John Danyel

John Danyel (1564 - 1626) was an English lutenist and composer, younger brother to the court poet Samuel Daniel. He studied in Oxford, received the degree of BMus in 1603. and may have continued to work in the Oxford area (working for a time for the Green family in Great Milton). He became a musician of the royal household in 1612 and is last recorded as one of the royal musicians at the funeral of King James I In 1625. Danyel composed lute songs stylistically similar to some of Dowland’s and the small amount of his lute music extant shows him to have been a skilful player, with a distinctive style of variations. (Scott (1976) and Scott & Greer.

Mistress Ann Green her Leaves be Green (modernised spelling*)   

[PDF] [MIDI] [XML] fingered [PDF] [XML] Danyel Grade 09
This extraordinary set of variations on the song ‘The Leaves be Green’ (a tune known as ‘Browning’) is, in my view, a neglected masterpiece of the renaissance lute repertoire. It appears in the Cosens Lute Book. I transcribed it originally from an ASCII tab version for lute by John Robinson and revised it using a midi file by Harald Lillmeyer (, subsequently finding it in the Lute Society’s edition of Danyel’s lute music. The title is, of course, a pun on the name of Ann Green, the daughter of Danyel’s patron. 

Monsieurs Almaine [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Danyel Grade 08
It is often difficult to be clear who wrote some of the music found in lute manuscripts and this is one of the pieces of uncertain ascription. (Look here for a link to my paper Attribution in Golden Age English Lute Music that discusses this issue) Several versions of Monsieurs Almaine are found in manuscript sources and an extended set of variations on the tune is printed in Robert Dowland’s Varietie of Lute Lessons and attributed to Daniel Bacheler. My arrangement of this piece is found here (and another setting of the tune is found here). A fairly similar set of variations is found copied out twice in the Cosens Lute Book
, once attributed to John Daniell and once attributed to DB. Some of the eight bar sections in this version are identical the those in Varietie, but most of the piece is distinct, so it has been included here as one of Danyel’s pieces. 

Pavan [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Danyel Grade 07
This pavan is found following the pavan Rosamund (below) in the Matthew Holmes MS Dd.9.33.

Rosa  [PDF] [MIDI] [XML]; fingered [PDF] [XML] Danyel Grade 08
This beautiful, stately pavan is the third of Danyel’s pieces to be found in the found in the Cosens Lute Book and there is a lovely lute recording of the piece by Christopher Wilson on his CD: Rosa - Elizabethan Lute Music; Virgin Classics, 7590342. Wilson writes in the sleeve notes: “The title, Rosa, may refer to the romantic story of Rosamond Clifford, the mistress of Henry II, who according to legend was poisoned by the jealous Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.” The pavan was dedicated to Mary, Countess of Pembroke. 

I transcribed this piece from the reproduction of the lute manuscript in the CD sleeve notes in 1996. I decided that the best arrangement could be made by putting the piece up a fourth from E minor (a direct transcription from lute tablature to guitar) to A minor (notionally a tone above its sounding on the lute). This makes much better use of the upper registers of the guitar and preserves the full range of bass notes, though it demands a guitar with good resonance in its upper register. The piece needs to be played with a slow and steady metre. In my fingered version I make considerable use of open strings during runs which I think emphasises upper sting resonance. I have made some minor editorial alterations (correcting apparent errors in the tablature and revoicing some chords to make them playable on the guitar).

Rosamund [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Danyel Grade 07

An alternative version of the above piece from another manuscript (Dd.9.33, ff .48v-49r) where it appears in a different key, though I have arranged it in the same key. It is a sufficiently different version to be of interest in its own right. 

Fancy, A Duet can be found here


*the original being: "Mrs Ann Grene her Leaves bee Greene”.

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