William Byrd Composer

Biography. William Byrd's Life in a Nutshell

  • William Byrd was born in 1543 in Lincoln, UK
  • Byrd died on July 4th 1623.
  • He grew up in London after his birth. London is where he spent most of his life.
  • Byrd started his life in music by being a part of a church group. He was also the organist of the Lincoln Chapel.
  • Byrd grew up with the Chapel Royal. He was very well known around that community.
  • He worked a lot with his friend, Thomas Tallis, a fellow composer like Byrd.
  • Byrd soon married Juliana Birley and had a child.
  • However during this time, Byrd was dealing with recusancy. (not listening to the authority)
  • Byrd created many pieces of music. Some of his most well known being: Psalms, Sonnets and Songs (1588), Songs of Sundrie Nature (1589), Cantiones sacre I (1589) and Cantiones sacre II (1591).
  • One of Byrd's patrons was Queen Elizabeth I.
  • At first the queen's patent was given to Byrd's friend, Thomas Tallis. Byrd got the patent after the death of Thomas Tallis.

One of William Byrd's best pieces of music was Psalms, Sonnets and Songs (1588).

  • The piece was created in 1588.
  • The piece consists of 5 different voices and different acts.
  • You can find the physical song in many different books and you can listen to the piece on the internet.
  • Its significance is shown in the 5 parts of the piece of music.
  • The reason I love this piece of music is because the choir reminds me a lot of the chorus in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It's a very strong and intimidating choir
  • William Byrd and his music represents classicism because his music is about the transition between the medieval period and the renaissance period.

Work Cited

"William Byrd." Encyclopedia of World Biography, Gale, 1998. Biography in Context,

Stevens, D. "William Byrd." New Catholic Encyclopedia, Gale, 2003. Biography in Context,

"William Byrd." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Schirmer, 2001. Biography in Context,

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