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Banks, Benjamin (1727–1795), musical instrument maker, was born at Salisbury on 14 July 1727, the third of the five children of George Banks, master butcher, and his wife, Barbery Huttoft. In 1741 Banks commenced a seven-year apprenticeship with his uncle William Huttoft, musical instrument maker and retail music dealer of ...

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Bassano, Alvise (d. 1554), musician and instrument maker, was presumably born in Bassano, near Venice, in the late fifteenth century, the second son of Maestro Jeronimo (d. 1539?), known as Piva (‘bagpipe’). By 1515 he was playing in Venice, and he served in ...

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Chappington, John (c. 1540–1606), organ builder, was born at South Molton, Devon, into a family business established there two generations earlier by one Richard Chappington. The local clientele whom Richard had serviced in the 1530s was developed by his successor, Hugh Chappington (...

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G. C. Boase

revised by H. C. G. Matthew

Collard, Frederick William (bap. 1772, d. 1860), piano manufacturer, was born at Wiveliscombe, Somerset, where he was baptized on 21 June 1772, the son of William Collard (1734-1829), clothier, and his wife Thomasin née Lutley (1733-1804) . At the age of fourteen he went to ...

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Cross, Nathaniel (1688/9–1751), musical instrument maker, was one of the earliest violin makers in London whose work survives in sufficient quantity for some assessment to be made. Little is known of his early life, but it appears that he probably learned the essentials of his craft from ...

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See England, George

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Farrant, Daniel (d. 1651), musician and musical instrument maker, may have been related to other musicians named Farrant—Richard (d. 1580) or any one of several Johns, all of whom were variously employed as church musicians. Both Richard and Daniel are known to have lived at ...

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Gauntlett, Henry John (1805–1876), organist, organ designer, and composer, was born at Wellington, Shropshire, on 9 July 1805. He was the second son and fourth child of the Revd Henry Gauntlett (1762–1833), originally from Wiltshire, and from 1815 vicar of Olney, Buckinghamshire, and his wife, ...

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Henry John Gauntlett (1805–1876) by Maull & Co., c. 1870 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Green, Thomas (bap. 1719, d. 1791), musician and tuner of musical instruments, was born in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, where he was baptized on 14 January 1719, the second son of Hannibal Green (d. 1757), glazier. His elder brother, John, was also a glazier, and he had a sister, identified in his will as 'my sister ...

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Harrison, Arthur (1868–1936), organ builder, was born on 21 February 1868 in College Street, Rochdale, Lancashire, the second of the seven children of Tom Hugh Harrison (1839–1912), organ builder, and his wife, Elizabeth Ann, née McDowell (d. 1921). In 1872 the family moved to ...

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Horniman, Frederick John (1835–1906), tea merchant and founder of the Horniman Museum, London, was born on 8 October 1835 at Bridgwater, Somerset, the fourth of six children of John Horniman (1803–1893) and his wife, Ann, daughter of Thomas Smith of Witney. The first two children and the last died in infancy; young ...

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How, John (d. 1571), organ builder, was probably the son of the John Hewe who in 1485 was paid 13s. 9d. for work relating to the organ in the lady chapel at York Minster, and who received the freedom of the city four years later. The younger ...

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Hunt, Edgar Hubert (1909–2006), musician, was born on 28 June 1909 at 2 Upper Byron Place, Clifton, Bristol, the only son and elder child of Hubert Walter Hunt (1865–1945), organist and master of the choristers at Bristol Cathedral, and his wife, Clara Harriett Clements...

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Jordan, Abraham (c. 1666–1715/16), distiller and organ builder, was the son of Abraham Jordan (d. in or before 1669), vintner, and grandson of William Jordan, yeoman, of Ratbey, Leicestershire, and was probably born either there or in London. The tradition that the family came from ...

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Langshaw, John (bap. 1725, d. 1798), organist and organ builder, was baptized at All Saints' Church, Wigan, Lancashire, on 11 July 1725, the son of John Langshaw, pewterer, and Ann Aspinall. In the 1760s he worked with John Christopher Smith, Handel's amanuensis, on a large mechanical organ for the ...

Article

L. M. Middleton

revised by Anne Pimlott Baker

Light, Edward (1746/7–1832), inventor of musical instruments and composer, was probably the man of that name who on 6 August 1774 married Elizabeth Hawkins at St Mary's, Marylebone Road, Middlesex. Nothing is known of his early life.

Light invented a number of instruments for ladies to play as an accompaniment to singing, at a time when the piano was not yet widely available. His first invention, about 1798, was the harp-guitar, which looked like a small pedal harp, but with seven gut strings, tuned like an English guitar, giving a more powerful tone than a guitar. This was followed by the harp-lute-guitar, with longer strings. He worked on the harp-lute between 1810 and 1813, adding five open strings off the fingerboard and a harp-like pillar to support the extra strings, with brass ring stops which could be used to raise their pitch by a semitone. He then went on to develop the British harp-lute, patented in 1816, with devices known as ‘ditals’ which when pressed by the fingers would change the pitch of the strings. This became known as the dital harp and although held like a guitar was in effect a small harp, played with both hands....