|1530s . 1540s in music . 1550s|
|Other events: 1540s . Music timeline|
The decade of the 1540s in music (years 1540–1549) involved some significant compositions.
- 4 April – Cristobal Morales leaves the position of master of the choristers at the Chapel of the Papal Basilica in St. Peter's, Rome
- 23 April – Thomas Tallis loses his job at Waltham Abbey due to the Dissolution of the Monasteries
- 27 April – Gioseffo Zarlino is elected capellini and mansionario of the Scuola di San Francesco in Chioggia
- 1 May – Ambrose Lupo is taken on as a musician and composer at the court of Henry VIII
- 30 December – Jacques Arcadelt is appointed maestro di cappella at the Sistine chapel in Rome
- December – Nicolas Gombert dismissed from his position at the court chapel of the Emperor, Charles V
- 3 April – Francisco Guerrero joined the Seville Cathedral choir as a contralto
- 1543: Thomas Tallis becomes a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in England.
- 20 July Tielman Susato is granted a three-year privilege to print music in the Netherlands.
- 28 October Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina appointed organist at San Agapito Church, Palestrina
- 1 May Bartolomeo de Escobedo appointed maestro di cappella at the chapel of the Papal Basilica at St Peter's in Rome.
- 1 May Cristobal Morales was granted 10 months leave from the Papal Chapel in Rome. He never returned.
- 31 August Cristobal Morales succeeded Andres de Torrentes as maestro di capilla at Toledo Cathedral.
- 6 May Waclaw of Szamotuly joined the Chapel Royal of Sigismund II Augustus of Poland in Vilnius.
- 28 May Jacques Arcadelt reappointed maestro di cappella at the Sistine chapel.
- 12 June Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina marries Lucrezia de Goris in his home town of Palestrina, Lazio
- 9 August Cristobal Morales leaves the position of maestro di cappella at Toledo Cathedral.
- Bologna's first public theatre, the Teatro Della Sala, was opened. It burned down in 1623.
- 1548 Francois Roussel appointed maestro di cappella at St. Peter's, Rome
- 1549 Juan Francisco de Penalosa succeeded Francisca Sacedo as principal organist of Toledo Cathedral
- Balint Bakfark appointed court lutenist to King Sigismund Augustus of Poland
- 1548: Staatskapelle Dresden formed in Saxony.
- Hans Neusidler – Ein newes Lautenbüchlein, a collection of lute music
- Sebald Heyden – De arte canendi, third installment, important treatise on singing
- Alfonso dalla Viola – Il secondo libro di madrigali (Ferrara)
- Claudio Veggio – Madrigali a quattro voci, published in Venice
- Gian Domenico del Giovane da Nola – Canzone villanesche a3, books 1 and 2.
- Martin Agricola – Book of Protestant hymns Sangbuchlein, published in Wittenberg.
- Jhan Gero – Il Primo Libro de Madrigali Italiani et Canzoni Francese a due voci, published in Venice.
- Jacques Arcadelt – First book of madrigals a3.
- Pierre Certon – Second Book of Motets, Paris: Attaignant
- Domenico Maria Ferrabosco – First book of madrigals a4.
- Silvestro Ganassi dal Fontego – Regola rubertina, Venice
- Cipriano de Rore – First book of madrigals a5.
- Benedictus Appenzeller – collection of chansons for 4 voices, Des Chansons a Quattre Parties.
- Silvestro Ganassi dal Fontego – Lettione seconda [=second book of Regola rubertina], Venice
- Sebastian z Felsztyna – Directiones musicae ad cathedralis ecclesia premislensis usum, Kraków
- Balthasar Resinarius – Responsorium numero orctoginta de tempore et festis...libri duo
- Hans Neusidler – three books of lute music: Das erst Buch: ein newes Lautenbüchlein, Das ander Buch: ein new künstlich Lautten Buch, and Das dritt Buch: ein new künstlich Lauten Buch.
- Jacques Arcadelt – Il Quinto Libro di Madrigali for 4 voices published in Venice.
- Jacquet de Berchem – "Ala Dolc'ombra de le Belle Frondi" published by Antonio Gardano in Venice.
- Francesco Corteccia – Libro Primo de Madrigali a Quattro Voce published by Girolamo Scotto in Venice.
- Georg Rhau – Newe Deudsche Geistliche Gesenge published in Wittemberg.
- Cipriano de Rore – Il secondo libro de madrigali for 5 voices published in Venice.
- Gian Domenico del Giovane da Nola – Madrigali for four voices.
- Cipriano de Rore – Motetta for five voices
- Vincenzo Ruffo – Li madrigali a notte negre for four voices published in Venice
- The Lutheran hymnal Geistliche Lieder published by Valentin Babst in Leipzig
- Giovan Thomaso di Maio – Canzone villanesche a3, book 1.
- Loys Bourgeois – First book of four-part psalms, published for the Calvinists of Geneva
- Francesco Corteccia – First book of madrigals a4
- Hans Neusidler – Das erst Buch: ein newes Lautenbüchlein
- Giovanni Animuccia – First book of madrigals for between 4 and 6 voices published in Vienna
- Heinrich Glarean – Dodecachordon published in Basel.
- Enriquez de Valderrabano – Book of vihuela music 'Libra de musica de vihuela intitulado Silva de Sirenas' published in Valladolid
- Heinrich Faber – Beginner's music textbook Compendium Musicae published in Nuremberg.
- Cipriano de Rore – Il terzo libro de madrigali a cinque voci (Third Book of Madrigals for Five Voices) published in Venice.
- Claude Goudimel – book of chansons.
- Hans Neusidler – Das ander Buch: ein new künstlich Lauten Buch
- Gian Domenico del Giovane da Nola – Motets for five voices.
- Jacob Buus – Primo libro de moteti
- Jhan Gero – Libro primo delli madrigali a quatro voci
- Clement Janequin – XXX chansons nouvelles
- Gioseffo Zarlino – Moduli motecta vulga noncupata liber primus – book of motets for 5 voices
- Gasparo Alberti – Magnificat
- Gasparo Alberti – Magnificat
- Louis Bourgeois – published his first 4-voice psalms
- date unknown – Giovanni Maria Artusi, Italian composer and theorist (died 1613)
- probable – William Byrd, English composer (died 1623)
- probable – Jakob Regnart, Franco-Flemish composer (died 1599)
- – Giovanni Battista Dalla Gostena, Italian lutenist and composer (murdered 1593)
- probable – Girolamo Dalla Casa, Italian composer, cornetist and writer (died 1601)
- probable – William Daman, Flemish recorder player, organist and composer (died 1591)
- probable – Giovanni Dragoni, Italian composer (died 1598)
- probable – Noel Fagnient, Flemish composer and shopkeeper (died c.1600)
- probable – Johannes de Fossa, Flemish composer and choirmaster (died 1603)
- probable – Marcin Leopolita, Polish composer and musician (died c.1585)
- probable – Francesco Rovigo, Italian composer and organist (died 1597)
- probable – Alexander Utendal, Flemish singer, composer and choirmaster (died 1581)
- probable – Matthaus Waissel, German lutenist, composer, Lutheran theologian, publisher, schoolteacher and writer
- September 7 – Hernando de Cabezon, Spanish composer, publisher and editor (died 1602)
- probable – Vincenzo Bellavere, Italian composer and organist (died 1587)
- January 27 – Gioseffo Guami, Italian composer, organist, singer and teacher (died 1611)
- February 22 – Santino Garsi da Parma, lutenist and composer (died 1604)
- May 20 – Gasparo da Salo, Italian violin maker and double bass player (died 1609)
- November 1 – Tarquinia Molza, Italian singer (died 1617)
- probable – Cesare Bendinelli, Italian trumpeter (died 1617)
- probable – Jakob Meiland, German composer, organist and choirmaster (died 1577)
- Alfonso Ferrabosco the elder, Anglo-Italian composer (died 1588)
- Andreas Pevernage, Flemish composer and choirmaster (died 1591)
- Giovanni Maria Nanino, Italian composer, teacher, tenor and choirmaster (died 1607)
- Maddelena Casulana, Italian composer, lutenist and singer. First female composer of the period to have her music printed and published.
- Ivo de Vento, Flemish composer and organist. Died 1575.
- October 19 – Giovenale Ancina – Italian priest and composer (died 1604)
- Gioseppe Caimo, Italian composer and organist (died post 1584)
- Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Ferrarese composer (died 1607)
- Lodovico Balbi Italian composer, singer, choirmaster and Minorite friar (died 1604)
- Antoine Barbe II Flemish organist and choirmaster (died 1604)
- Gioseppe Caimo Italian composer and organist (died 1584)
- Bernardo Clavijo del Castillo Spanish composer, organist, harpsichord player and teacher (died 1626)
- Anthony Holborne English composer (died 1602)
- date unknown – Luca Bati, Italian composer (died 1608)
- December 9 – Costanzo Antegnati – Italian organ builder, organist, and composer
- date unknown – Kaspar Ulenberg, German theologian, poet, and composer (died 1617)
- – Eustache du Caurroy, French composer and singer (died 1609)
- – Giovanni de Macque, French composer, singer, organist and choirmaster (died 1614)
- 1540: Francesco De Layolle, composer and organist (c.48)
- 1542: Lodovico Fogliano, theorist and composer (c.66) died in Modena
- 1543: probable
- Avery Burton, composer (c.73) died in England
- 1545: April 10 – Constanzo Festa, Italian composer (born c.1485–1490)
- 1547: October or November – John Redford, English composer, poet and playwright (born c. 1500)
- 1548: June 14 – Elzéar Genet de Carpentras, French composer (born c. 1470)
- January 23 – Bernardo Pisano, Italian composer and singer (57)
- April 10 – Giacomo Fogliano, Italian composer, organist and teacher (born c.1468)
- August 16 – Georg Rhau, printer, publisher and composer, died in Wittenberg (c.60)
- October 21 – Sixt Dietrich, composer and teacher, died in St Gallen, Switzerland (c.55)
- Vincenzo Capirola, lutenist and composer, died in Brescia (c.74)
- 1549: – Richard Pygott, English composer and choirmaster