I own a copy of Luis Milan's Six Pavanes for guitar but, contrary to what I expect to find on any music sheet, there is no tempo indication at the beginning of any of them.

According to Wikipedia a Pavane was a "fast dance that became slower over time" so that only adds to my confusion, should these then be played slow or fast? And what does that mean? If slow should they be played "Lento" or "Adagio"? If fast should they be played "Andante" or "Allegro"?

Thank you.

  • It depends on if the composer included tempo markings or not or if it's just the specific typesetter. Looking at other versions or listening to recordings should help if it's the latter. Sep 10, 2017 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


Getting slower over time is what it did. Maybe a hundred years or so! It started off as a not-slow dance, and ended up as a majestic swing, slow in nature. Not actually what you thought!

If no tempo marks are shown, then the player has to resort to deciding how fast or slow he wants to play it. He can please himself, and choose a tempo he likes. Maybe play an early pavane faster, and a later written one slower?

  • 1
    Also you could look at the videos on YouTube which will give you an idea of the tempo that other guitarists think is appropriate
    – JimM
    Aug 11, 2017 at 20:23

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