The form of this little work is an ABCC quatrain, familiar from song forms and found in such pieces as Wilson’s Wilde
and The Mayden’s songe
. It is titled Corranto
in the FVB
in the second source, which contains only the first sixteen bars. These opening bars are possibly an arrangement by Byrd of a pre-existant instrumental song or dance tune. On the other hand, the second half is clearly his own variation on this melody and is designed specifically for keyboard. It is played here simply on the 4’ stop of the harpsichord (at the upper octave), giving it a lightness well suited to its texture.
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999