Dow Partbooks

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The Dow Partbooks (Christ Church, Mus. MSS 984–988) are a collection of five partbooks compiled by Robert Dow in Oxford around 1581–88. The collection includes mostly choral but also some instrumental pieces. At the end is an instrumental La gamba and a canon, both a 3 and apparently copied from Vincenzo Ruffo's book printed in Milan in 1564.

The partbooks are an important source for Tudor music, and the sole known source for some of the pieces. Robert Dow was a trained calligrapher and the books are unusually easy to read among manuscripts of the Tudor period. All works were copied by him, with the exception of numbers 53-4, which were copied by John Baldwin (a singing-man at St George's Chapel), and nos. 99-100, which were copied by an unidentified person. The numberings following no. 54 were added by several other people at a later time (19th century), in sequences that do not coincide perfectly.


No. Title Composer Comments
1. Lamentations. Heth. Peccatum peccavit Robert White (Heth, Teth, Iod, Caph, Lamed, Mem)
2. Miserere mei Deus Robert White
3. Christe qui lux es et dies, I Robert White
4. Christe qui lux es et dies, II Robert White
5. Christe qui lux es et dies, III Robert White
6. Manus tuae fecerunt me Robert White
7. Portio mea, Domine Robert White
8. Justus es, Domine Robert White
9a. Ne irascaris, Domine William Byrd
9b. Civitas sancti tui William Byrd Part 2 of no. 9
10. O Domine, adjuva me William Byrd
11a. Tribulationes civitatum William Byrd
11b. Timor et hebetudo William Byrd Part 2 of no. 11
11c. Nos enim pro peccatis William Byrd Part 3 of no. 11
12. Domine, exaudi orationem William Byrd
13. Domine, praestolamur William Byrd
14. Ad te clamamus Christopher Tye
15. Omnes gentes, plaudite manibus Christopher Tye
16. Esurientes implevit bonis John Sheppard
17. Angelus ad pastores ait Orlando di Lasso
18. Veni in hortum meum Orlando di Lasso
19. O salutaris hostia Thomas Tallis
20. Salvator mundi, I Thomas Tallis
21. Candidi facti sunt Thomas Tallis
22. Dum transisset Sabbatum Robert Johnson
23. Exaudiat te, Dominus Robert White
24. Tribulationem et dolorem inveni Alfonso Ferrabosco
25. Non me vincat, Deus meus Nicholas Strogers
26. Dum transisset Sabbatum, I John Taverner
27a. Tribulatio proxima est William Byrd
27b. Contumelias et terrores William Byrd Part 2 of no. 27
28. Appropinquet deprecatio mea Robert White
29. Christus resurgens John Tailer
30a. O quam gloriosum est regnum William Byrd
30b. Benedictio et claritas William Byrd Part 2 of no. 30
31a. Tristitia et anxietas William Byrd
31b. Sed tu, Domine William Byrd Part 2 of no. 31
32. Apparebit in finem William Byrd
33. Audivi vocem de caelo William Byrd
34. In resurrectione tua William Byrd
35. Retribue servo tuo Robert Parsons
36. Fac cum servo tuo William Byrd
37. Sive vigilem William Mundy
38. Christe qui lux es et dies, IV Robert White
39a. Deus venerunt gentes William Byrd
39b. Posuerunt morticinia William Byrd Part 2 of no. 39
40. Domine, tu jurasti William Byrd
41. Exsurge, quare obdormis William Byrd
42. O sacrum convivium Thomas Tallis
43. Salvator mundi, II Thomas Tallis
44. Effuderunt sanguinem William Byrd Part 3 of no. 39
45. Christe qui lux es et dies William Byrd
46. Laetentur caeli William Byrd
47. Facti sumus opprobrium William Byrd Part 4 of no. 39
48. Ave Maria Robert Parsons
49. Dum transisset Sabbatum Roose
50. Decantabat populus Anonymous
51. Mirabile mysterium Alfonso Ferrabosco
52. Miserere mei, Deus William Byrd
53. O bone Jesu Robert Parsons
54. Vestigia mea dirige Nathaniel Giles
55. Lord, who shall dwell Robert White
56. The Lord bless us and keep us Robert White
57. O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth William Byrd
58. Prevent us, O Lord William Byrd
59. How long shall mine enemies William Byrd
60. O that most rare breast William Byrd
61. For thee both kings William Byrd Part 2 of no. 60
62. The doleful debt William Byrd Part 3 of no. 60
63. Come to me, grief, for ever William Byrd
64. In fields abroad William Byrd
65. Where fancy fond William Byrd
66. Susanna fair William Byrd (1588)
67. While Phoebus used to dwell William Byrd
68. Why do I use my paper, ink and pen? William Byrd
69. La virginella William Byrd
70. I joy not in no earthly bliss William Byrd
71. Ah, golden hairs William Byrd
72. Lord, in thy wrath reprove me not William Byrd
73. Care for thy soul William Byrd
74. Browning William Byrd (instrumental)
75. Browning Clement Woodcock (instrumental)
76. Miserere Mallorie (instrumental)
77. Ascendo ad Patrem Jean Maillard attrib. Tye in MS
78. Rubem quem Christopher Tye (instrumental)
79. Susanne un jour Orlando di Lasso
80. Madonna somm'accorto Giacomo Fogliano attrib. Tye in MS
81. Pour vous aymer Philippe van Wilder
82. De la court Robert Parsons (instrumental)
83. De la court Robert Parsons (instrumental), Part 2 of no. 82
84. Je fille quand Dieu Philippe van Wilder
85. In nomine Robert Parsons (instrumental)
86. In nomine, V William Byrd (instrumental)
87. In nomine, I Nicholas Strogers (instrumental)
88. In nomine, III Nicholas Strogers (instrumental)
89. In nomine, II Nicholas Strogers (instrumental)
90. In nomine John Bull (instrumental)
91. In nomine Robert White (instrumental)
92. In nomine "Follow me" Christopher Tye (instrumental)
93. In nomine, I Clement Woodcock (instrumental)
94. If that a sinner's sighs William Byrd
95. If women could be fair William Byrd
96. Prostrate, O Lord, I lie William Byrd
97. Even from the depth unto the Lord William Byrd
98. When I was otherwise than now I am William Byrd
99. In nomine, I Brewster (instrumental)
100. O God, wherefore art thou absent Anonymous
101. When I look back Robert Parsons in Tenor partbook only (Mus. 986)
102. Come Holy Ghost / In nomine Anonymous
103. O Lord of whom I do depend / In nomine Anonymous
104. O Lord, turn not away thy face / In nomine Anonymous
105. When May is in his prime Anonymous
106. May makes the cheerful hive Anonymous Part 2 of no. 105
107. All ye that live on earth Anonymous Part 3 of no. 105
108. Ah, alas, you salt sea gods Richard Farrant
109. You gods that guide Richard Farrant Part 2 of no. 108
110. A doleful deadly pang Nicholas Strogers
111. My little sweet darling Anonymous
112. Ah, silly poor Joas Anonymous
113. In terrors trapped Anonymous
114. The saint I serve Anonymous
115. How can the tree but waste Anonymous
116. Alas, alack, my heart is woe Anonymous
117. Lulla, lullaby, my sweet little baby William Byrd (Refrain)
118. Be still, my blessed babe William Byrd (Verse)
119. O Lord, how vain William Byrd
120. My mind to me a kingdom is William Byrd
121. Who likes to love William Byrd
122. Enforced by love Robert Parsons
123. Mistrust not truth Anonymous
124. The day delayed Anonymous
125. Come tread the paths Anonymous
126. Farewell, my lords Anonymous Part 2 of no. 125
127. Triumph with pleasant melody William Byrd
128. What unacquainted cheerful voice William Byrd Part 2 of no. 127
129. My faults, O Christ William Byrd Part 3 of no. 127
130. Blessed is he that fears the Lord William Byrd
131. Blame I confess William Byrd
132. O Lord, within thy tabernacle William Byrd
133. How shall a young man William Byrd
134. Though Amaryllis dance in green William Byrd
135. La gamba Vincenzo Ruffo (instrumental, Mss. 984-6 only) attrib. "Francesco Mocheni" in MS.
136. Trinitas in unitate Vincenzo Ruffo in Tenor partbook only (Ms. 987)
137. Hey down, sing ye now after me Anonymous in Bassus partbook only (Ms. 988)
  • N.B. pieces are numbered sequentially in the table above, rather than following the numbering of the MS, which contains some errors and is inconsistent between the partbooks.


  • The Dow Partbooks, Oxford, Christ Church Mus. 984-988: facsimile with introduction by John Milsom (Oxford: DIAMM Publications, 2010)
  • D. Mateer: Oxford, Christ Church Music MSS 984–8; an Index and Commentary, RMARC, no.20 (1986–7), 1–18

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