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Pavan: Renaissance violin and lute

England’s Tudor monarchs not only employed numerous musicians for their entertainment but also enjoyed playing instruments themselves.

In this short film, Passamezzo musicians Tamsin Lewis and Robin Jeffrey perform a pavan in the Great Watching Chamber at Hampton Court. Tamsin plays the Renaissance violin and Robin plays a lute.

The pavan (or pavane) was popular dance in England in the 16th and 17th centuries, often occurring as a prelude to a faster dance or sequence of dances. The term was also used to describe a piece of music written for this dance. In later use the term was used for a piece of music written in the same rhythm or style as that used for a pavan.

The pavan performed in this video is by Augustine Bassano. It survives in Egerton MS 3665 a manuscript in the British Library. The manuscript is known as “The Tregian Anthology” and is a collection of madrigals, motets, fantasias, and other types of music, mostly by Italian and English composers of the 16th and early 17th centuries.

Augustine Bassano was a musician and instrument maker at the English court. His family were presumably from Bassano, near Venice, in the late fifteenth century. Many members of his family worked at the Tudor court as musicians and instrument makers. Augustine was Musician in Ordinary for recorders from the 1550s through his death in 1604.


  1. How does this music make you feel? Can you imagine dancing to it?
  2. Do you think music is a good way of bringing historical spaces to life? What other senses can be engaged to enhance visiting a historic site?
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A History of Tudor Entertainment

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