A compendium: or, Introduction to practical musick. In five parts.
Teaching … 1. The rudiments of song. 2. The principles of composition. 3. The use of discords. 4. The form of figurate descant. 5. The contrivance of cannon.
Simpson, Christopher, d. 1669.
The 5th ed. with additions: much more correct than any former, the examples being put in the most useful cliffs …
London, Printed by W. P. for J. Young, 1714.
7 p. l., 144 p. front. (port.) illus. (music) tables. 18 cm.
This introductory music text, in a fifth edition that is “much more correct than any former”, caught my eye for a couple of reasons.
First, the book starts with a poem titled “To all lovers of harmony” and I thought it was about time that someone gave some credit to those “whose eternal arms puts chaos into concord.” Let’s hear it for the theorists! The poem concludes with some choice words for those who hate music (see 2nd image above).
Second, the illustrations of musical concepts are impressive, both in terms of their clarity and simplicity. Musical concepts aren’t always the easiest to communicate, even with visual aids. As a librarian, I especially appreciate the Venn diagram nature of the cantus/tenor/bassus ladder diagram.
And lastly, there’s the final paragraph that proves musicians have been spouting the same advice for at least 300+ years - practice, practice, PRACTICE!
If you’d like to see the item in its entirety, it’s available in several editions on archive.org:
Sixth edition (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill):
Eighth edition (National Library of Scotland):
WELCOME TO TUMBLR, Rita Benton Music Library! May you happily live on Tumblr until those cranes and steel girders manifest themselves into your beautiful new (non-flooding) building. And beyond.