Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The entire extant repertoire of unpublished music for the lyra viol in consort with other instruments exists in eight manuscripts which provide the focus for this investigation of mid-seventeenth-century English music. This repertoire, which dates from the late 1630s until the early 1660s, is written for an ensemble which includes a treble instrument, a lyra viol, bass viol, and either a theorbo or harpsichord. Historical background for this period, found in Chapter I, provides a context for the study of the music. The transition in musical style during this period reflects the changes in the political, economic, and social structure. The five composers of these suites along with some information about their activities and their major works are discussed in Chapter II. Descriptions of the manuscripts and the location of each is also included here. Chapter III contains the instrumentation of the consort, beginning with a description of the lyra viol, its history, and its literature. Questions relating to performance practices are raised, specifically those concerning the roles of the treble and the continuo instruments. In Chapter IV the dances and ayres which are found in the suites are described. The organization of the suites, the lyra viol tunings, and the relationship of the tunings with the keys of the suites are also included. The musical elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and texture highlight the examination of the compositional style of these suites in Chapter V. The lyra viol suites have been studied in the context of music for other seventeenth century ensembles. While many similarities can be found, the presence of the lyra viol as a harmonic and melodic instrument provides a texture which is unique to this ensemble.