Other UK Composers   

Richard Allison (b 1560s, died before 1614) was a musician who has left a small number of lute solos among a wider range of (mainly) instrumental music. His most popular lute solo seems to have been the Sharp Pavan (possibly inspired as response to Johnson’s Flat pavan) which exists in a number of versions. As with many pieces from manuscript sources it is unclear which of these if by Allison himself. What little we know, or can surmise, of his life is summarised by the late Robert Spencer in the Lute Society’s volume of his solo pieces.

Almain [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLAllison Grade 03
From Dd.2.11 f.75r

De La Tromba Pavan
 [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLAllison Grade 07
This pavan is found among Allison’s consort works, but also in versions for lute, lute duet and bandora. This is perhaps a measure of it’s popularity, though it is not known whether these latter versions are Allison’s work. This version is taken from the version for bandora found at Dd.2.11 f.82v.

Quadro Pavan [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLAllison Grade 07
From Dd.4.22 ff.4v - 5v

Sharp Pavan [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLAllison Grade 07
Based on the version found in the Hirsh Lute Book ff.4v - 5r.


Baruch Bulman (fl. c1600) is known only for this fine pavan from the Euing Lute Book and May be the author of some choral works (Evans and Humphries, 1997).

Pavan [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLBulman Grade 07


Cuthbert Hely (fl. c1630)
 is the author of 8 pieces that appear in Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s Lute Book, all for 10-course lute in renaissance tuning. Little is known of his life (there is speculation that he may have been Lord Herbert’s Lute tutor), but the pieces (all but one preludes and fantasias) are of considerable beauty and complexity. The arrangements are made from the modern editing by Spring (1993).

Saraband [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Hely Grade 04
This piece (Sarebrand in the source) is a shorter and simpler piece than the others and makes an effective guitar solo. In the tablature source the piece is notated thus [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] with a one beat anacrusis, so that the strong beat is the first beat in each bar. I have re-notated the piece by making the first note beat 1 of the first bar; this is now the more usual way or notating sarabands, which are then played with the second beat as the strong beat.

Fantasia 4 [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLHely Grade 10
Four of Hely’s eight pieces are fantasias, and this one is no. 4 in
Spring’s (1993) collection. Spring describes Hely’s pieces as “…polyphonic in texture and harmonically and rhythmically complex. The fantasias…are mono thematic to an unusual degree and have unusual angular themes.” This arrangement succeeds in transferring the piece almost intact from 10-course lute to 6-string guitar; a few chords have been thinned out but most of the ‘hold’ signs in the tablature have been respected.

There is a recording of Jakob Lindberg playing these two pieces on his CD Jacobean Lute Music [BIS: BIS2055]; and Paul Odette plays several of Hely’s works on his CDs The Art of the Lute and Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s Lute Book (Harmonia Mundi).


William Lawes
William Lawes, English composer of the Civil War period. [More about…… ]

Mr Lawes Flat Tune [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLLawes Grade 06
This short piece was composed for viol consort, but transfers well to the solo guitar; the viol version can be found in Pinto (1995).

Sarabande  [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLLawes Grade 05
This is a transcription of a keyboard piece found in the Henry Playford’s collection Musick’s Handmaid (1678).


Martin Peerson (or Pearson) 
Martin Peerson (or Pearson) c1571 - 1651 was an English organist and composer. He was a choirboy of St Paul’s Cathedral under Thomas Mulliner in the 1580s and studied at Oxford University then worked at Canterbury Cathedral and became, in 1624 or 1625 organist and choirmaster of St Paul’s Cathedral (Jones and Rastall, accessed 03/01/2005; Whent, accessed 05/06/2008). The arrangements below are of his only known keyboard pieces which appear in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. The changes required to create guitar arrangements were simplifying and revoicing chords and condensing the octave span of the keyboard pieces.

Alman [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLPeerson Grade 08

The Fall of the Leaf [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLPeerson Grade 07 
There is a guitar arrangement of this piece by John Duarte (Duarte1965) which was for many years a favourite piece of mine. Duarte arranged it in the original key of D minor and omitted bars 17 - 24. To my mind it sounds better in E minor and seems easier to play; and in this key the missing section is incorporated without too may changes. To me this piece beautifully evokes the swirling winds of autumn, bringing leaves down from the trees.

Pipers Pavan [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLPeerson Grade 08
The John Dowland version of this piece is perhaps more familiar to guitarists and lutenists.

The Primrose [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLPeerson Grade 07 


John Whitfield 
A lutenist thought to have been active between 1588 and 1620. Only three of his works are known, two in the Pickering Lute MS (Daphne and Corridon and The English Hunt’s Up) and one in the Matthew Holmes MS Dd.2.11 (with the rather odd title Mr. Strangs Gregory hitts).


Other Pieces

Fansye (Newman) [PDF] [MIDI] [XMLNewman Grade 06

The piece is one of two in the Mulliner Book named as being by ‘Newman’ but not otherwise identified. The Fansye is written out as an organ piece, starting in two parts and mostly alternating between two and three parts, with a brief moment at bar 14 where it has four parts. This thinness of texture, the distribution of the parts and the limited note range in the piece made me think that the original may have been a fantasy for six course lute and led me to arrange it for guitar.

Subsequently, when I joined the Lute Society I discovered John Robinson's compilation of The Complete Lute Music ascribed to Master Newman in Lute News June 1996 . The first piece in the supplement is a Fancy from the Marsh Lute book by Newman - and it is this same piece. Robinson includes a longer, more elaborate, anonymous version of the same fantasy, also from the Marsh Lute Book and a similar fantasia from Italian manuscripts. He comments that the keyboard source in the Mulliner Book is in fact earlier than the lute sources and speculates (inconclusively) about the identity of Master Newman, based on evidence from 16th century court records

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