1660 THE SKILL OF MUSICK Playing & Composing VIOL & TREBLE- VIOLIN - ILLUSTRATED Rare
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE SKILL OF MUSICK. In Two Books. The First contains the Grounds and Rules of Musick. The Second, Instructions for the Viol and also for the Treble-Violin. By John Playford. To which is added a Third Book, entitled, The Art of Descant, or Composing Musick in Parts. By Dr. Thomas Campion. With Annotations thereon by Mr. Chr. Simpson.
London: Printed by William Godbid for John Playford, at his Shop in the Inner Temple, 1660. THIRD EDITION, Enlarged.
, 136 pages. Illustrated throughout with type-set music and musical examples, plus an engraved illustration of a viol and a treble violin, and some woodcut diagrams. TEXTUALLY COMPLETE from the title-page to the last page of text, but lacking the frontispiece and possibly a page of ads at the rear. One of the most complete copies I have seen.
Later binding, 19th century hardcovers, cloth covered boards with leather spine and corners, spine titled and lined in gilt, 3.75x6 inches (9.5x15 cm).
The title page and last page of text have some soiling and offsetting otherwise the pages are just lightly age toned, all are clear and fully legible; the frontispiece is lacking, the title page is missing a small piece of its upper and lower corners not affecting text, there are two early brief ownership inscriptions at the top of the title page ("Miss (? ?) / from her dear Father, 1846", and "(? ?) Little 1858"), a couple pages have a small closed edge tear, the upper corner of many pages have a light crease resulting from being dog-eared at some point; overall the pages are tight, bright, clean and clear. A nice copy of this over 360 year-old work.
The later covers are worn and scraped at the spine, spine folds, and leather corners, but are still solid and doing a good job of protecting the rare book bound within.
VERY RARE 1660 THIRD EDITION, TEXTUALLY COMPLETE.
*************************************** Sotheby's auctioned a FOURTH EDITION (1664) of this book at its "Rare Music Manuscripts, Printed Music and Books" auction that took place in London on 14 September 2021. (NOTE Like our copy, Sotheby's copy is lacking the frontispiece. However, unlike our copy SOTHEBY'S COPY IS EX-LIBRARY with library marks, stamps, and shelf numbers; is LACKING the LAST PAGE OF TEXT of Book Two (i.e. is textually incomplete); has WORMING; has some repaired pages; and is a LATER EDITION.) Below is Sotheby's full description of its copy, which I think gives a sense of the rarity of early editions of this book:
"J. Playford. A Brief Introduction to the Skill of Musick. In Two Books...The Fourth Edition much Enlarged, 1664
Estimate: 1,500 - 2,000 GBP (approximately $1,950 - $2,600 USD)
9 leaves, 109, , 45,  pages, 8vo (16.1 x 10.5cm), two engraved tables, one engraved plate of music ("An Ayre after the Italian Manner"), two engraved illustrations (of a viol and a treble violin, the latter with contemporary manuscript annotations), some type-set music and musical examples, some woodcut diagrams and musical examples (including in tablature), advertisement on final page, a few modern pencil annotations, bookplate of Henry Parr to front pastedown, Dolmetsch Library stamp and pencil shelfmark ("II B 39") to verso of title-pages, ownership stamp of William Bicknell to first title, conservator's label to endpaper (dated 5 November 2002), black morocco label gilt to foot of spine with Dolmetsch Library shelfmark, contemporary calf gilt, rebacked, lacking frontispiece portrait and last leaf of second part, worming, some repaired, light browning
RARE. We have no record of this edition at auction during the last fifty years. ESTC records only 7 copies in the British Isles and 4 in North America.
Playford's Brief Introduction to the Skill of Musick was one of the most influential English manuals of musical instruction ever published. ***************************************