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This work is intended to supply a great and long acknowledged want. A growing demand has arisen in this country and the United States for information on all matters directly and indirectly connected with Music, owing to the great spread of concerts, musical publications, private practice, and interest in the subject, and to the immense improvement in the general position of Music which has taken place since the commencement of the present century. Music is now performed, studied, and listened to by a much larger number of persons, and in a more serious spirit, than was the case at any previous period of our history. It is rapidly becoming an essential branch of education; the newest works of continental musicians are eagerly welcomed here very soon after their appearance abroad, and a strong desire is fe't by a large, important, and increasing section of the public to know solyething of the structure and peculiarities of the music which they hear and play, of the nature and history of the instruments on which it is performed, of the biographies and characteristics of its composers—in a word of all such particulars as may throw light on the rise, progress, and present condition of an Art which is at once so prominent and so eminently progressive.
This desire it is the object of the Dictionary of Music and Musicians to meet. It is designed for the use of Professional musicians and Amateurs alike. It contains definitions of Musical Terms; explanations of the forms in which Musical Works are constructed, and of the methods by which they are elaborated, as well as of the origin, structure, and successive modifications of Instruments; histories and descriptions of Societies and Institutions ; notices of the composition, production, and contents of important works; lists of the principal published collections; biographies of representative composers, singers, players, and patrons of music-all the points, in short, immediate and remote, on which those interested in the Art, and alive to its many and far-reaching associations, can desire to be informed.
The limit of the history has been fixed at A. D. 1450, as the most remote date to which the rise of modern music can be carried back. Thus mere archæology has been avoided, while the connection between the mediæval systems and the wonderful modern art to which they gave rise has been insisted on and brought out wherever possible. While the subjects have been treated thoroughly and in a manner not unworthy the attention of the professional musician, the style has been anxiously divested of technicality, and the musical illustrations have been taken, in most cases, from classical works likely to be familiar to the amateur, or within his reach.
The articles are based as far as possible on independent sources, and on the actual research of the writers, and it is hoped that in many cases