"[Byrd's] substantial volume of high quality compositions in every genre of the time makes it easy to consider him the greatest composer of the Renaissance"
- Born in London, England, around 1539/40 (no accurate data)
- Lived in London most of his life, but moved to Stondon Massey, Essex in 1593
- Early life in London mostly unknown
- A pupil and protégé of the organist and composer Thomas Tallis
- A devoted Catholic, wrote many songs for the chuch
- Had a monopoly with Thomas Tallis over importing, printing, publishing, and sale of music
- Works include Roman Catholic Church Music, (Cationes sacrae, 1575, Cationes sacrae, books 1 and 2, 1589 and 1591, Gradualia, two books, 1605 and 1607), Anglican Church Music (Songs of Sundrie Natures, 1589, Psalmes, Sonets, & Songs of Sadnes and Pietie, 1588), and Instrumental Music (My Ladye Nevells Booke, 1591)
- His patrons included Edward Somerset, 4th earl of Worcester
- Used illusionism in his work, often worked with triplets, a surprise to the ear and a delight that makes the music come alive
- Also incorporated humanism in his work, showcasing human emotions and friendships along with dedicating multiple pieces of music to Lady Nevill
My Ladye Nevels Grownde
- Part of My Madye Nevells Booke, a collection of music by Byrd
- Published in 1591
- Would be seen performed in a concert hall
- This was one of the first English virginal music, and introduced calligraphy into musical works
- The piece features a virginal, a piano-like instrument that is unable to change dynamics (volume) and tone. The piece has a simple triple 3/2 time signature, at a upbeat, fast tempo. With a rich, harmonic structure that changes keys often, especially at the beginning, the piece starts off introspective and melancholic. The middle section's fast-moving triplets, which almost seems to float above the other sounds, have a layered and mesmerizing feel to them, while the ending is fluid, dynamic, and resolves effortlessly.
- Linked to secularism, as instead of being religious it's dedicated to Lady Nevill
- It's written very differently from the rest of the pieces in his book, which made it very interesting. It features a strong and weak beat and a key signature different from the rest of the mostly marches and ballad pieces.