BAYLY, Anselm.
BAYLY, Anselm. A practical Treatise on Singing and Playing with just Expression and real Elegance. Being an Essay on I. Grammar. II. Pronunciation; or, the Art of just Speaking. III. Singing—its Graces—their Application.—On Cathedral Compositions …
London: Printed for J. Ridley … 1771.  
8vo (198 x 135 mm) in half-sheets, pp. v, [1], 16, 99, [1]; a few musical examples, printed typographically, in the text; p. 27 mispaginated ‘28’; early ms. (price/binding) note to the title; nineteenth-century red pebbled half roan, marbled paper sides, all edges marbled, spine lettered gilt; rubbed, corners a bit worn.
First edition, dedicated to Queen Charlotte, of ‘a short critick on the sacred musick used in the Royal Chapel, and on the manner of performing it’. It was also issued the same year, ‘printed by S. Towers and sold by J. Rivington’, as The Sacred Singer, to which New Grove gives precedence (Senate House, Sutro Library, and Library of Congress only in ESTC). ‘This treatise, though very short, and consequently superficial, discovers the author to be a man of taste, a respectable philologist, and a good judge of musical compositions’ (Critical Review). It is very much a practical guide written by a practising church musician: Bayly had thirty years’ experience singing in the choirs of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal and, as Sub-Dean of the latter since 1764, was responsible for the music there, together with William Boyce, Organist 1758–79. As well as his views on performance practice, Bayly is ready to comment on composers and their works, including Handel, Purcell, Blow, Pelham Humfrey, Jeremiah Clarke (‘plaintive and lulling’), Michael Wise, William Croft (‘seldom elegant and scarcely ever pathetick’), and Maurice Greene (‘sometimes inattentive to the sentiment … As solemnity sometimes leads Croft into heaviness, so doth elegance betray Greene into levity’, pp. 92–3). He closes with an appeal to his fellow musicians for feedback: ‘It now only remains to desire the scientifick musician would observe, that the author writes not as an artist, but as a practitioner and philologist, and therefore pleads the candor of professors; from whom he would gladly receive any tender corrections, illustrations, or observations, that may serve to carry this attempt into a complete system (p. 99).
RISM Écrits, p. 127.
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