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Ref No IE TCD MS 410
Former Shelf Marks D. 3. 30 i; D. 3. 30 ii; A.56
Title The Dallis lute book; the Dublin Virginal.
Creation Dates [?1570-1583]
Extent And Medium 1 vol; 192x153mm; 338 pp
Level Of Description Collection
Author Thomas Dallis, (fl.1583-1598) composer
Admin Biographical History Thomas Dallis (fl.1583-1598) taught at Trinity College Cambridge.
Scope And Content Much of the following his information on the Dallis lute book is from Ward (1967) and Goodwin (1996) see publication note, below.

The Dallis Lute Book (MS 410 pp 1- 270):

This is one of the best surviving sources of lute songs that would have been heard prior to the 1590s.This manuscript is associated with Thomas Dallis due to the Latin inscription on p. 12 which may be translated as 'I began on August 9 with Mr Thomas Dallis as my preceptor. Cambridge 1583'. Nothing is known of the scribe(s).

The music is written in French tablature notation on 254 pages, most of which have at least four six-line staves. The pages as well as the repertory of the manuscript have been divided into Continental and English sections; the manuscript is perhaps best characterised as a collection of the most popular works from the 1560s to the 1580s. The composers represented in the manuscript are Philips, Newman, Brewster, Cotton, Robert Parsons, Nicholas Strogers, Thoman Mudd/Wudd, John Johnston, and William Byrd all of whom were active before or during the 1580s.

It is based on continental printed works and English tunes, with many pieces based on passamezzo patterns, religious pieces (including fourteen Psalm settings), and pieces attributed to Thomas Dallis. It contains 288 compositions (228 complete works), 198 of them for lute solo (of which nearly 150 are dances, mainly passamezzos, pavans and galliards). There are also some lute songs, sacred pieces, chansons and madrigals. Not all of the songs are texted.
p 26: Greenwillow: All in a greane willowe
pp 32-34: O passi sparsi ; O pensier vaghie pronti
pp 49-50: Fortune is now my fo: Fortune is now my fo Sometime she was not soe
p 52: Where righteousness doth say: Where righteousness doth say Lord for my sinnefull part…
pp 172-173: My swete babi; 'My little sweet darling my comfort and joy… ' or My little sweet darling
p 176: Chi in Donna Bella: Chi in Donna Bella loca losuo
p 177: Psalm 128
pp 185-186: But this and then no more: But this and then no more it is my laste and all
pp 202-203, 212: O Heavenly God: P heavenly God o faether deare
pp204-207: In Youthfull Yares; In youthfull yars when first my young desires
p 208: Man is blessed|: Man is blessed that lyves in rest
p 210: Cur Mundus Militat: Cur mundus militat sub vana gloria
p 209, 233-234: Fortune ys fickle: Fortune ys fickle and wonderful tickle …
p 216: Vola Vola Pensier: Vola Vola Pensier fuor del miopetto

The Dublin Virginal (MS 410 pp 271-338):

The Dublin virginal manuscript came from the collection of Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656), who is closely associated with the early history of Trinity College Library. The manuscript was compiled about 1570, and is one of the earliest extant collections of English secular keyboard music, pre-dating My Ladye Nevells Booke by about twenty years. Almost all of the 30 pieces it contains are dances, and only one is ascribed - a pavan by a 'Mastyre Taylere' (perhaps the John Taylor who was organist of Westminster Abbey, 1562-70). The manuscript shows clear signs of actual use, and contains important evidence relating to the ornamentation of early keyboard music.

The two volumes were bound together in the late 17th/18th century. There is no evidence that the Dallis lute book belonged to Ussher.

Use this link to access the digitised version of the item in the Library's Digital Collections repository:


Phyiscal Description Paper, 270 pp. The previous spine has 'Musical lessons. Dallis.' in gilt.
Custodial History P 12 bears the inscription 'Incepi nono Augusti praeceptore Mro Thoma Dallis. Cantabrigiae 1583'.
Binding Note Contemporary dark brown leather. Restored.
Access Conditions Please contact
Copyright Please contact
Mgt Group Art, music & architecture
Language English
Public Note H. Macauley Fitzgibbon, 'The Lute Books of Ballet and Dallis', in Music & Letters, XI(91930)
Arthur Byler, Italian currents in the popular music of England in the sixteenth century, unpubl. PhD dissertation. (U of Chicago, 19152)
CM Simpson, The British broadside ballad and its music (Rutgers U.P. 1966).
Christopher Goodwin,The English lute song before Dowland: 1 Songs from the Dallis manuscript. (Lute Society Music editions 1996)
John Ward, The Dublin virginal manuscript, 3rd edition (London: Schott, 1983).
Desmond Hunter, 'The Dublin virginal manuscript: new perspectives on virginalist ornamentation', Early music February 2002 pp 68-80.
David Lumsden, An anthology of English lute music (16th century), selected, transcribed and edited with a foreword by Thurston Dart (London, 1954)
David Lumsden, 'The sources of English lute music, 1540-1620', unpubl. PhD diss (Cambridge U, 1955) 3 vols
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