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Digital Transcription by Chris Partington, 2012

This is based on an OCR rendition, very much tweaked but sadly still probably containing errors in the dates, as that is what seems to have fooled the OCR most often. Also some page numbers got lost and the original has some page layout features which OCR has not always, despite generally good results, coped with successfully.So...

**You should cross-check with the original before quoting from this edition**

A PDF facsimile copy of the original book can be found HERE

FK's corrections and additions have been removed from the end of the book and incorporated into the text for convenience.

Part 1 of Transcription, - Preface and Introduction



London, Provincial, Scottish, and Irish.








Author of "Traditional Tunes," etc.


London: W. E. HILL & SONS, New Bond Street, W,


My Friend




I Dedicate this Volume, As A Slight Token of Esteem.




As a pioneer work, the present volume must claim a little indulgence. Excepting a few scattered notices here and there, nothing dealing with the subject of the following pages has yet appeared, and facts bearing on it are scanty and scattered in many places. The lists of publications are not put forth as containing all that my material would furnish, but are merely selections culled to show types of a publisher's issue; to fix a date, or give a variation of imprint. The names attached here and there are those of the owners of the particular copies I have consulted and do not imply that such works may not be in the British Museum or elsewhere. Much of the bibliographical matter comes from my own library, while my friend, Mr. T. W. Taphouse, of Oxford, has freely (as he has ever done) thrown open to me his large and valuable store of rare and unique volumes. The British Museum has, of course, also furnished much, and I have to thank Mr. W. Barclay Squire there, for much helpful courtesy and for the trouble he has taken in many ways. I must also thank Mr. Arthur F. Hill, Mr. Alfred Moffat, and Mr. J. E. Matthew, of London, Mr. John Glen, of Edinburgh, Dr. Culwick, and Mr. E. R. McDix, of Dublin, and others who have furnished titles and imprints from their collections. Their contributions are all indicated in the text where they occur, and it but remains to thank all heartily for their aid. The references from the Edinburgh directories for 1804, 1806, and 1807 are from copies in Mr. Glen's possession. I am also indebted to Mr. Hardie Brown, bookseller, Edinburgh, for kindness in allowing me the use of a file of early Edinburgh newspapers. I have to thank Mr. McLauchlan and his assistant at the Dundee public library for facilities granted in connection with the Wighton Collection, and a great number of practical sympathisers with the work.


128, Burley Road,


January, 1900.




THE present volume is an endeavour to place in a form, convenient for reference, a list of men (a number of whom were themselves musicians) who have played important part in the building up of British Music. By its aid it is hoped that much fresh light will be thrown on the musical history of the period it covers, and in some degree remove that uncertainty as to date, with which the average musician, librarian, or bookseller regards a piece of old music.

The unfortunate habit, in force even to-day, of omitting the year of publication on musical works has caused more anxiety, trouble, and vexation of spirit to the antiquary in such matters than the outsider, unacquainted with the toil of tracking a melody to its source or of following the career of a musician, can conceive. Prior to the 18th century Playford and the earlier printers honestly placed the year of issue before the reader, but the wily John Walsh soon discovered that " women and music should never be dated," and up to the present the maxim has been religiously observed. To get at the date of such undated work it is necessary to find out the business movements of the publisher ; his partnerships, his changes of address, and the year for such events. In the absence of publisher's name or initials, the quality of the paper, or engraving, or if it chance, a dated signature of a former owner all have to be taken into account before a satisfactory estimate of a year of publication can be arrived at. The yearly issue by nearly every publisher of a set of twenty-four country dances gives absolute dates and so do the inclusion in collections of airs, songs from the various operas, for there is satisfactory record as to the performance of these, and however much after, the work which contains melodies from one cannot be of earlier date. The London Directories are in some degree of great use, but this only applies to the comparatively late ones, for music sellers, even late on in the eighteenth century, were completely ignored by the compilers of the lists, with the sole exception of the Thompson family. After about 1780 one or two other names began to creep in, but very complete lists were not given until almost the first quarter of the new century. The London Directories were in this respect far behind those of Edinburgh and of the English provinces.


The art of music printing followed closely upon the discovery of letterpress typography; results being obtained in various ways on the Continent. The first piece of music printing in England is a fragment about an inch square, containing but 8 notes, used as an illustration in Higden's " Polychronicon," printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1495. Shortly after this date many musical works issued from the English presses, being missals for the various Cathedrals. It is questionable which is absolutely the first secular musical work printed in England, but one of the earliest is an oblong quarto work in the British Museum, (attributed to Wynkyn de Worde) with the printed date 1530. Its title runs : " In this boke ar Coteynyd XX Soges ; ix of iiii ptes, and xi of thre ptes [a list follows] . Anno dni MCCCCCXXX, decimo die mensis octobris," oblong 4to.

Another work which was at one time considered to be of the date 1519 and supposed to be printed by John Rastell [or Rastil] , contains four pages of music, set up from moveable type : " A New Interlude, and a mery of the nature of the iiij Elements " (no printer's name. British Museum). Though there is a chance that other secular music books had been printed, yet beyond these two works I have been unable to trace any others until past the middle of the sixteenth century ; but Rd. Grafton, John Day, and others were printing Psalters and other religious musical works freely' All this early music printing was done from moveable metal type, woodblock, or other raised surfaces, and it was not until quite late that engraving was employed in the production of music.

It has been long held that-" Parthenia," 1611, was the first engraved music, and again it has been recently stated that a work, entitled "The Noble. Arte of Venerie, or Hunting [George Turberville] ...Imprinted by Henry Bynneman for Christopher Barker," 1575, 4to, contains music printed from engraved plates. In this opinion I cannot coincide. The music in question is the notes for the hunting horn and having care- fully examined the 1575 and the 2nd edition 1611, I am under the conviction that in both copies the music is printed from a raised surface ; the work is freely adorned with wood- cuts, so no doubt a wood block has been cut for the purpose as undoubtedly it would be far the simplest and readiest method to employ. Perhaps there are earlier engraved works than " Parthenia," but I do not grant that the " Noble Arte of Venerie " is one of them. Though there are isolated instances of music printing from engraved plates, yet for a very long period the general practice was to have it worked off from moveable type, right down to almost the end of the sixteenth century.

The Dutch are said to have been the forerunners in plate music engraving, and by a method of softening the copper they were enabled to punch the notes on the plate and so save considerable labour and skill in its production. About 1680, plate engraved music became pretty general in England. John Playford had, however, previous to this issued several works in which the music was cut on copper, and he also re-printed others from works done on it prior to his time. Hawkins gives the date 1710 for the introduction of the process of stamping music on pewter plates, naming Walsh and Hare in connection with it. The process continuing from that time to this remains the one in general use to-day, with the advantage of a transfer of the impression to a lithographic stone and the consequent rapidity of production.

The printing of music from moveable type was in great use from the time of the first printers down to the commencement of the eighteenth century, when, for large works, it fell entirely in disuse, being superceded by the stamped pewter plates. Octavo Psalm books, however, continued to be printed from raised type or woodcuts as also odd pocket volumes of songs, quite through the century. Fought and Falkener, however, attempted to revive the type printed folio, but quite unsuccessfully. Up to about 1687-90 the lozenge shaped note was always used in typography with the tails of the quavers and semi-quavers separate. They were joined together in the modern fashion on plate printed music at and before this time, but it was not until Heptinstall and after him Pearson made their improvements that the "new tied note " came to be used.

Today, the problem of a simple method of setting up music in type remains undiscovered. For the simplest line of notation the printer has to use a combination of small pieces and to build the notes up from these fragments, and in general to make a stereotype block from the type thus set up before working off an edition. Music printing is therefore a rather costly matter and only a small proportion of printers venture into this branch of the trade. About 1830 a revival of folio type printed music was made owing to an invention by Edward Cowper, patented in 1827. The notes were set up in their entirety in copper type, and the stave lines were printed separately. This double printing must have been inconvenient, though the results were excellent. It was, in fact, practically the same with the process employed in the work dated 1530 above referred to. Chappell, and Goulding and D'Almaine employed Cowper's process for a short time only, for they quickly reverted back to engraved plates.

It must have been as late as 1850 before the general introduction of lithography for music printing, by means of a transfer from an engraving on to the stone. Thirty years prior to this, a Birmingham man, W. Hawkes Smith, had produced several music sheets by drawing on the stone, and shortly after lithographic vignettes began to be used on the engraved title-pages. *

Having referred to the mechanical difficulties of music production, it now remains to show how this was hampered by State interference. Under the plea that the exercise of printing was subject to the direct approval of the sovereign, Several monarchs attempted meddling in the craft and granted licenses to a favoured few. Queen Elizabeth, as a reward for services rendered at the Chapel Royal by two musicians, Thomas Tallis and William Birde, granted to these, con- jointly, or the survivor of them, the sole power to print or allow to be printed musical works in England, with the additional grant of veto to all imported music. This arbitrary patent, we may well imagine, exercised a most mischievous effect on the production of music when the art was at one of its brightest periods and when British born talent met with a ready recognition, which it has, since those days, had to fight hardly for. The Patent, as printed at the end of a work of sacred music printed by Thomas Vautrollier in 1575, is as follows :

-----"Elizabeth, by the grace of God Queue of Englande, Fraunce, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. To all printers, booksellers, and other officers, ministers, and subjects greeting. Know ye, that we, for the especiall affection and good wil that we have and beare to the science of musicke, and for the advancement thereof, by our letters patent, dated the xxii of January, in the xvii yere of our raigne, have granted full priviledge and license unto our welbeloved servaunts, Thomas Tallis and William Birde, gent, of our chappell, and to the overlyver of them, and to the assignes of them and of the surviver of them, for xxi yeares next ensuing, to imprint any and so many as they will of set songe or songes in partes, either in Englishe, Latine, French, Italian, or other tongues that may serve for musicke either in churche or chamber, or otherwise to be either plaid or soonge : And that they may rule and cause to be railed by impression any paper to serve for printing or pricking of any songe or songes, and may sell and utter any printed bokes or papers of any songe or songes, or any bookes or quiers of such ruled paper imprinted. Also we straightly by the same forbid all printers, booksellers, subjects, and strangers, other than as is aforesaid, to do any the premisses, or to bring or cause to be brought out of any forren realmes into any of our dominions any songe or songes made and printed in 1 any forren countrie, to sell or put to sale, uppon paine of our displeasure : And the offender in any of the premisses for every time to forfet to us, our heires, and successors fortie shillings, and to the said Thomas Tallis and William Birde, or to their assignes, and to the assignes of the surviver of them, all and every the said bokes, papers, songe, or songes. We have also, by the same, willed and commanded our printers, maisters, and wardens of the misterie of stacioners, to assist the said Thomas Tallis and William Birde, and their assignes for the dewe executing of the premisses."

Thomas Tallis having died in 1585 Birde alone held it and assigned the privilege to Thomas Este and perhaps others. Birde's patent expired in 1595, before his death, and for some three years it was not renewed. During this time T. Este and Peter Short were printing music books, probably by license granted from the officers of the Crown. In 1598 a fresh patent was assigned and this time to Thomas Morley, a pupil of Birde's, and (as Tallis and Birde had also been) a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. The pay of this office was about seven pence a day, so it was easy to understand that the rights over music printing were given as an addition to this small emolument. Morley's patent was similar to Birde's. It must be noticed by the wording of the first patent that ruled paper for music writing was included in it, but only that produced by impression, so that the musician was at least free to rule his own paper. The number of exclusive patent rights granted by the Crown for all kinds of things to merely private persons became so dangerous that the House of Commons took notice of the matter, and in 1601 Morley himself had to answer questions put by the House regarding his privilege, but though this held good, yet, after its expiration, English music production became free to all. Morley assigned licenses to Peter Short, Thomas Este, and William Barley, and having died in 1604 the patent then came into possession of William Barley, who allowed Windet, and others to print under his assignment, I think it is likely that the privilege came to an end in 1614, as I can find no reference to it after that date, and others, besides the older printers, then appear in the field.

Though printing was now more or less free in England, yet it was not so in Scotland, as will be seen by a brief notice on page 177 of the present volume.

From what may be termed the Madrigal Era roughly between 1590 and 1620 the production of music books fell off considerably in spite of a free music press. Between the above dates numbers of excellent works had been given forth, and this even under restrictive license. There must have been some radical change in popular fashion for light singing appears to have ended and given place to more weighty matters. Charles the First had come to the throne and internal troubles were brewing. Psalm tunes still came forth for they appealed to the serious ones of both parties. Although Prynne had written his work against music and stage plays and been mutilated, pilloried, and condemned to imprisonment for life in consequence, yet, people cannot be made merry by Act of Parliament ; a wet blanket seems to have been cast over secular music, until strange enough as it may seem the Commonwealth was declared. It was then that John Playford came to the rescue of English music and from 1650, onward to the beginning of the eighteenth century he and his sons were its pillars. Then followed Walsh and music printing became general.

(C.G.P. Ed. End of Part 1 of transcription, -Preface and Introduction)

to Part 2, London Publishers

to Part 3, Provincial, Scottish and Irish Publishers

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