Luys Milán lived in Spain during the Renaissance. “Pavan 1” was originally written for the instrument Milán played, the vihuela, a Spanish instrument similar to the lute. The guitar did not exist during the Renaissance or the Baroque period. Thus, the only way to play music from these eras on guitar is through transcriptions or arrangements. “Pavan 1” has become favorite among professional classical guitarists and audiences.

When watching and listening to my performance of Milán’s “Pavan 1”, analyze my playing. Study my classical guitar technique. Look for the left hand positions, as well as the right hand rest and free strokes including P (thumb). Listen to how I shape the musical lines. Can you hear when I gradually become louder (crescendo) or when I gradually become quieter (decrescendo)? How do I end each strain? Also, what is the mood of the piece?

Is my tempo consistent or does it fluctuate? One hint: in Renaissance music it is best for the “tactus” (early music term for beat or pulse) to be consistent. Remember this is dance music. In other eras of music, the Romantic for example, it is best use more “rubato” (slightly speeding up and slowing down) when playing.

Here’s a performance tip to keep in mind: When I perform, I like to associate a passage or piece with one word to capture its mood. This helps keep me focused, allows me to breathe with the music and stay in what I call the “groove of the piece”. For this piece, the word I think of is “solemn”. When you hear the piece, do any words describe it’s mood to you?

Video Performance


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