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Only the third book of English songs ever known to have been published, Psalmes, Sonets & Songs appeared thirteen years after Byrd’s first collaborative) venture into print with the Cantiones of 1575. In contrast to the earlier production, it was a considerable success, being reprinted several times. Its contents, consisting mainly of consort songs adapted for five voices, were perhaps intended to capitalise on the new vogue for the madrigal. Included in the prefatory matter are the composer’s well-known reasons for ‘every one to learne to singe’. Two funeral songs of Sir Philip Sidney and the famous Lullaby, for which the collection acquired the title of ‘Byrd’s Lullaby’, are to be found among the 35 songs.


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