The opening of this work is based loosely on the traditional Romanesca
bass, but the work is in Dorian G minor. The usual two strains of an alman are each presented with their simple varied repeats, making four short sections. In each of these, the left hand does little more than strum an accompaniment in a relatively unsubtle Italianate style so perhaps Byrd was only harmonising a pre-existent tune. The whole structure is then repeated again with more elaborate variation, including more left-hand activity and rapid right-hand scales; Byrd here more clearly appropriates the opening material and makes it fully his own. It is difficult to establish a dating for the piece, which could have been composed any time between 1570 and 1600, probably in around 1580.
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999