Robert Jones (composer, around 1577)

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Robert Jones (* around 1577; † 1617 ) was an English lutenist and composer of the late Renaissance .

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Music historical research has not yet been able to gain any knowledge about the early period and the training of Robert Jones. In 1597 he earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Oxford . Three years later the first of his five books of lute songs ( ayres ) came out, and in 1601 a madrigal of his appeared in the collection The Triumphes of Oriana , edited by Thomas Morley ; In 1607 his own collection of madrigals was printed. In 1610, together with Philip Rosseter , Philip Klingham and Ralph Reeve, he was granted the privilege of founding and managing a theater on the grounds of his house near Puddle Wharf in the Blackfriars district of London . However, this permission was later revoked and the almost finished building had to be demolished again. A permit given on March 31, 1615 to found a youth theater at the same location could not be implemented. In 1614 Jones contributed three pieces to the collection The Tears or Lamentacions of a Sorrowful Soule by the composer Sir William Leighton (around 1565 - 1622). Moreover, little is known about the life of Robert Jones; only the names of the dedicatee, who are believed to be his patrons , have survived, for example Robert Earl of Salisbury, Henry Prince of Wales or Sir John Levinthorpe.


In the group of English composers who published ayres for voice and lute between 1597 and 1622 , Robert Jones was one of the most prolific. After John Dowland published his first book of this new genre in 1597, Jones followed three years later with his first book, the title page of which followed the Dowland pattern almost literally. In addition, he also adopted the Dowland format in such a way that he brings 21 pieces of the work in the manner of a table-book . These pieces could be performed both as solo songs with a lute and ad-libitum accompaniment with bass viol , and also with four voices without the instrumental accompaniment. In the poems on which his ayres are based, the respective authors (as with other composers) are not named; in a number of poems could the assignment to Thomas Campion (1567-1620), Sir John Davies (1569-1626), Francis Davison (around 1575 - around 1621), Walter Davison (active around 1602), Anthony Munday (1560-1633 ) and Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586).

The printed song collections of Robert Jones are afflicted with a large number of errors (missing or incorrect accidentals or various harmonic oddities); In 1927, the English musicologist EH Fellows demonstrated beyond any doubt that this was a typographical error because the pieces were set up for printing by an incompetent scribe. In addition, several pieces from Jones' oeuvre also show fundamental weaknesses such as a rather old-fashioned style, weak harmonic progressions, poor voice guidance or an ineffective use of the lute - weaknesses that have already been criticized by his contemporaries. His compositional strength lies in the invention of short and catchy melodies for his chants. The ayre "Farewel Dear Love" from his first book, in particular , became one of the most popular pieces of its time and appears in numerous later sources, including Dutch song collections.

Robert Jones' madrigal book has only survived in its cantus and bass parts; nine pieces of it, however, completely handwritten. The predominant influence of Thomas Morley can be clearly seen here, even if the compositional weaknesses, as in the lute songs, are visible here.


  • "The First Book of Songes or Ayres", 21 ayres for four voices, lute / orpheoron and bass viol, London 1600
  • "The Second Book of Songs and Ayres", 21 ayres for one voice, lute, bass viol and "lyra viol", London 1601
  • 1 madrigal for six parts in the collection "The Triumphes of Oriana", London 1601
  • "Ultimum Vale", 21 ayres for one, two or four voices, lute and bass viol, London 1605
  • "The First Set of Madrigals", 26 pieces for three to eight voices, London 1607
  • "A Musicall Dreame. Or the Fourth Book of Ayre", 21 ayres for one, two and four voices, lute and bass viol, London 1609
  • "The Muses Gardin for Delights, Or the Fifth Book of Ayres", 21 ayres for one voice, lute and bass viol, London 1610
  • 1 further ayre for voice and bass viol
  • 3 anthems for four and five voices and instruments in the collection "The Tears or Lamentacions of a Sorrowful Soule", London 1614
  • 9 further madrigals, incomplete in the collection, London 1607
  • "Sing joyfully", Anthem for five voices (incomplete)
  • "Padoana", two lute pieces by "Robyn Jhones"

See also

Literature (selection)

  • EH Fellowes: English Madrigal Verse 1588–1632 , Oxford 1920, revised by FW Sternfeld and David Greer 1967
  • EH Fellowes: The English Madrigal Composers , Oxford 1921, 2nd edition 1948
  • EH Fellowes: The Text of the Song-Books of Robert Jones. In: Music and Letters No. 8, 1927, pages 25 to 37
  • JQ Adams: A New Song by Robert Jones. In: Modern Language Quarterly No. 1, 1940, pages 45 to 48
  • David Greer: The Part-Songs of the English Lutenists. In: Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association No. 94, 1968, pp. 97-110
  • D. Teplow: Lyra Viol Accompaniment in Rober Jones' Second Book of Songs and Ayres (1601). In: Journal of the Viola de Gamba Society of America No. 23, 1986, pages 6-18
  • David Greer: Five Variations on "Farwel Dear Love". In: Festschrift FW Sternfeld, edited by J. Caldwell, E. Olleson and S. Wollenberg, Oxford 1990, pages 213 to 229.

Web links


  1. David Greer:  Jones, Robert. In: Ludwig Finscher (Hrsg.): The music in past and present . Second edition, personal section, volume 9 (Himmel - Kelz). Bärenreiter / Metzler, Kassel et al. 2003, ISBN 3-7618-1119-5 , Sp. 1183–1184 ( online edition , subscription required for full access)
  2. Marc Honegger, Günther Massenkeil (ed.): The great lexicon of music. Volume 4: Half a note - Kostelanetz. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau a. a. 1981, ISBN 3-451-18054-5 .
  3. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians , edited by Stanley Sadie, 2nd Edition, Volume 13, McMillan Publishers, London 2001, ISBN 0-333-60800-3