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William Brade

William Brade (1560 – February 26, 1630) was an English composer, violinist, and viol player of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras, mainly active in northern Germany. Little is known about his early life, and around 1590 he left England to pursue a musical career in Germany. He switched employments often between the various courts in north Germany and Denmark. He among other served at the Court in Copenhagen for three periods and a total of approx. 11 years as the leader of Christian IV´s viol players. All of Brade's surviving music is for string instruments, and most is for dancing. The earlier music, for example in his collection published in 1609 in Hamburg, is based on English models. Later he began to work with Italian models, writing the first known canzona by an Englishman; in addition he began to arrange his dances into suites, a practice which would become common during the Baroque era. Some of the dances he wrote were in forms previously unknown in Germany (for example the branle, maschera, and volta). Stylistically, his music is more homophonic than much of the music by his English contemporaries, who still preferred a polyphonic idiom. As a performer, he was famous for his fine technique; he was one of the most famous early violinists, and highly regarded in Germany. Several pieces by other composers were published in Hamburg as tributes to him after his death.