by Risa Suzuki

Thomas Tallis was an English composer and musician during the Reformation era. He was born in around 1505 and died in 1585. His life of music started from a choirboy. He learned music there and became an organist of the Benedictine priory of Dover. The environment he raised up was the tradition of Roman Catholic, and he composed Latin liturgical music in his early life as a composer. He produced many Latin motets and votive antiphons.

However, he became one of the first composers who wrote new protestant liturgical anthems in English. One of these songs, If ye love me, is very popular. Tallis and William Byrd were close friends as they shared their work of composing church music. He wrote anthems and canticles during the formative years of the Protestant rite (1549–53), and it is one of the essential things in his work. Tallis married Joan in about 1552.

Also, Thomas Tallis served Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary Tudor, and Elizabeth I. In Elizabeth I’s time, he worked as an organist with his close friend, William Byrd.


To learn more about the Reformation in England, visit: England


Thomas came to the 21st century! I made a robe and a mustache to become Thomas. Material: tablecloth ($3) and sewing thread



Arnold, Denis, and Milsom, John. “Tallis, Thomas.” The Oxford Companion to Music.: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Lehmberg, Stanford E. “Tallis, Thomas.” The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation.: Oxford University Press, 1996.

McCarthy, Kerry. “A late anthem by Tallis.” Early Music 44, no. 2 (May 2016): 191-195. Humanities International Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 26, 2017).

Milsom, John. “Tallis, Thomas circa 1505 – 1585.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (January 2010): 1. Biography Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed September 26, 2017).

Milsom, John. “Tallis, the Parker psalter, and some known unknowns.” Early Music 44, no. 2 (May 2016): 207-218. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 26, 2017).

Image of Tallis:

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, “Thomas Tallis,” Encyclopædia Britannica, April 24, 2017. Accessed October 3, 2017.