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A tombeau (plural tombeaux) is a musical composition (earlier, in the early 16th century, a poem) commemorating the death of a notable individual. The term derives from the French word for "tomb" or "tombstone". The vast majority of tombeaux date from the 17th century and were composed for lute or other plucked string instruments. The genre gradually fell out of use during the 18th century, but reappeared in the early 20th.
"In instrumental music, tombeau signifies a musical 'tombstone' (French le tombeau = tomb). The musical genre of tombeau is generally connected with music for the lute of the 17th and 18th centuries. Of some 60+ surviving pieces, most are intended for the lute or theorbo, 5 for the baroque guitar, 7 for the viola da gamba and 3 for harpsichord. The earliest example of this genre seems to be the Tombeau de Mezangeau (1638) by French lutenist Ennemond Gaultier."
"Musical predecessors are memorial pavans like those by Anthony Holborne (Countess of Pembrokes Funeralle, 1599). In France, where this musical genre emerged first, strong influence of literary models, particularly of memorial poems that were popular from the 16th to the end of the 17th centuries, may have been another important factor."
"The tombeau preeminently comes in two forms, as a slow elegiac allemande grave in 4/4 or as a pavan, a tri-partite renaissance dance already long out of date for the era of tombeaux, but with all the trappings of the allemande (cf. Denis Gaultier, Tombeau pour M. Racquette ). There are also a few unique tombeaux that appear as gigues; that is because the gigue grave resembles the allemande in a number of respects."
"As opposed to the Italian lamento, the tombeau should not have used expressive elements of mourning, which were skeptically viewed in France. Nevertheless, certain typical onomatopoetic features were used: repeated note motifs depicting the knocking of Death at the door, ascending or descending diatonic or chromatic scales which depict the soul's tribulation and transcendence. Froberger's Lamentation on the Death of Ferdinand III or the Meditation sur ma Mort Future would be a prime example of such a form. Some tombeaux include a motif of four descending notes, a metaphor for grief given influential expression by John Dowland in his Lachrimae (1604). These genres offered many suitable expressive characteristics: the suspirans figure (a three-note upbeat), dotted rhythms, particularly in repeated notes, and slow-moving harmonies in the minor mode whose gravity is heightened by a tendency to settle on pedal points. Later examples also tend to use chromatic progressions related to the lamento bass. The few courante tombeaux exploit the same rhythmic features in triple metre."
"Developed by Parisian lutenists (Denis Gaultier, Charles Mouton, Jacques Gallot, François Dufault), the genre was soon taken over by clavecinists (Johann Jakob Froberger, Louis Couperin, both on the death of their friend Blancrocher in 1652) and was then spread into Central Europe (Jan Antonín Losy, Sylvius Leopold Weiss)."
The tombeau genre went into decline at the end of the 18th century. It reappeared in the 20th century with Maurice Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin (1919). Other 20th century tombeaux include Manuel de Falla's Le Tombeau de Debussy for solo guitar, Arthur Benjamin's Le Tombeau de Ravel for clarinet and piano, the last movement of Pli selon pli by Pierre Boulez, and Tombeau for Michael Collins (1987) by Mona Lyn Reese. Surely between the tombeau and the hommage the instrumental Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten by Arvo Pärt and for Morton Feldman (1987) by Stephen L. Mosko. In the 21st century a series of tombeaux was written by Roman Turovsky-Savchuk.
Denis Gaultier was a French lutenist and composer. He was a cousin of Ennemond Gaultier.
The passacaglia is a musical form that originated in early seventeenth-century Spain and is still used today by composers. It is usually of a serious character and is often, but not always, based on a bass-ostinato and written in triple metre.
Pli selon pli is a piece of classical music by the French composer Pierre Boulez. It carries the subtitle Portrait de Mallarmé. It is scored for a solo soprano and orchestra and uses the texts of three sonnets of French symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé and single lines from two of his other poems. At over an hour, it is Boulez's longest work.
Patrick O'Brien was an American guitarist and lutenist born in New York. He was a recording artist, but was best known as a pedagogue in the field of early plucked instruments in America, and an expert in musicians' hand anatomy. He has worked with musicians on many instruments, reworking their technique around repetitive stress injuries and breakdowns of coordination.
Johann Jakob Froberger was a German Baroque composer, keyboard virtuoso, and organist. Among the most famous composers of the era, he was influential in developing the musical form of the suite of dances in his keyboard works. His harpsichord pieces are highly idiomatic and programmatic.
Jean-Henri d'Anglebert was a French composer, harpsichordist and organist. He was one of the foremost keyboard composers of his day.
Unmeasured or non-measured prelude is a prelude in which the duration of each note is left to the performer. Typically the term is used for 17th century harpsichord compositions that are written without rhythm or metre indications, although various composers of the Classical music era were composing small preludes for woodwind instruments using non-measured notation well into the 19th century. The form resurfaced in the aleatory music of the 20th century, where various other aspects of performance are also left to free interpretation.
Jan Antonín Losy, Count of Losinthal ; also known as Comte d'Logy, was a Bohemian aristocrat, Baroque lute player and composer from Prague. His lute works combine the French style brisé with a more Italian cantabile style. He was probably the most significant lutenist-composer in Bohemia at the height of the lute's popularity there.
Roman Turovsky-Savchuk is an American artist-painter, photographer and videoinstallation artist, as well as a lutenist-composer, born in Ukraine. His musical works were published under various pseudonyms, including Johann Joachim Sautscheck.
Luca Pianca is a Swiss musician-lutenist whose specialty is archlute. In 1985 he co - founded Il Giardino Armonico., a pioneering Italian early-music ensemble based in Milan. He has premiered works by the contemporary lutenist-composer Roman Turovsky-Savchuk at international festivals, and received numerous international awards for his recordings.
A musical hoax is a piece of music composed by an individual who intentionally misattributes it to someone else.
Ennemond Gaultier (c. 1575 – 17 December 1651) was a French lutenist and composer. He was one of the masters of the 17th century French lute school.
Charles Mouton was a French lutenist and composer.
Jacques Gallot was a French lutenist and composer.
François Dufault was a French lutenist and composer.
Charles Fleury, Sieur de Blancrocher was a French lutenist. Known principally under the name Blancrocher, he was one of the leading performers of his day, active in Paris. Whether he composed or not is unknown; a single dance movement survives, attributed to him, in the so-called Manuscrit Vaudry de Saizenay. His name became well known in the late 20th century, for after his sudden death as many as four major composers wrote tombeaux in his memory: lutenists Denis Gaultier and François Dufaut, and harpsichordists Louis Couperin and Johann Jakob Froberger. The latter witnessed Blancrocher's death, and the lutenist apparently died in Froberger's arms.
Style brisé is a general term for irregular arpeggiated texture in instrumental music of the Baroque period. It is commonly used in discussion of music for lute, keyboard instruments, or the viol.
Blandine Verlet was a French harpsichordist and a harpsichord teacher, who is known internationally for her recordings of works by François Couperin.