Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Western Wind.

The name of three early Tudor four-voice masses, one each by Taverner, Tye and Sheppard. All are built on a cantus firmus that somewhat resembles a melody with words beginning ‘Westron wynde’ found in GB-Lbl Roy. App.58, f.5 (see ex.1). The melody may be a single voice-part from a courtly polyphonic song, or a popular tune that was sung as it stands: the words certainly seem popular in character. Ex.2, from Taverner's mass, shows the melody used in the Western Wind masses. This may have been re-cast from the tune shown in ex.1 to make it more suitable for use as a cantus firmus; it seems not to be a polyphonic voice that could accompany the melody in ex.1.

Taverner, Tye and Sheppard all repeat the cantus firmus throughout their masses, making small rhythmic changes to accommodate new sets of words, and introducing differences of melodic detail at cadences. All three composers sometimes omit the third phrase of the cantus firmus. Whereas Taverner’s mass often has the melody in the treble, but sometimes in tenor or bass, Tye’s restricts it to the mean (beginning on D), and Sheppard’s nearly always has it in the treble. Various two- and three-part scorings are exploited in addition to four-part writing.

The use of a secular cantus firmus, though common on the Continent, was apparently an innovation in the Tudor mass. No close parallel exists even there, however, for the type of variation technique employed in the Western Wind masses. A connection has been suggested, however, with the use of well-known secular tunes in Lutheran sacred music. Overt Lutheran influence on liturgy and worship in England is thought to have been possible in the late 1530s and early 1540s, and the masses may date from that time, that of Taverner (the oldest composer) probably being the earliest.


J. Stevens: Music & Poetry in the Early Tudor Court (London, 1961, 2/1979), 127–32

P.M. Doe: ‘Latin Polyphony under Henry VIII’, PRMA, xcv (1968–9), 81–95

N. St J. Davison: Preface to Christopher Tye (ca.1500–1573): the Western Wind Mass (London, 1969) [incl. facs. of Westron wynde]

T. Messenger: ‘Texture and Form in Taverner’s Western Wind Mass’, JAMS, xxii (1969), 504–8; repr. in MR, xxxiii (1972), 167–70

N. St J. Davison: ‘The Western Wind Masses’, MQ, lvii (1971), 427–43

C. Hand: John Taverner: his Life and Music (London, 1978), 55–61

P.M. Doe: Preface to Christopher Tye: II, Masses, EECM, xxiv (1980), pp.xi–xii


West gallery music.

See Gallery music.

Westhoff, Johann Paul von

(b Dresden, 1656; d Weimar, bur. 17 April 1705). German composer and violinist. He was given a good education and by 1671 was tutor to the two Princes of Saxony. Like his father, Friedrich von Westhoff, he became a member of the Dresden Hofkapelle, where he served from 1674 to 1697. During these years he made journeys throughout Europe; he played before Louis XIV in Paris in 1682. After a short period as a professor of modern languages at the University of Wittenberg, he became in 1699 chamber secretary, chamber musician and teacher of French and Italian at the court at Weimar. Together with Biber and J.J. Walther he was held by his contemporaries to be one of the leading German violinists of his day. His left-hand technique in particular was highly developed, and he used double stopping up to the fourth position. His music for unaccompanied violin – the suite, which is the earliest piece in this medium in more than one movement, and the short four-movement partitas, discovered by Várnai – offer the most complete picture of his art. Their imaginative polyphony and the severe themes of the partitas are typical of German violin music. On the other hand the sonatas with continuo are certainly influenced by the Italian style.


Erstes Dutzend Allemanden, Couranten, Sarabanden und Giguen Violino Solo sonder Passo Continuo (Dresden, 1682), lost, cited in GöhlerV

Sonata, vn, bc, in Mercure galant (Dec 1682)

Suite pour le violon seul sans basse, in Mercure galant (Jan 1683)

[6] Sonate a Violino solo con basso continuo (Dresden, 1694)

[6] Solo partitas, vn (Dresden, 1696/R1974) [probably 2nd ed. or vol. ii of Erstes Dutzend Allemanden]






M. Fürstenau: Beiträge zur Geschichte der königlich sächsischen musikalischen Kapelle (Dresden, 1849)

M.H. Lavoix: ‘Un virtuose en 1682’, Chronique musicale, i (1873), 169–76

H. Quittard: ‘J.-P. Westhoff: notes sur la musique en France au XVIIe siècle’, RHCM, ii (1902), 357–61

G. Beckmann: Das Violinspiel in Deutschland vor 1700 (Leipzig, 1918, music suppl. 1921)

R. Aschmann: Das deutsche polyphone Violinspiel im 17. Jahrhundert (diss., U. of Zürich, 1962)

P.P. Várnai: ‘Ein unbekanntes Werk von Johann Paul von Westhoff’, Mf, xxiv (1971), 282–6


West Indies.

For discussion of the musical traditions found in the Caribbean archipelago, see the following articles on islands in the Greater Antilles: Cuba; Dominican Republic; Haiti; Jamaica and Puerto Rico; for islands in the Lesser Antilles see Martinique and Guadeloupe; Netherlands Antilles and Aruba and Trinidad and tobago.

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