Luis [Luys] de Milán

(c. 1500 - after 1561)

Spanish composer, vihuela player and writer, from a noble family, who worked at the court of the viceroy Don Fernando of Aragon at Valencia. His many and varied books were all published in Valencia, probably his lifelong home. They include a depiction of courtly life at Valencia, El cortesano (1561), and, most important, the tutor Libro de musica de vihuela de mano intitulado El maestro (1536), the first of a series of Spanish vihuela books; it contains Spanish, Italian and Portuguese songs and fantasias, tientos and pavanes. El maestro contains not only verbal instruction but also a large quantity of original music in vihuela tablature. Over 40 instrumental pieces (fantasias, tientos, and pavans) are supplemented by a number of accompanied songs ( villancicos, romances, sonetos ) in various languages. Many of the songs are given in two versions, one simple and to be ornamented using vocal techniques described but not notated, the other more complex, especially in the vihuela part, and to be performed without additional musical elaboration. Milán was one of the first to write tempo indications. In songs he uses a variation technique so that the music is embellished on its repeat; in fantasias he writes pseudo-polyphony, in his tientos there are more running passages; he requires the music always to be played with flexibility of tempo, alternating fast and slow movement.

A Partial Luis Milén Discography  |  IVL: The Iberian Masters