Giles Farnaby (c.1563 – November 1640) was an English composer and virginalist of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
He was born about 1563, perhaps in Truro, Cornwall, England or near London. His father, Thomas, was a Citizen and Joyner of London. It was his cousin Nicholas Farnaby (c. 1560–1630), who may have turned him to music. Nicholas was a virginal maker, at this time a generic word that included the entire family of plucked keyboard instruments: the harpsichord, virginal, muselar and doubtless the clavichord, and it is for these instruments that Farnaby's compositions are best known. Like his father however, Giles trained as a joiner or cabinet-maker, starting his apprenticeship in about 1583, and gave this trade as his occupation for most of his life.
In spite of his social background, hardly suited at this time to a university education, he graduated from Christ Church, Oxford on 7 July 1592, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in music. This was the very same day that John Bull, his eminent fellow composer to be, obtained his degree: Bull evidently knew Farnaby, and influenced his musical style considerably.
In 1602 the family moved to Aisthorpe in Lincolnshire, where they remained until at least 1610. Farnaby obtained a position in the household of Sir Nicholas Saunderson of Fillingham, as music teacher to his children. By 1614 he had returned to London, and died there in 1640.
Farnaby is considered one of the great English virginalists, together with William Byrd, John Bull, Orlando Gibbons, Peter Philips and Thomas Tomkins among others. Unlike them however, he is the only one not to have been a professional musician.
His best known works are included in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, which contains 52 of his pieces.
There seem to be no photos of him, but a few photos of the arranger, Hugh McAmis are attached, as well as this score, and the "original" virginal score of the piece as well.
Please see the First Comment for Musical Notes.