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Burney, A History of Music: Charles Burney

By Alex Drews, Micah Simmons, and Leo Zigmond

Picture of Charles Burney

Joshua Reynolds, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Charles Burney

Charles Burney (1726-1814) was an English composer, musician, teacher, and music historian who found lasting success from his various essays and writings on music. In 1770, Burney toured the major cities of Italy to gather material for his publication, The Present State of Music in France and Italy. He then did the same in 1772, this time traveling through Austria and Germany, and meeting with composers such as Gluck and C.P.E Bach for his next publication, The Present State of Music in Germany, The Netherlands, and the United Provinces. Burney dedicated a large portion of his writing to completing his multivolume General History of Music, working on it from 1776 to 1789. The RBI is fortunate enough to contain all four volumes of General History of Music as well as The Present State of Music in France and Italy.