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British Song Sheets (1700-1820)

This collection holds more than 420 separately published song sheets with songs dating from 1700 through 1820 which spans from the end of the reign of William III through the reigns of Queen Anne and Kings George I, George II, and George III. Many of the songs correspond to performances in theatres and opera houses. The collection is useful for research related to the history of song, singing, and singers. It is pertinent not only to music, music printing, and theatre, but also to the disciplines of literature, language, history, social history, contemporary taste, bibliography, and paper studies. The majority of the music was published in London, while some was printed in Dublin, Glasglow, and Edinburgh.

The scope of music covers all genres and types. The songs for the theatre are mostly for Drury Lane and Covent Gardens, but also for Lincoln’s Inn Theatre and the King’s Theatre. There are songs published for societies, including the Anacreontic Society, the ‘Je ne scai quoi Club,’ and the Beefsteak Club. The songs include works by Purcell, Weldon, Carey, Leveridge, Handel, Courteville, Gluck, Eccles, Abbington, Boyce, and numerous others.

This collection is distinctive for several reasons. Many of the songs are notably rare with only one or two other known copies worldwide. The collection also gives information on numerous singers, including the types and ranges of their voices and the style of their singing. A wide cross-section of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century English, Scottish, and Irish poetry and verse is represented in the texts.
(Text adapted from dealer’s description. Collection acquired through Lisa Cox.)

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