Chapter

Word Setting in the Songs of Byrd

Philip Brett

in William Byrd and His Contemporaries

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780520247581
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932838 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520247581.003.0008
Word Setting in the Songs of Byrd

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This chapter examines the word setting in William Byrd's songs. It explains that the vocal music of Byrd consists of the Latin masses and motets, a comparatively small amount of Anglican church music, and a substantial body of secular compositions. The chapter suggests that in order to gain the full measure of Byrd's song idiom, it is desirable to approach it by looking forward from the earlier triumphs of English song. It contends that with an inspired blend of his own highly individual musical language with strong traditional formal principles, Byrd's songs are not only one of the most original artistic achievements of the age, but are also among the most musically satisfying contributions to the art of song.

Keywords: William Byrd; word setting; Latin masses; motets; English song; musical language; artistic achievements

Chapter.  7017 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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