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date: 17 November 2019

Pole, William locked

  • George Grove
  • , revised by L.S. Lloyd


( b Birmingham, April 22, 1814; d London, Dec 30, 1900). English civil engineer and music scholar . He was professor of civil engineering at University College, London, from 1859 to 1876. He graduated at Oxford as BMus in 1860 (at the age of 46) and as DMus in 1867, and was also organist in London at St Mark’s, North Audley Street, from 1836 to 1866. For his scientific work he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1861 and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1877. In 1874 he was, with Sir John Stainer, instrumental in founding the Musical Association (now Royal Musical Association).

Pole is best remembered for his treatise The Philosophy of Music. This was not a work on aesthetics, but a reproduction of a series of lectures he had been invited to give in 1877 at the Royal Institution of Great Britain ‘on the Theory of Music, as illustrated by the late researches of Helmholtz’, i.e. on acoustics as a physiological basis for music theory. The book is still valuable to music students as an introduction to Helmholtz’s ...

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Schweizerische Musikzeitung/Revue musicale suisse
Musical Times
Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association