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Peter Warlocks: Capriol Suite

Gabrielle Lindsay
Score Analysis Project
MUS 359
03/10/2014

Peter Warlock lived from 1894-1930 in London, England. Warlock grew up


studying piano but like many of us when he got to university he ended up studying
subjects outside of music. After College, Warlock eventually settled in to being a
music transcriptionist, which introduced him to the world of composing. From this
time period we see a strong influence of Edwardian drawing-room songs, which
can be found in Warlocks work. Written in 1927, Peter Warlocks Capriol Suite was
a tribute to a book of renaissance dance titled Orchsographie et trait en forme de
dialogue par lequel toutes personnes peuvent facilement apprendre et pratiquer l'honnte
exercice des danses which was written by Jehan Tabourot in 1588. Peter Warlock took
the work of Tabourot and created beautiful works of music from it. We can see the
connections between Warlock and Tabourot in all of the movements, and even the title.
In the dialogue of the book we meet Arbeau and Capriol who was a lawyer. Warlock
discovered the works of Tabourot in 1925 when he was given the job to illustrate the
music when the book was translated into English; he also gave an informative preface on
the dance tunes of the period. The Capriol Suite is made up of six dances; Basse Danse,
Pavane, Tordion, Bransles, Pieds-en-lair, and Mattachins. Each of these movements is
derived from a dance in Tabourots book.
For this project I studied specifically the Pieds-en-lair movement of the Capriol
Suite. In this movement the first phrase is derived from the Tabourot book, but that is the
only phrase found in both works. However, Warlock took that one phrase and created an

entire movement of music, including a four phrase melodie and harmonies. This
movement is in the key of g major and there is only one true modulation and that occurs
six measures from the end, and it modulates to a minor. The entire movement has the
same arrangement first violins always have the melody, while second violins, and cellos
have a harmony line. I would categorize the viola part as a counter-melody. Interesting
motifs throughout most of the movement are chromatic steps tied into the harmony. The
whole movement is stagnant in key; there are no written key changes. The only
different part of the movement is the ending. At the end we slow down tremendously
while a cadence happens that is GM+7, CM7, D#M7, CM9, DM9, GM. To begin
studying this score I listened to it three times while reading the score, the fourth time I
listened to it I listened for dynamic changes, the fifth I listened to who had the melody,
the sixth I listened to the melodic notes that are written to stick out. This allowed me to
separate the information as I was listening to and reading the movement, and this allowed
me to catalog the information more accurately.
When teaching this piece I think the hardest thing for students will be the meter.
It is in nine-four and students may not be as familiar with this meter. The tempo and the
duration of some of the notes may cause some students to get lost. In order to prevent
students from miss counting I will go through section by section with students and
discuss each counting issue that may occur before it occurs. The students will then count
out loud all of the trouble sections and they will not play a note until they can count it
aloud correctly. Another challenge within this piece are the dynamics, one problem with
dynamics in particular is knowing who has the melody? The first violins have the melody
most of the time but there are also important harmonies written in the second violin,

viola, and cello parts that need to be brought out. To solve this I will go through the
piece with students and they will mark each melodic section they have, and they will also
mark when another section has the melody. When rehearsing this I would pair the 1st
violins and violas, and the second violins and cellos to hear separated parts. For the final
cadence a sudden diminuendo is required. I will achieve this by subdividing the beat in
my right hand and cueing the start of each note in my left hand.

Sources Cited;
(1) Valentine, Richard. "The Peter Warlock Society." The Peter Warlock Society.
Peter Warlock Society, 1997. Web. 01 Mar. 2014.
<http://www.peterwarlock.org/ARCHIVE.HTM>.
(2)

Smith, Barry. "Classical Net - Composers - Warlock." Classical Net Composers - Warlock. Classical Net, n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2014.
<http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/acc/warlock.php>.