Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Probably a native of Beverley in Yorkshire, Merbecke appears to have been a boy chorister at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and was employed as an organist there from about 1541. Two years later he was convicted with three others of heresy and sentenced to the stake, but received a pardon owing to the intervention of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. An English Concordance of the Bible which Marbeck had been preparing was however confiscated and destroyed. A later version of this work, the first of its kind in English, was published in 1550 with a dedication to Edward VI.
In the same year Marbeck published his Booke of Common Praier Noted, intended to provide for musical uniformity in the use of the First Prayer Book of Edward VI. This set the liturgy to semi-rhythmical melodies partly adapted from Gregorian chant; it was rendered obsolete when the Prayer Book was revised in 1552. It was however rediscovered in the 19th century, and adaptations for the 1662 liturgy are still in use. Marbeck wrote several devotional and controversial works of a strongly Calvinistic character, and a number of his musical compositions are preserved in manuscript in the British Library, and at Oxford and Cambridge. He died, probably while still organist at Windsor, about 1585.
- Robin A. Leaver: "Marbeck, John", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 8 March 2005), http://www.grovemusic.com
- David Mateer, "Marbeck , John (c.1505-1585?)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/18026 (accessed 8 March 2005)
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