Farrant [Farunt], Daniel
- Peter Holman
(bc1575; bur. Greenwich, July 24, 1651). English composer, string player and instrument maker. He may have been the son of Richard Farrant, Master of the Choristers at St George’s Chapel, Windsor and Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal. A birthdate of about 1575 would make Daniel Farrant a contemporary of John Coprario and Alfonso Ferrabosco II, who John Playford mentioned with Farrant in 1661 as ‘The First Authors of Inventing and Setting Lessons’ for lyra viol. On 23 November 1607 Farrant was given a place in the royal violin band at the court of James I. He is listed as a player of the viol in several documents of 1624 and 1625.
Farrant was an instrument maker as well as a player. On 27 February 1626 he was paid £109 for six ‘Artificiall Instruments’ ‘made and finished’ for royal service. Playford wrote that he was ‘a person of such ingenuity for his several rare inventions of instruments, as the Poliphant and the Stump, which were strung with wire’ and ‘a lyra viol, to be strung with lute strings and wire strings, the one above the other’. This cannot be taken at face value since Farrant would have been too young to have invented the poliphant or poliphon, which (Playford claimed elsewhere) Queen Elizabeth played, and at least three other individuals are connected with the invention of the lyra viol with sympathetic metal strings – the ancestor of the baryton. Nevertheless, it is likely that Farrant was involved in some way with the development of novel types of stringed instruments in Jacobean England....