Henry Purcell (16591695)

Purcell Manuscripts

Reading sample

The Principal Musical Sources

Music score (reprint)

Item no.771197
Author/ComposerHenry Purcell
EditorRobert Shay, Robert Thompson
Scope376 pages; 18.8 × 24.5 cm
Release year2006
Publisher/ProducerCambridge University Press
Producer No.9780521028110
50.10 €
Delivery time approx. 1–2 weeks.
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Few details are known about the life of Henry Purcell. This book provides an in-depth analysis of the most obvious documentary evidence of Purcell's career - the music manuscripts of his own hand and those copied by his colleagues. Robert Shay and Robert Thompson offer a richly illustrated study of Purcell's sources, examining in detail the physical features of the manuscripts as well as their musical content. Their survey sheds light on the chronology of composition and copying of Purcell's works and reassesses the place of extant autographs in his musical development. Major sources are fully catalogued, providing information about the context in which Purcell's music was collected and performed, and his handwriting is more closely examined than ever before. The book represents a significant reference tool for scholars, applying a forensic approach that greatly enriches our knowledge of the composer and the music of his time.

  • Examines the source manuscripts in comparable depth, including more than 30 illustrations
  • Sheds light on Purcell chronology, examines his handwriting in detail, identifies significant copyists, and reassesses the status of extant autographs
  • Comprehensive cataloguing of many sources


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1 Introduction: manuscript sources and Purcell's music
  • 2 Fitzwilliam Museum Music MS 88 and three principal concordances
  • 3 British Library Additional MS 30930 and its repertories
  • 4 British Library Royal Music 20h8 and its repertories
  • 5 Performing materials from the London sacred establishments and other sacred sources
  • 6 Music for the theatre
  • 7 Vocal, keyboard and instrumental music
  • Appendix 1 Identified copyists and early owners
  • Appendix 2 Unidentified copyists
  • Bibliography
  • Indexes