William Byrd (1543-1623)

by: SummerGrace Pariseau

His Life

In 1543, Byrd was born in Lincolnshire London. In 1550, He became a child of the Chapel Royal. He spent most of his time there, and also in London. In 1563, he was trained to be a organist at the Lincoln Cathedral in London. In 1568, He was married to Juliana Birley, had a son a year later, and 3 years after that they had a daughter. Between that period Byrd was charged with recusancy. Which by definition means refusing to attend services in the Church of England. Later in 1585, Byrd received a full licence to compose music, which was after his Patron, Thomas Tallis's death. Some of his work includes; Psalmes, Songs & Sonnets: Some Solemne, Others Joyful, Framed to the Life of the Words: Fit for Voyces or Viols

Psalmes, Sonets, and Songs of Sadness and Pietie (pity)

This piece was created in 1588. You would hear this song in a movie/ documentary of the English Renaissance Churches. This song was so significant because William Byrd shows a glimpse into contemporary music. Contemporary Music was not introduced before then. After this song and another were composed and sent out to the public, a new form and development of music was bound to happen.


The voices in the song are full of emotion, the full human emotion. You can also feel and sense a shift between the happy and sad tones within the music.


When this song is heard, the song is full with the power of the individual singing.