Lute Book Lullaby – Sweet Was The Song the Virgin Sang

By vaughan • 7th December 2011 • Posted in: Manor House Music Recordings

The Manor House String Quartet included this haunting Elizabethan melody as part of their second collection of Christmas carols, entitled ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’. It is often called ‘Sweet Was the Song’ but is also known as the ‘Lute Book Lullaby’ as it originates from William Ballet’s collection of lute music which dates from 1600 and is now housed in the library at Trinity College in Dublin. It is an important collection that gives us an insight into the melodies popular in late Elizabethan England.

The arranger Vaughan Jones found that the main challenge in harmonising the melody was to try and not be overly influenced by all the previous harmonisations! Also to imagine that it was to be played by a small consort of viols rather than being sung by a choir. The melody has a dignity and power which is deeply moving and you can hear a sample of us playing it by following the above link.



Comments are closed.


Recent Posts


About Manor House Music

Manor House Music is a wedding string quartet and duo consisting of some of the UK’s finest musicians. Founded in 2005, and based on the borders of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, we’ve now performed for over 800 weddings, corporate events and private functions. We combine a high quality of musical performance with a large repertoire of dynamic arrangements and a desire to work closely with clients to ensure that every detail is just right for your event.



Tel: 07870 171194