John Johnson (c1545 - 1594) and Robert Johnson (1583 - 1633)

John Johnson (c1545 - 1594) and Robert Johnson (1583 - 1633)

John Johnson was an English lutenist and composer; appointed to the Queen’s Musick at the court of Elizabeth I in 1579. His compositions are found in both English and continental sources, indicating that his music was very popular. Stylistically his music shows both English and Italian influences and is characteristic of the earlier part of the English golden age. More about…

[Pieces by John Johnson are in preparation and will be posted in due course.]


Robert Johnson was John’s son He followed his father as both lutenist and composer. He was appointed a lutenist to King James I in 1604 and held this post until his death. More about…

Johnson’s surviving solo lute music is found in some of the later manuscript sources and seems to be largely from the period 1600–15. These pieces are mostly written for 9 or 10 course lutes and his style was perhaps continued and developed by the lesser-known lutenists
Cuthbert Hely and John Wilson after 1625. These three were among the last English lute composers to make use of what was referred to as 'viel ton' (renaissance tuning) before the adoption of new lute tunings in England during the 1630s (now referred to as transitional and baroque tunings).

Almayne [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Grade 07
This almayne is found in the Margaret Board Lute Book

Fantasia Grade 09 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML]
From the
Cherbury Lute Book

The Noble Men’s Masque Grade 06 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML]
Thie piece is a
Masque tune and appears in two sources, the ML Lute Book (BL Add.MS 38539) where it is entitled The Noble Man and is without divisions, and a more complete version where the title reads: the noble menes mask tune in CUL Dd.4.22. Though it is anonymous in both sources Robinson (2005) and (2020) attributes it to Robert Johnson as being among the music he is known to have composed for masques. The original sources indicate repeats which I have not included - I leave it to the player to repeat ad lib.

Pavan 02 Grade 08 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML]
From the
Cherbury Lute Book

Galliard - My Lady Mildmay’s Delight Grade 06 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML]
From the
Folger Manuscript

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