Thomas Salmon: Writings on Music: Volume II: A Proposal to Perform Musick and Related Writings, 1685-1706

1st Edition

Benjamin Wardhaugh

Published August 12, 2013
Reference - 208 Pages
ISBN 9780754668459 - CAT# Y237998
Series: Music Theory in Britain, 1500–1700: Critical Editions


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This is the second volume in a two-part set on the writings of Thomas Salmon. Salmon (1647-1706) is remembered today for the fury with which Matthew Locke greeted his first foray into musical writing, the Essay to the Advancement of Musick (1672), and the near-farcical level to which the subsequent pamphlet dispute quickly descended. Salmon proposed a radical reform of musical notation, involving a new set of clefs which he claimed, and Locke denied, would make learning and performing music much easier (these writings are the subject of Volume I). Later in his life Salmon devoted his attention to an exploration of the possible reform of musical pitch. He made or renewed contact with instrument-makers and performers in London, with the mathematician John Wallis, with Isaac Newton and with the Royal Society of London through its Secretary Hans Sloane. A series of manuscript treatises and a published Proposal to Perform Musick, in Perfect and Mathematical Proportions (1688) paved the way for an appearance by Salmon at the Royal Society in 1705, when he provided a demonstration performance by professional musicians using instruments specially modified to his designs. This created an explicit overlap between the spaces of musical performance and of experimental performance, as well as raising questions about the meaning and the source of musical knowledge similar to those raised in his work on notation. Benjamin Wardhaugh presents the first published scholarly edition of Salmon's writings on pitch, previously only available mostly in manuscript.

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