Henry VIII Music
Henry VIII Music
King Henry VIII was a talented and skilful musician. The ability to play musical instruments and perform the latest dances were essential skills at the royal court. The introduction of new musical instruments during the period of the Tudors produced a much more refined sound than had been produced during the early Middle Ages. During the Tudor period music was being taught in schools and Universities and King Henry VIII would have received the best in musical education. He would have enjoyed the opportunity to demonstrate his skills in music and gained a reputation as a good singer, musician and composer. The following quote illustrates how King Henry VIII enjoyed taking the opportunity to sing:
"For the Kynge hime self beinge miche delited to synge, and Sir Peter Carewe havinge a pleasaunte voyce, the Kynge woulde very often use hyme to synge with hime certeyne songes they called fremen songs,
as namely, 'By the bancke as I lay' and 'As I walked the wode so wylde'."
His love of music prompted King Henry VIII to make his royal court a center of musical culture which both English and foreign musicians were encouraged to attend. His centre of musical culture and the influx of foreign composers and musicians led to the development of music during the Renaissance era and experimentation with various combinations of musical instruments which was the basis for our modern orchestras.
Henry VIII Music - Musical Instruments
King Henry VIII owned and played a vast number of musical instruments which included:
- 78 Flutes
- 76 Recorders
- 10 trombones
- 14 trumpets
- 5 bagpipes
King Henry VIII was known to have composed masses, although these have now been lost, and ballads.
Henry VIII Music - The Chapel Royal
The religious needs of King Henry VIII were served by members of the 'Chapel Royal' which consisted of clergy, choristers, clerks and musicians. The institution of the Chapel Royal dated back to 1135. In 1520 the Chapel Royal accompanied King Henry VIII to his historic meeting with King Francis I of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The number of musicians who served Henry in the Chapel Royal numbered 79. Many of these Chapel Royal Musicians also accompanied King Henry on his processions through England.
Henry VIII Music - Greensleeves
King Henry VIII is most often associated with the traditional English song Greensleeves. There has been considerable debate regarding whether King Henry was the composer of the lyrics and music and this relates to the legend that he wrote the words and lyrics of the song for Anne Boleyn (1502-1536) by King Henry VIII (1491-1547) during their turbulent courtship. The song did date back to the Tudor era it is possible that King Henry was the composer or that King Henry added his own lyrics to an existing tune which was a perfectly acceptable practice of the time. The following links provide comprehensive facts and information about King Henry VIII and Greensleeves.
Tudor Dance Music
Music played a huge part in Tudor court life. Dancing was a form of exercise enjoyed by the Tudor royal family and practised every morning. Dancing was accompanied by the Court musicians. Tudor dances were highly sophisticated and stately with intricate steps, although the old favorite English country dances from the Middle Ages were still popular. Foreign dances were introduced as many Tudors travellled abroad and once again foreign musicians were encouraged to attend the court of King Henry VIII. Many of the Court dances were performed as couples but the suggestive Tudor court dance called the Volt was the only dance which allowed the dancers to embrace closely. Dances which would have been enjoyed by King Henry VIII and the royal court would have included the Pavane, Cinque Pas, Sinkapace, Galliard, Almain, Volt, Gavotte, Saraband, Courant, Tourdion, Saltarella and the Canary dances.
Henry VIII Music
Each section of this Tudors website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about the music of King Henry VIII. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of the Tudors!