"7. There is not any music of instruments whatsoever comparable to that which is made of the voices of men; where the voices are good, and the same well sorted or ordered.
"8. The better the voice is, the meeter it is to honour and serve GOD therewith: and the voice of man is chiefly to be employed to that end."
Bands of musicians, consorts as they were usually called, were a regular part of the household of the Queen, and of all the great nobles, and even of lesser private gentlemen. In 1571 the Queen's musicians consisted of eighteen trumpeters, seven violins, six flutes, six sackbuts, and ten singers. King James's musicians numbered twenty-six in 1606, and twenty-two in 1617.
The word consort was properly applied to a group of musicians playing upon similar instruments: thus, a consort of stringed instruments, a consort of wind instruments, etc. Often, however, one or two instruments were introduced into a consort that differed from the others. A lute, bandore, base-viol, cittern, and flute constituted the instruments of a consort that played before the queen during an entertainment at Elvetham in 1591. The word noise, often applied generally to a group of anything, as a noise of horns
- Lyly's Works, Ed. Bond, i. 450,