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Thomas Ravenscroft (c. 1588 – 1635) was an English musician, theorist and editor, notable as a composer of rounds and catches, and especially for compiling collections of British folk music.

Little is known of Ravenscroft's early life. He probably sang in the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral from 1594, when a Thomas Raniscroft was listed on the choir rolls and remained there until 1600 under the directorship of Thomas Giles. He received his bachelor's degree in 1605 from Cambridge.

Ravenscroft's principal contributions are his collections of folk music, including catches, rounds, street cries, vendor songs, "freeman's songs" and other anonymous music, in three collections: Pammelia (1609), Deuteromelia or The Seconde Part of Musicks Melodie (1609) and Melismata (1611), which contains one of the best-known works in his collections, The Three Ravens. Some of the music he compiled has acquired extraordinary fame, though his name is rarely associated with the music; for example "Three Blind Mice" first appears in Deuteromelia. He also published a metrical psalter (The Whole Booke of Psalmes) in 1621. As a composer, his works are mostly forgotten but include 11 anthems, 3 motets for five voices and 4 fantasias for viols.

As a writer, he wrote two treatises on music theory: A Briefe Discourse of the True (but Neglected) Use of Charact'ring the Degrees (London, 1614), and A Treatise of Musick, which remains in manuscript (unpublished).

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Discography

Album

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1986 Part Songs, Englische Kneipenlieder: Country Pastimes and Citie Conceits Pro Cantione Antiqua 1
1988 How the World Wags The City Waites 2
1996 17th & 18th Century Songs & Catches The Hilliard Ensemble 1
1996 Johnny, Cock thy Beaver The Dufay Collective 1
2003 Christmas King’s Singers 1
2007 The Elfin Knight: Ballads and Dances Joel Frederiksen, Ensemble Phoenix Munich 2
2010 A Musical Panorama Of Shakespeare's England Alfred Deller 1
2010 BBC Music, Volume 19, Number 3: A Choral Christmas Rodolfus Choir 1
2011 Nymphidia: The Court of Faerie Pantagruel, John Dowland, John Bennet & John Playford 1
2011 Nymphidia - The Court Of Faerie Ensemble Pantagruel 1
Música Medieval Y Renacentista Various Artists 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1985 The Singing Club Various Artists 2
1992 Watkins Ale: Music of the English Renaissance (The Baltimore Consort) The Baltimore Consort 1
2001 From Winter’s Stillness Various Artists 1
2001 The Essential Emma Kirkby Emma Kirkby 1
2013 Das Alte Werk - 50 CD Collection Various Artists 1
The Complete Vanguard Recordings, Volume 1: Folk Songs and Ballads Alfred Deller & The Deller Consort 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
Australian InterVarsity Choral Festivals, The First 50 Years Australian Intervarsity Choral Festival Choir 1

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