The traditional folk music of England is centuries old and has contributed to several genres prominently; mostly sea shanties, jigs, hornpipes and dance music. It has its own distinct variations and regional peculiarities. Wynkyn de Worde printed ballads of Robin Hood from the 16th century are an important artefact, as are John Playford's The Dancing Master and Robert Harley's Roxburghe Ballads collections. Some of the best known songs are The Good Old Way, Pastime with Good Company, Maggie May and Spanish Ladies amongst others. Many nursery rhymes are of English origin such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Roses are red, Jack and Jill, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush and Humpty Dumpty.
Early English composers in classical music include Renaissance artists Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, followed up by Henry Purcell from the Baroque period. German-born George Frideric Handel became a British subject and spent most of his composing life in London, creating some of the most well-known works of classical music, The Messiah, Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. There was a revival in the profile of composers from England in the 20th century led by Benjamin Britten, Frederick Delius, Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams and others. Present-day composers from England include Michael Nyman, best known for The Piano.
In the field of popular music many English bands and solo artists have been cited as the most influential and best-selling musicians of all time. Acts such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Queen, Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones are among the highest selling recording artists in the world. Many musical genres have origins or strong associations with England, such as British invasion, hard rock, glam rock, heavy metal, mod, britpop, drum and bass, progressive rock, punk rock, indie rock, gothic rock, shoegazing, acid house, UK garage, trip hop and dubstep.
Large outdoor music festivals in the summer and autumn are popular, such as Glastonbury, V Festival, Reading and Leeds Festivals. The most prominent opera house in England is the Royal Opera House at Covent Gardens. The Proms, a season of orchestral classical music concerts held at the Royal Albert Hall, is a major cultural event held annually. The Royal Ballet is one of the world's foremost classical ballet companies, its reputation built on two prominent figures of 20th century dance, prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn and choreographer Frederick Ashton.
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