Thomas Morley

Mixed chorus
For beginners
by popularity


A Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical MusicAbout the may-pole newAire for 3 ViolsAlman, FVB 152April is in my mistress' faceAria a quattroArise, AwakeArise, Get up My DeereAyres or Little Short Songs, Book 1


Balletts to Five Voyces, Book 1Besides a fountainBlow, Shepherds, Blow


Canzonets or Little Short Aers to Five and Sixe VoicesCanzonets to Three VoicesCanzonets to Two VoicesCease Myne EyesClorinda FalseComme lovers follow meConsort Lessons, Book 1Crewell You Pull Away to Soone


Dainty Fine Sweet NymphDeep Lamenting, Grief BetrayingDoe You Not Know


Eheu! Sustulerunt Dominum


Fantasia for Keyboard, FVB 124Fantasie à 2 'Il Doloroso'Fantasie à 2 'Il Grillo'Fantasie à 2 'Il Lamento'Fantasie à 2 'Il Rondinella'Fantasie à 2 'La Caccia'Fantasie à 2 'La Girandola'Fantasie à 2 'La Sampogna'Fantasie à 2 'La Sirena'Fantasie à 2 'La Torello'Farewell, DisdainfullFire and Lightning from HeavenFire! Fire!Flora wilt Thou Torment Me?


Go Ye My CanzonetsGod Morrow, Fayre LadiesGoe from my window, FVB 9


Hard by a Crystal FountainHould Out, My Hart


I am the Resurrection and the LifeI Go before My DarlingI Love, alas, I Love TheeI Saw My Lovely PhillisI Should for Grief and AnguishI will no more come to theeIn Nets of Golden WireIt Was a Lover and His Lass


Joy, Joy doth so Arise


La Volta, FVB 159Laboravi in gemituLadie, Those EyesLady, if I through GriefeLeave Alas! This TormentingLeave now, Mine EyesLo, here another LoveLo, She FliesLove Learnes by Laughing


Madrigals to 4 voyces, Book 1Madrigals to 5 voycesMi sfidate guerreraMiraculous Love's WoundingMy bonny lass she smileth


Nancie, FVB 12No, No, NigellaNolo mortem peccatorisNow Is the Month of MayingNow Must I Dye


O Flye Not, O Take Some PittieO Sleep, Fond FancyO Thou that art so CruelOut of the Deep


Pavan and Galliard for 5 ViolsPavana & Galiarda, FVB 153-154Pavana & Galliarda, FVB 169-170Phillis I Fain would Die Now


Say Deere, Will You Not Have MeSay Gentle NymphsSee, See, Myne Own Sweet JewellShoot, False Love, I Care NotSince My Tears and LamentingSing We and Chaunt ItSinging AloneSpringtime Manteleth Every BoughSweet Nymph Come to Thy Lover


The Triumphes of OrianaThirsis, Let Some Pittie Move TheeThis Love is but a Wanton FitThough Philomena Lost Her LoveThus Saith My Galatea


What Ayles My DarlingWhat Saith My Daintie Darling?When Lo by Break of MorningWhere Art Thou, WantonWhether awaie so Fast


You That Won't, to My Pipe's Sound
Thomas Morley (1557 or 1558 – early October 1602) was an English composer, theorist, singer and organist of the Renaissance. He was one of the foremost members of the English Madrigal School. Referring to the strong Italian influence on the English madrigal, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians states that Morley was "chiefly responsible for grafting the Italian shoot on to the native stock and initiating the curiously brief but brilliant flowering of the madrigal that constitutes one of the most colourful episodes in the history of English music."
Living in London at the same time as Shakespeare, Morley was the most famous composer of secular music in Elizabethan England. He and Robert Johnson are the composers of the only surviving contemporary settings of verse by Shakespeare.
Morley was active in church music as a singer, composer and organist at St Paul's Cathedral. He was also involved in music publishing. From 1598 up to his death he held a printing patent (a type of monopoly). He used the monopoly in partnership with professional music printers such as Thomas East.
Morley was born in Norwich, the son of a brewer. Most likely he was a singer in the local cathedral from his boyhood, and he became master of choristers there in 1583. However, it is assumed that Morley moved from Norwich Cathedral sometime before 1574 to be a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral. He was working as a singer in London in the 1570s and appears to have studied with William Byrd at that time who was his mentor, who also taught contemporary Peter Philips. While the dates he studied with Byrd are not known, they were most likely in the early 1570s. In his 1597 publication A Plain and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke, Morley mentions Byrd as his mentor. In 1588 he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Oxford, and shortly thereafter was employed as organist at St. Paul's in London. His young son died the following year in 1589. He and his wife Susan had three children between 1596 and 1600. He may have been a Roman Catholic, like Byrd. He was able to avoid prosecution as a recusant, and there is evidence that he may have been an informer on the activities of Roman Catholics.
In 1588 Nicholas Yonge published his Musica transalpina, the collection of Italian madrigals fitted with English texts, which touched off the explosive and colourful vogue for madrigal composition in England. Morley found his compositional direction at this time, and shortly afterwards began publishing his own collections of madrigals (11 in all).
Morley lived for a time in the same parish as Shakespeare, and a connection between the two has been long speculated, but never proven. His famous setting of "It was a lover and his lass" from As You Like It has never been established as having been used in a performance of Shakespeare's play during the playwright's lifetime. However, given that the song was published in 1600, there is evidently a possibility that it was used in stage performances.
While Morley attempted to imitate the spirit of Byrd in some of his early sacred works, it was in the form of the madrigal that he made his principal contribution to music history. His work in the genre has remained in the repertory to the present day, and shows a wider variety of emotional color, form and technique than anything by other composers of the period. Usually his madrigals are light, quick-moving and easily singable, like his well-known "Now is the Month of Maying" (which is actually a ballett); he took the aspects of Italian style that suited his personality and anglicised them. Other composers of the English Madrigal School, for instance Thomas Weelkes and John Wilbye, were to write madrigals in a more serious or sombre vein.
In addition to his madrigals, Morley wrote instrumental music, including keyboard music (some of which has been preserved in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book), and music for the broken consort, a uniquely English ensemble of two viols, flute, lute, cittern and bandora, notably as published by William Barley in 1599 in The First Booke of Consort Lessons, made by diuers exquisite Authors, for six Instruments to play together, the Treble Lute, the Bandora, the Cittern, the Base-Violl, the Flute & Treble-Violl.
Morley's Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (published 1597) remained popular for almost two hundred years after its author's death, and is still an important reference for information about sixteenth century composition and performance.
Thomas Morley was buried in the graveyard of the church of St Botolph Billingsgate, which was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666, and not rebuilt. Thus his grave is lost.
Thomas Morley's compositions include (in alphabetical order):