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date: 02 April 2020

Gurney, Edmundlocked

  • William J. Gatens


(b Hersham, March 23, 1847; d Brighton, June 23, 1888). English writer on music, philosophy and psychology. His family moved to London while he was an infant. In 1866 he gained a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he did well enough in classical studies to share the Porson prize in 1870 and win a fellowship at his college in 1872. His chief interest, however, was music, and he studied both the violin and the piano, but by 1875 he recognized he would not become a professional instrumentalist. About this time he was also writing on musical subjects, including an essay in 1876 ‘On some disputed points in music’ for the Fortnightly Review, his first published work.

In 1877 Gurney began medical studies, but discontinued them in 1881. This training and a general scientific bent together with his musical studies and an active interest in philosophy, physics, psychology and the physiology of sound gave him the unique combination of insights needed to write his most important work, ...

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Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 1885-1901, suppls., 1901-96)
Music Review
Music & Letters