Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Author: Kerry McCarthy

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Byrd’s reasons to sing

By Kerry McCarthy
The composer William Byrd published the first great English songbook (Psalms, Sonnets and Songs) in 1588. He began his book with an unusual and charming list: “Reasons briefly set down by the author to persuade everyone to learn to sing.” Byrd’s “reasons to sing” give us a glimpse into everyday musical life in the time of Shakespeare.

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