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ENGLISH SONG: Now is the month of maying. Music: Thomas Morley - Text: Anonymous
By the time of Henry the VIII the English were recognized throughout Europe as a musical nation. Erasmus writes � they excel the whole world in the beauty of their women, their knowledge of music and the excellence of their table.� The folk music of England evolved over the centuries to produce a quintessentially English quality that bore no resemblance to the folk music of any other land. The use of poetry was a powerful influence on the character of the English song and composers continually strove to fit the music closely to the poetry to add pathos to the words. In Henry Lawes collection of �Ayres and Dialogues� there are many fine examples of the marriage of sound to sense and Lawes desired to �set words with just note and accent.�
Thomas Morley the son of a brewer from Norwich was born in 1557 or 1558, and died in 1602. He probably received his earliest musical education as a chorister at Lincoln Cathedral. Later he was a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and became organist of St. Paul�s in 1591. The Madrigal, �Now is the month of maying,� is a form of composition for several voices and is known as the Fa-La or Ballet; it was very popular in Morley�s day and he was a master of the genre.
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