About the Music
John Playford (1623-1686) ran a successful music publishing business, and is best known for his famous publication The English Dancing Master. The text for the tune is as follows:
“All in a garden green two lovers sat at ease,
Withdrawn where they could scarce be seen among the leafy trees.
They long had loved y-fair and no longer than true-ly
In that time of year comes twixt May and July.”
Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) was an organist and court musician. Having been raised in a very religious family, by far most of his compostiions were sacred pieces. “Spagnoletta” is one of the exceptions, and is found in his renowned collection titled Terpsichhore.
Thomas Morley (1557-1603), both an editor and organist, was a contemporary of Shakespeare’s. His setting of Shakespeare’s famous poem, “It Was a Lover and His Lass” may have been played in Shakespeare’s theatrical performances, though that has never been proven. The text goes:
“It was a lover and his lass
with a hey and a ho, and a hey nomino
that oe’r the cornfield did pass
in springtime, the only pretty ring time
when birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding
Sweety lovers love the spring.”
All of these arrangements are based on the original tunes and settings, filled out with countermelodies and the use of harmonic variation. The additions are intended to stay in the spirit of the original music, but make no claim as to true stylistic accuracy.