Other UK Composers   

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] [XML] Bulman Grade 07


Michael Cavendish (c1565-1628) was a member of the British nobility who published a volume of lute songs and madrigals (1598) and may be the composer of a few solo pieces found in lute MSS, including this Galliard:

Galliard (Cosens) [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Grade 06
Cosens f.42


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 edition 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] [XML] Hely 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 Hollis I can find no information about this musician whose name appears as the composer of a single pavan in the Cosens Lute Book. The title of the piece, written by the scribe in flowing Chancery script, looks like ‘John Blundcuills Last Farewell’ but, comparing the ‘c’ with the two letters ‘e’ in ‘Farewell’ and the ‘u’ with the ‘v’ in the word ‘ pavan’ that appears throughout the manuscript I think the name is more likely to be ‘Blundevill’  This is supported by Soenmez (1993) who suggests that ‘ Blundcuill' it is cognate with the name ‘Blundeville’ that was fairly well-known in mediaeval and renaissance England. I notice also that Anthony Rooley (1975) evidently reached the same conclusion in compiling his 2010 CD of music from the Cosens Lute Book so I will adopt his usage and refer to the rather fine pavan as:

John Blundeville’s Last Farewell [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Hollis Grade 07

The identity of John Blundeville is also unknown, though it seems likely that he was a musician, so that this piece can be regarded as a lament by one musician for another. There is evidence of one John Blundevile (or possibly two, perhaps father and son) as a musician in the 17th century records of several cathedrals (Ashbee & Lasocki,1998).  However their likely dates are too late for the Hollis piece which must have been composed before 1610. So perhaps this John Blundeville is an ancestor of those that are recorded in cathedral records.


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

Mr Lawes Flat Tune [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Lawes 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] [XML] Lawes Grade 05
This is a transcription of a keyboard piece found in the Henry Playford’s collection Musick’s Handmaid (1678).


Ambrose Lupo
Ambrose Lupo was probably born in Milan and died in London in1591. He was a member of a large musical family active in Italy and later in England. He served in the English court as a string player from 1540 until his death; in 1590 he was described as ‘one of the eldest’ of the group. He is thought to be the author of a number of the pieces ascribed to ‘Ambrose’ in English lute sources (Craig-McFeely 2000, Holman 2001A ).

Pavan [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Lupo Grade 07


Newman (first name and biographical details unknown).

Fansye [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Newman 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


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] [XML] Peerson Grade 08

The Fall of the Leaf [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Peerson 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] [XML] Peerson Grade 08
The John Dowland version of this piece is perhaps more familiar to guitarists and lutenists.

The Primrose [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Peerson Grade 07 


Edward Pierce (or Pearce)
Edward Pierce c 1560 -1612) was an English church musician and composer attached to Canterbury Cathedral and later the Chapel Royal. He was known as a composer for the lute and other instruments. However little of his music survives, this galliard being one of only three lute pieces. (Dart, Scott, & Bowers, 2001)

Galliard [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Pierce Grade 06


Thomas Smyth
I have been unable to find anything about Thomas Smyth who is represented in the lute literature only by five piece in the Cosens Lute Book:

Pavan [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Smyth Grade 05
Cosens f.34v

Galliard 1 [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Smyth Grade 04
Cosens f.35a

Galliard 2 [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Smyth Grade 07
Cosens f.35b

Galliard 3 [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Smyth Grade 07
Cosens f.47

Galliard 4 [PDF] [MXL] [MIDI] Smyth Grade 06
Cosens f.50r

As with many lute manuscript attributions the naming of Thomas Smyth as the originator of all these pieces is somewhat speculative. Galliard 3 has the name Thos. Smyth attached; the Pavan and Galliards 1 and 2 are labelled TS but the inscription following Galliard 4 is less clear, but I’m accepting the attribution given by John Robinson in Lute News 45. 


Thomas Vautor
Thought to be a musician in the employ of the Duke of Buckingham (Robinson 1998); he published a book of songs in 1619

Allemande [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Vautor Grade 05
Cosens f.47v


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).
Daphne and Corridon [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Whitfield Grade 08
Pickering Lute Book f.35v
The English Hunt's Up [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Whitfield Grade 05
Pickering Lute Book f.32b
Mr. Strangs Gregory Hitts [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Whitfield Grade 07
CUL Dd.2.11 f.10c


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