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17. Shield, William. A new edition (being the second) of An introduction to harmony

June 7, 2011

Shield, William. A new edition (being the second) of An introduction to harmony. London: author, 1815. Pages 84-85

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Shield, William (1748–1829)
A new edition (being the second) of An introduction to harmony
London: printed for the author, [1815]
Box 718

Patronage by members of the royal family extended to theoretical works on music, several of which are present in the Archive. This example by William Shield identifies the author as “musician in ordinary to His Majesty” and has a preface dedicating the work to George IV as Prince Regent. Shield, an English composer, violist, and collector of national songs, became active in London theaters during the 1770s as an orchestra musician and composer of comic operas. As house composer for Covent Garden, 1784–1797, he created popular theatrical productions that incorporated English, Scottish, and Irish folksongs. Shield’s interest in national music led to a collaboration with antiquarian Joseph Ritson on two song collections: Select collection of English songs (1783) and Scotish songs (1794). A version of a Scottish melody used by Shield in his opera Rosina (1782) has been identified as a source for the tune of Robert Burns’s Auld lang syne.

After retiring from Covent Garden in 1797, Shield published An introduction to harmony (1800; second edition 1815) and The rudiments of thoroughbass (1815). This section from the third part of An introduction to harmony, titled “On accompaniment,” discusses composition of music appropriate for singing in English.

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