Link to home page

The English Musical Gazette; or, Monthly Intelligencer

(London, 1819)

Prepared by Richard Kitson
1 volume* (2006)

The English Musical Gazette; or, Monthly Intelligencer [EMG] was published in London from 1 January to 1 July 1819. Each of its seven issues of sixteen to twenty pages—all printed in two-column format—are numbered consecutively from 1 through 125, and are followed by musical supplements of four pages each, numbered independently in a series from page 1 through 28. The name of an editor does not appear in the journal’s pages. Dr. Thomas Busby was once believed to have edited EMG “on unknown grounds,” but this opinion has been refuted.

The learned content and the degree of musical and technical difficulty of the compositions printed in the supplements show the journal to have been intended for educated amateurs and professionals. Each of the seven issues begins with an installment of a biographical memoir of Joseph Haydn drawn “from authentic sources.” The issues also contain a theoretical treatise, articles, reviews of published music, correspondence and miscellaneous concert announcements The first issue contains an article dealing with “time according to Maelzel’s metronome,” while the second offers an article dealing with metronome rates and Italian tempo markings for Beethoven’s first eight symphonies. In the same issue Jackson of Exeter writes about the nature of genius. In other issues the journal’s instructional nature is demonstrated by the inclusion of metronome rates and tempo markings for Jean-Baptiste Cramer’s Studios for the pianoforte. There are also a number of short articles on diverse subjects such as the singing manner of ancient Britons, the painter Gainsborough’s first encounter with music, the licensing of minstrels in Cheshire and improvements to the harp. A major portion of the journal (issues 3 through 7) is given to the publication of an English translation of Johann Georg Albrechtsberger’s influential theoretical treatise Elements of Composition, with Numerous and Elaborate Examples. Musical examples demonstrating Albrechtsberger’s theories of harmonization, figured bass and species counterpoint appear at the conclusion of the first installment and thereafter in the musical supplements.

Reviews appear in all issues under the column header “Impartial and Critical Review of Musical Compositions.” An explanation of the analytical and critical method employed in the journal’s reviews is found in the third issue. In these, much attention is devoted to the accuracy of the musical notation and musical grammar, and to the correctness of the part writing. The vocal compositions reviewed include songs, rounds and anthems; and, instrumental works that feature pianoforte solo and duet variations, sonatas, overtures, and études. Instructional publications—such as Flight’s Practical Theory and Instruction to Tune the Organ and Thomas Busby’s A Grammar of Music— are also considered in the review section. Finally, the correspondence sections include letters to the editor about the publication of a newly discovered letter of Charles Burney addressed to Joseph Haydn, the problems of the technical terminology in the treatises of Rameau and Antoniotti, and Flight’s controversial method of tuning.

* Hard bound with