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Clagget, Charles (1740?c. 1795), musician and inventor of improvements for musical instruments, was born in Waterford, Ireland, probably in 1740. This date of birth was preferred by The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, but Edmund van der Straeten believed he was born about 1755. Part of the reason for the dearth of accurate biographical information may be confusion with his brother ...

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Goodey, Tom [performing name Roger Clayson] (1885–1953), parasitologist and singer, the ninth and last child of Thomas Goodey, boot manufacturer, and his wife, Hannah Clayson (d. c.1887), was born on 28 July 1885 at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. He won a scholarship to the ...

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William Herschel (1738–1822) by Lemuel Francis Abbott, 1785 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Herschel, William (1738–1822), musician and astronomer, was born at Hanover on 15 November 1738, and baptized Friedrich Wilhelm. He was the fourth of the ten children (and the third of six to survive infancy) of Isaac Herschel (1707–1767), a former gardener who was then an oboist in the ...

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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....

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Liston, Henry (1771–1836), inventor of a musical instrument and writer on music, the eldest son of Robert Liston, minister of Aberdour, Fife, was born on 30 June 1771. He matriculated at Edinburgh University in 1787 and read physics and mathematics before studying for the church. In 1793 he became minister of the parish of ...

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See McEwen, Alexander Dundas [Alex, Eck]

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Mell, Davis (1604–1662), violinist and clockmaker, was born on 15 November 1604 at Wilton near Salisbury, where his father, Leonard Mell (d. 1641), was in the employ of William Herbert, third earl of Pembroke. Although not appointed to a place in the court musical establishment until late in 1626, ...

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Poekrich [Pockrich], Richard (1696/7–1759), inventor of musical glasses and social and economic reformer, was born in Aghnamallagh, near the town of Monaghan, Ireland, and was descended from a Cromwellian planter family which had been granted land in co. Monaghan in the seventeenth century. His father, a landed gentleman also named ...

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Pole, William (1814–1900), engineer, musician, and authority on whist, was born on 22 April 1814 at Birmingham, the fourth son of Thomas Pole. He was educated at Mr Guy's private school in the city before being apprenticed in 1829 to Charles H. Capper...