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date: 14 December 2019

Turner, Johnlocked

  • Bernarr Rainbow

Extract

(fl 1833–56). English organist and pioneer of school music. Music in schools, virtually dead in England since the abolition of the song and monastic schools at the Reformation, began its long period of recovery during the decade immediately following the passing of the first Reform Act (1832). Turner's Manual of Instruction in Vocal Music (1833) was the earliest music textbook published for use in English schools. Ostensibly designed to bring about the improvement of congregational psalmody, it was also meant to exert a wider civilizing effect on the industrial population.

Little is known of Turner’s life; but he wrote as an experienced teacher whose book was presented to the public ‘not as an experiment for the first time tried, but as the result of long experience’. Music master at the Westminster Day Training College for Teachers, Turner was also organist and choirmaster at St Stephen’s Church, Avenue Road, St John’s Wood (since demolished), where one of his choristers, L.C. Venables (...

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