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date: 20 February 2020

Morley, Thomas locked

  • revised by Philip Brett
  • Tessa Murray


(b Norwich, 1557 or 1558; d London, early Oct 1602). English composer, editor, theorist, publisher and organist. He was the most influential figure, as writer and editor as well as composer, in the Elizabethan vogue for the Italian madrigal, which reached its peak during the eight years in which his works first appeared in print (1593–1601). Although a taste for madrigalian music can be discerned in England for a much longer period, it was Morley who appears to have been 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. In much the same way, it was Morley who provided the impetus for a rapid expansion in the production of printed secular music in London during the last decade of the 16th century....

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