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date: 19 November 2019

Brown, Johnlocked

  • Jamie C. Kassler

Extract

(b Rothbury, Northumberland, Nov 5, 1715; d Newcastle upon Tyne, Sept 23, 1766). English clergyman, writer and amateur musician. He was educated at Cambridge University and held several positions in the Church of England. His contribution to music historiography is contained in his Dissertation on the Rise, Union, and Power, the Progressions, Separations, and Corruptions, of Poetry and Music (London, 1763; Ger. trans. by J.J. Eschenburg, Leipzig, 1769; It. trans. by Oresbio Agieo, academic name of Francesco Corsetti, Florence, 1772). Proceeding on the assumption that music arose from the passions and principles of the human mind, Brown isolated 36 stages of musical history, from the early unity of gesture, voice and speech and its perfection as dance, melody and song in Greek society to the separation and degeneration of those arts in the 18th century. Thus, like Isaac Vossius (whom he cited with approval), he believed that music reached its perfection among the ancients and declined with the moderns....

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The London Stage, 1660-1800 (Carbondale, IL, 1960-68)