WALTER (THOMAS) The Grounds and Rules of Musick explained: Or, an Introduction to the Art of Singing by Note, FIRST EDITION, Boston, J. Franklin, 1721
Lot 154
WALTER (THOMAS) The Grounds and Rules of Musick explained: Or, an Introduction to the Art of Singing by Note, FIRST EDITION, Boston, J. Franklin, 1721
Sold for £10,000 (US$ 16,808) inc. premium
Lot Details
WALTER (THOMAS)
The Grounds and Rules of Musick explained: Or, an Introduction to the Art of Singing by Note. Fitted to the meanest Capacities 1721, first edition, 16 leaves of engraved music printed on one side only, woodcut notation and diagrams in the text, with 24 PAGES OF EIGHTEENTH CENTURY AMERICAN PSALM TUNES added on blank leaves (first 2 leaves repaired at inner margin, first torn without loss), some spotting and soiling, without initial blank signed A, piece torn from lower corner of B2 with loss of text, B4 with 2 tears to lower and inner margins (text unaffected), ownership inscription on rear paste-down of "Joseph Goldthwait 1723" (along with the word 'Boston' written several times, see loosely inserted note on the Goldthwait family), contemporary panelled sheep, slight dampstain to upper cover [Sabin 101196; Evans 2303], oblong 12mo, Boston, Printed by J. Franklin, for S. Gerrish, near the Brick Church in Cornhill, 1721

Footnotes

  • EXTREMELY RARE JAMES FRANKLIN PRINTING OF A MUSIC INSTRUCTION MANUAL, CONTAINING 'THE FIRST MUSIC IN BARS IN THE COLONIES' (Leo Lemay, Benjamin Franklin: A Documentary History, on-line resource). James Franklin printed two controversial psalm-singing works for Samuel Gerrish in 1721, the other being the third edition of John Tufts's A Very Plain and Easy Introduction to the Art of Singing Psalm Tunes. No copy of this first edition of Walter's work is recorded on ABPC as having sold since 1975; ESTC records eight copies in North America, whilst Sabin's list of seven copies contains five imperfect ones.

    The work begins with 'A Recommendatory Preface' extoling the virtues of psalmody, signed in print by Increase and Cotton Mather and 13 other clergymen, and followed by a page depicting the elements of 'Musical Characters' (notation). The main text comprises 'Some Brief and Very Plain Instructions for Signing by Note', where he also laments the prevailing standard of church music, "now miserably tortured, and twisted, and quavered... into a horrid Medly".
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