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Clive T. Probyn

(b Salisbury, July 20, 1709; d Salisbury, Dec 22, 1780). English writer and musical amateur. He was the eldest son of James Harris by his second wife, Lady Elizabeth Ashley Cooper, sister of the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury. He studied at Oxford and at Lincoln’s Inn, and was MP for Christchurch from 1761, holding various government offices. He wrote on many subjects, including music. He patronized Salisbury musicians and brought London performers to Salisbury through his association with the Salisbury Subscription Concerts (also known as the Society of Lovers of Musick), and from the mid-1740s was consultant and occasional manager of the Annual Musical Festival, for which he directed from the harpsichord and supplied music, some of it of his own composition. His library contained much music, including Italian and Elizabethan works. Handel and Sacchini (his daughter Louisa’s teacher) visited him, and he may also have known Pepusch. His ...

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( b Schwäbisch Hall, Oct 16, 1689; d Schwäbisch Hall, May 22, 1768). German organist and writer on music . He began organ lessons at the age of nine with Baur, organist of St Katharina; after completing the curriculum of the local Gymnasium, he was a municipal clerk in neighbouring towns, returning later to his native city first as district clerk and then as city clerk, also becoming in 1724 Kantor and organist of St Katharina. Majer wrote two musical instruction manuals, Hodegus musicus (Schwäbisch Hall, 1718; lost) and the important Museum musicum theoretico practicum (Schwäbisch Hall, 1732/R, 2/1741; Majer’s annotated copy is in D-Sl ). It is the latter which establishes him among the significant writers on music in the late Baroque. The Museum musicum aims to give students self-instruction in the elementary concepts of musical notation (musica signatoria) and in the techniques of playing most instruments, including the recorder, chalumeau, flute, oboe, bassoon, cornett, flageolet, clarinet, clarino, horn, trombone, various keyboard instruments, lute, harp, timpani, violin and the viols. His explicit fingering and position charts for each of these instruments provides an unusually clear picture of German Baroque instrumental practice. A succinct introduction to the thoroughbass practice is also informative. Very little of Majer’s short work seems to be original. He said the thoroughbass material was taken from an anonymous work of ...

Article

Meredith Ellis Little

(fl early 18th century). French dancing-master and author. He was dancing-master to Elisabetta Farnese (1692–1766), who became Queen of Spain on her marriage to Philip V in 1714. Rameau wrote two important works on French court dance, both published in Paris in 1725. The first, entitled Le maître à danser, is the most authoritative exposition of the early 18th-century French style of dancing, a style which was performed throughout Europe because of its elegance and refinement. The book was read and approved by Louis Pécour, dancing-master for the Paris Opéra, and may thus be taken to represent the central French practice of its day. It gives a clear and detailed account of such matters as the correct way to stand, move and ask a lady to dance, etiquette at court balls and the movements and steps of dances, as well as a complete description of the minuet. It is directed primarily towards the needs of social dancing, and does not discuss virtuoso practices peculiar to ballet. The book, which was several times reprinted, contains many excellent drawings which clarify the verbal descriptions. John Essex translated it into English in ...

Article

(b Dresden, 1738; d Schleswig, Nov 22, 1789). German actress and writer. At the end of an unhappy childhood she took to the stage. In 1754 she married the actor Hensel, but they separated three years later. She worked with various troupes and appeared several times in Vienna. After the collapse of the Hamburg Nationaltheater, she took up with the impresario Abel Seyler in 1769, and married him three years later, by which time she was recognized as Germany’s foremost tragedienne. Lessing praised her passionate and majestic acting at Hamburg, and Benda and F. W. Gotter wrote their chilling melodrama Medea to set off her skills in 1775. At the end of her career she wrote a five-act libretto Hüon und Amande, based on Wieland’s epic poem Oberon and set by the Schleswig music director Karl Hanke in 1789. The text was adapted for Paul Wranitzky shortly thereafter by Gieseke as ...