Morley contributed significantly to the development of the English madrigal, imitated from Italian models. He was probably a pupil of William Byrd, to whom he dedicated his popular book A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke, published in 1597. Morley was employed at St. Paul's in London and became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1592, publishing his first set of part-songs in 1593. He was later concerned in printing and publishing music, for which he was granted a share in the monopoly in 1598.
Morley wrote music for the liturgy of the Church of England, service settings, psalm settings and a number of Latin motets, under the influence of Byrd and a possible indication of his own religious sympathies at the time. Of particular interest is the setting of the De profundis, Out of the deep, in a second setting as a verse anthem, a peculiarly English form derived from the consort song of the period, involving the contrast of solo voices with the choir, with instrumental accompaniment from the organ or other groups of instruments.
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