A Dictionary of Musicians, from the Earliest Ages to the by John S. Sainsbury

By John S. Sainsbury

The writer John Sainsbury produced this two-volume biographical dictionary of musicians in 1824. The publication, as he recognizes on his name web page, borrows from the formerly released works of Choron and Fayolle (in French), Gerber (in German), Orloff (Russian, writing in French), and his outstanding English predecessors, Dr Burney and Sir John Hawkings. It encompasses a 'summary of the historical past of music', in addition to biographies and memoirs of musicians. the variety of the knowledge supplied is vast, together with the main vague in addition to the main recognized: fourteen pages on Mozart are by means of paragraphs on his spouse Constanza and at the now thoroughly forgotten B. F. Mozin, a French piano instructor and composer, whereas Beethoven is defined whilst nonetheless residing and composing, albeit troubled through deafness. This paintings is a mine of data on musical lifestyles and perceptions of song historical past within the early 19th century.

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Hitherto, I have cited neither French nor German authors; for this reason, that they have generally been behindhand with the Italian in precept, and I have merely wished to trace the progress of the art, and not the history of different schools. But towards the commencement of the eighteenth century, a French writer produced some sensation with regard to doctrine; I meanRameau, who affirmed that all rules, up to his time, were merely blind traditions, without connection or foundation, and proposed reducing them to a few precepts which he pretended to deduce from the laws of physics.

All these innovations excited the indignation of the masters attached to the ancient rules; but at length sense and experience overcame their vague and abstract reasonings. At first, indeed, these new methods were merely applied to profane and modern music, and the ecclesiastical chants continued to be formed on the ancient rules, somewhat mitigated, however, according to the method of Palestrina and the Roman school; but, towards the close of the seventeenth century, they began, in practice, to consider the church tones merely as a form to enchain or keep within bounds the modern tones, and according to this principle they applied tonal harmony to their ecclesiastical compositions.

Consequently with harmony and counterpoint. Till the close of the fifteenth century, the degenerated tones of the Greeks, as preserved -in the chant of the Roman church, served, not only as a foundation to ecclesiastical chanting, and to the works of composers who endeavoured to harmonize those chants, or to compose according to that system, but various profane songs of that time, which we still possess, and some of which are to this day popular, appear to have •partaken of the ecclesiastical modes.

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