are aware that the French term means “dainty,” which we prefer to translate as “intricate,” and is the title of a galliard for solo lute (Poulton 34) attributed to John Dowland.

There are other interesting names associated with the music of Dowland, including “La mia Barbara” (Poulton 95), an elaborately decorated pavan for solo lute found in the Ernst Schele manuscript (f. 49). The title may possibly have something to do with the Italian cult of Saint Barbara, but if one joins the words “la mia” and translates the term from Latin to English, a somewhat surprising result emerges (vampire barbarian).

In another quote from Romeo and Juliet (IV:v), we hear Peter singing a snippet of a song:

When griping grief the heart doth wound
And doleful dumps the mind oppress,
Then music with her silver sound—

Several years ago, we recorded this song on our CD My Lord of Oxenfords Maske, the text and music of which is attributed to Richard Edwards (1525-1566) and is titled “In commendation of music.” It has come to our attention that by not referencing the more common title, “When griping griefs,” we managed to thwart the search engines.  Oh well.  You can hear the recording here.


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