A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke, set downe in forme of a dialogue: Devided into Three partes, the First teacheth to sing with all things necessary for the knowledge of pricktsong. The Second treateth of descante and to sing two parts in one upon a plainsong or ground, with other things necessary for a descanter. The Third and last part entreateth of composition of three, foure, fiue or more parts with many profitable rules to that effect. With new songs of, 2. 3. 4. and .5 [sic] parts.
by MORLEY, Thomas.
By Thomas Morley, Batcheler of musick, & one of the gent. of hir Maiesties Royall Chappell. Title within elaborate woodcut allegorical frame, heightened in colors, much type-set music printing throughout, woodcut diagrams, some music printed in red & black, & numerous woodcut vignettes. 3 p.l., 183,  pp. Small folio (281 x 195 mm.), cont. limp vellum (binding somewhat soiled, title dusty, occasional foxing), ties gone. London: P. Short, 1597. First edition, and a splendid copy in its first binding with the title-page in contemporary coloring, of "perhaps the most famous musical treatise in the English language. The research it entailed must have been immense...In many cases his discoveries led him to take up the cudgels against traditional English practices, and in matters of notation, for instance, he appears to have had an effect in changing the practice of East's printing house...Morley's method of presenting his material is original and well-considered and his literary style delightful. The book is also, as its title-page boasts, eminently practical -- from its division of the material into three sections, with the thornier problems relegated to appendices, to its examples brilliantly constructed to show the pitfalls into which the student of counterpoint habitually falls. Byrd's teaching, as Morley acknowledged, must be reflected on many of its pages...Above all, the book is lively and passionate in manner, written from a refreshingly sceptical point of view... "The Plaine and Easie Introduction of 1597 is, among other things, a colourful piece of propaganda for Italian music, and a measure of its success in this regard is the degree to which posterity has adopted the notion of a brilliant Elizabethan musical achievement arising mainly from the adoption by English composers of Italian styles, a view that has only recently come fully into question."-Grove, Vol. 12, pp. 579-85. Provenance note: Bookplate of John Whipple Frothingham. Frothingham (1878-1935), who at the time of his marriage in 1921 lived just up the street at 375 West End Avenue, was the nephew of William Augustus White (1843-1927), the great collector of Elizabethan literature and William Blake. Following his uncle's death, Frothingham inherited a portion of White's library which he removed to France and where it remained until very recently. This is a very lovely crisp and unpressed copy of a rare book, with the title-page in contemporary coloring of pale green, red, and yellow. There are two tears: on leaf G3 there is a natural paper flaw not touching the text; on leaf Aa1 there is another early tear -- about 7 cm. long and repaired at an early date -- which touches the text without loss of text. Contemporary signature on inside of upper cover: "Tho:s Martin." Some contemporary annotations here and there. Preserved in a box. ❧ Bartlett, Catalogue of the Early English Books chiefly of the Elizabethan Period collected by William Augustus White (1926), p. 100. Steele, Bibliography of English Music, 161. . (Inventory #: HillBibl-4917)
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