Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary Composer Biographies

Giles Farnaby

Born: 1560 in Truro, Cornwall, England
Died: 1640 in London, England
Nationality: English
Era: Renaissance
Main genre: Madrigals and Psalm tunes
Main works:
High Dutch Tune
His Humour
Farnaby’s Dreame
A Toy
Brief biography:

Giles Farnaby was born in 1560 in Truro, Cornwall, England, and died in November of 1640 in London, England. His father, Thomas, was a scholar and schoolmaster. It was his cousin, Nicholas, who turned him to music. Nicholas was a virginal maker (a small, rectangular, legless harpsichord popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.). it is for his writing for this instrument that Farnaby is most well known. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 1592 receiving a bachelor’s degree in music. His best known works were for the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, for which he composed 52 pieces. His son, Richard, also contributed 4 pieces. In addition to his music for the virginal, Farnaby also composed madrigals, canzonets and psalms.

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