Byrd, William, 1543–1623, English composer, organist at Lincoln Cathedral and, jointly with Tallis, at the Chapel Royal. Although Roman Catholic, he composed anthems and services for the English Church in addition to his great Roman masses and Latin motets. He was esteemed by his contemporaries and was favored by Queen Elizabeth I, who, in 1575, granted to Byrd and Tallis a patent for the exclusive printing and selling of music. Byrd also composed instrumental music.
See studies by E. H. Fellowes (2d ed. 1948), O. W. Neighbor (1978), and J. Kerman (1981).
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