THE FIRST DICTIONARY OF MUSIC IN ENGLISH

A Musical Dictionary; being a Collection of Terms and Characters, as well ancient as modern; including the historical, theoretical, and practical Parts of Music: as also, an Explanation of some Parts of the Doctrine of the Antients; interspersed with Remarks on their Method and Practice, and curious Observations on the Phœnomena of Sound mathematically considered, as it’s [sic] Relations and Proportions constitute Intervals, and those again Concords and Discords. The whole carefully abstracted from the best Authors in the Greek, Latin, Italian, French, and English Languages

… London: Printed for J. Wilcox … 1740.

8vo., pp. xii, 347, [1], complete with half-title (bound here after the title) and four folding engraved plates of tables and music, some musical notation in the text; old ownership inscription at head of title scratched away (a small hole resulting), slightly toned throughout, withal a good copy in nineteenth-century calf, rubbed, rebacked preserving most of the old spine; armorial bookplate of Joseph Gwilt.

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A Musical Dictionary; being a Collection of Terms and Characters, as well ancient as modern; including the historical, theoretical, and practical Parts of Music: as also, an Explanation of some Parts of the Doctrine of the Antients; interspersed with Remarks on their Method and Practice, and curious Observations on the Phœnomena of Sound mathematically considered, as it’s [sic] Relations and Proportions constitute Intervals, and those again Concords and Discords. The whole carefully abstracted from the best Authors in the Greek, Latin, Italian, French, and English Languages

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First edition, based largely on the Dictionnaire de Musique of Sébastien de Brossard and the musical articles in Chambers’s Cyclopaedia, with some original material. One of two variant issues, this has ‘A’ on the title-page above the ‘i’ in ‘Dictionary’.

Grassineau’s Dictionary ‘contains much of interest and ranks as the first work of its kind in English’ (Grove). It is particularly informative on the subject of ‘ancient music’. Grassineau probably had some assistance from the composer J. C. Pepusch, at whose instigation the project was apparently undertaken. Pepusch, who employed Grassineau as secretary and amanuensis, provides an admiring testimonial on the verso of the half-title (‘worthy the perusal of all Lovers of Musick’), a testimonial subscribed also by Maurice Greene (then Master of the King’s Music) and Johann Ernst Galliard; all three were founding members of the Academy of Ancient Music.

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