Renaissance: Luis Milan

Luis Milan

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.