Composition - - American Recorder Society
The greedy Hawk with sudden sight of lure
By William Byrd (1540-1623)
From Songs of Sundrie Natures (London, 1589)
In his preface to his second song collection Byrd writes that he is “desirous to delight thee with variety, whereof (in my opinion) no science is more plentifully adorned than music.” The collection includes music for three, four, five and six parts composed in a variety of styles.  
The Greedy Hawk text uses the metaphor of the soaring hawk striking its prey to warn us of being taken. It is a classic example of Byrd’s perfectly balanced and beautiful part writing.

Difficulty: Intermediate level, moderately challenging for those less familiar with Renaissance rhythms.
  • What to play: S A T
  • The piece should ideally be felt with the whole note as the pulse at mm. 45 or with the half-note at 90.
  • Recording has a 2 bar intro.
  • Note: the original had no bar lines. Follow the text and commas for breaths.
-- Lawrence Zukof
Play-along files recorded by Lawrence Zukof, supported by a grant from the Recorder Artist Relief Fund.

Listen to all parts
No soprano - you play soprano
No alto - you play alto
No tenor - you play tenor
No. of Recorder Parts:
Play-alongs, Arrangements and Transcriptions
Date Added:
Recorded Accompaniment, Renaissance/Baroque/Classical