Henry Viii : An Old English Folk Song And Tune That Talks About A Woman Named

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Greensleeves is an old English folk song and tune that talks about a woman named Lady Green Sleeves, who many believe was a prostitute. Although there was never a named composer, many people believe that it was written by King Henry VIII for his future queen, Anne Boleyn, but there are some problems with this theory because of its style and of the time period it was written in. In fact there is no direct information that can link Henry VIII to this piece. In this paper, using historical information and scholarly articles, I argue that Henry VIII did not compose Greensleeves. Greensleeves is written in a form called passomezzo which is “an old originally Italian dance in duple time resembling the pavan but about twice as fast”. passamezzo was popular in the mid 16th century till about 1650, and there were two types, the passamezzo antico and the Passamezzo moderno. With each passamezzo there is a certain chord progression for each passamezzo, with the Passamezzo antico having a i-vii-i-V-III-vii-i-V-I progression and the passamezzo Moderno having a I-IV-I-V-I-IV-I-V-I progression. Now “Although in the extant sources this distinction emerges only in the late 1550s, both types are already clearly defined in earlier examples simply entitled ‘passamezzo’” showing that passamezzo was barley being practiced a couple of years after Henry died in 1547. Also “...the passamezzo developed mainly in Italy, both types appeared in lute books published in Nuremberg.” reienforcing the
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