Whythorne Thomas

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Whythorne Thomas

Whythorne, Thomas, English lutenist, teacher, and composer; b. Ilminster, 1528; d. London, July 31(?), 1596. He attended Magdalen Coll. School, Oxford, and matriculated at Magdalen Coll., then was a servant and scholar to John Heyward, during which time he took up the virginals and lute and learned to write English verse; subsequently was in the service of the Duchess of Northumberland. After traveling on the Continent (c. 1553-55), he returned to England, where he was in the service of various patrons. In 1571 he was named master of music at the chapel of Archbishop Parker. His Songes for Three, Fower and Five Voyces (London, 1571) were the first in that genre to be publ. in England; later brought out Duos, or Songs for Two Voices (London, 1590). His autobiography (c. 1576), discovered in 1955, was publ. in Oxford in 1961 in his original phonetic spelling, and reprinted in modern spelling in 1963, ed. by J.M. Os-born.


P. Warlock, T. W.: An Unknown Elizabethan Composer (London, 1925); J. Jobling, A Critical Study and Partial Transcription of the Two Published Collections of T. W.(diss., Univ. of Sheffield, 1978).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire