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Charles Burney (1726–1814), was the foremost music historian of his day. The General History, his most famous work, was published in four volumes between 1776 and 1789 and is still of great value today. Burney wanted to write something which would appeal to and inform the musician and the general reader. Research for the History was undertaken during two European tours, in 1770 and 1772, consulting original sources and meeting the great musicians of the time. The resultant work is engaging and elegantly written, offering the reader a fascinating view not only of Burney's own musical preferences and enthusiasms, but also a reflection of contemporary fashionable taste. All four volumes contain generous musical examples and quotations from original sources.
Table of Contents
Volume 1: Dedication; Preface; Dissertation: 1. Of the notation or tablature of ancient music; 2. Of the three genera, Diatonic, Chromatic, and Enharmonic; 3. Of the modes; 4. Of mutations; 5. Of melopoeia; 6. Of rhythm; 7. Of the practice of melopoeia, with examples; 8. Whether the ancients had counterpoint, or music in parts?; 9. Of dramatic music; 10. Of the effects attributed to the music of the ancients; History: Of Egyptian music; Of Hebrew music; Of Greek music; 1. Of music in Greece during the residence of pagan divinities of the first order upon Earth; 2. Of the terrestrial, or demi-gods; 3. Concerning the music of heroes and heroic times; 4. Of the music of Greece from the time of Homer, till that country was subdued by the romans; 5. Of ancient musical sects, and theories of sound; 6. Of the scolia, or songs, of the ancient Greeks; Of the music of the Romans; Reflections upon the construction and use of some particular musical instruments of antiquity; A list and description of the plates; Index. Volume 2: 1. Of the introduction of music into the Church, and of its progress there, previous to the time of Guido; 2. Of the invention of counterpoint, and state of music, from the time of Guido, to the formation of the timetable; 3. Of the formation of the timetable, and state of music, from that discovery, till about the middle of the fourteenth century; 4. Of the origin of modern languages, to which written melody and harmony were first applied; and general state of music, till the invention of printing, about the year 1450; 5. Of the state of music, from the invention of printing, till the middle of the sixteenth century; including its cultivation in the masses, motets, and secular songs, of that period. Volume 3: Essay on musical criticism; 1. The progress of music in England during the time of King Henry VIII continued, and concluded; 2. Of the state of music in Italy during the sixteenth century; 3. Of the progress of music in Germany during the sixteenth century; 4. Of the state of music in France during the sixteenth century; 5. Of the progress of music in Spain during the sixteenth century; 6. Concerning the music of the Netherlands, during the sixteenth century; 7. Of the progress of music in England from the death of Queen Elizabeth, till the end of the seventeenth century; 8. Of the music of Italy in the church and chamber during the seventeenth century; 9. Progress of the violin in Italy from the sixteenth century to the present time; 10. Of the progress of music in Germany during the seventeenth century; 11. The state of music in France during the seventeenth century; 12. Progress of church music in England from the death of Purcell to the present time; Index. Volume 4: Essay on the euphony, or sweetness of languages, and their fitness for music; 1. Of the invention of recitative, and establishment of the musical drama, or opera, in Italy; 2. Rise and progress of the sacred musical drama, or oratorio; 3. Of the opera buffa, or comic-opera, and intermezzi, or musical interludes, during the seventeenth century; 4. Of cantatas, or narrative chamber music; 5. Attempts at dramatic music in England, previous to the establishment of the Italian opera there; 6. Origin of the Italian opera in England, and its progress there during the present century; 7. Progress of the musical drama at Venice, during the present century; 8. Progress of the musical drama at Naples, and account of the eminent composers and school of counterpoint in that city; 9. Opera composers employed at Rome, and tracts published in Italy on the theory and practice of music, during the present century; 10. Of the progress of music in Germany, during the present century; 11. Of the music of France, during the present century; 12. General state of music in England at our national theatres, public gardens, and concerts, during the present cen