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Observations on the Florid Song or Sentiments on the Ancient and Modern Singers   By: (ca. 1653-1732)

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[The spelling of the original has been retained.]



Florid Song;




Ancient and Modern SINGERS,

Written in Italian


Of the Phil Harmonic Academy

at Bologna .

Translated into English


Useful for all PERFORMERS, Instrumental as well as Vocal .

To which are added


and Examples in MUSICK.

Ornari Res ipsa negat, contenta doceri.


Printed for J. WILCOX, at Virgil's Head, in the Strand . 1743.

Note , By the Ancient , our Author means those who liv'd about thirty or forty Years ago; and by the Modern the late and present Singers.

N.B. The Original was printed at Bologna, in the Year 1723.

Reprinted from the Second Edition by WILLIAM REEVES Bookseller Ltd., 1a Norbury Crescent, London, S.W. 16


Made in England



Lovers of MUSICK.


Persons of Eminence, Rank, Quality, and a distinguishing Taste in any particular Art or Science, are always in View of Authors who want a Patron for that Art or Science, which they endeavour to recommend and promote. No wonder therefore, I should have fix'd my Mind on You, to patronize the following Treatise.

If there are Charms in Musick in general, all the reasonable World agrees, that the Vocal has the Pre eminence, both from Nature and Art above the Instrumental: From Nature because without doubt it was the first; from Art , because thereby the Voice may be brought to express Sounds with greater Nicety and Exactness than Instruments.

The Charms of the human Voice, even in Speaking, are very powerful. It is well known, that in Oratory a just Modulation of it is of the highest Consequence. The Care Antiquity took to bring it to Perfection, is a sufficient Demonstration of the Opinion they had of its Power; and every body, who has a discerning Faculty, may have experienced that sometimes a Discourse, by the Power of the Orator's Voice, has made an Impression, which was lost in the Reading.

But, above all, the soft and pleasing Voice of the fair Sex has irresistible Charms and adds considerably to their Beauty.

If the Voice then has such singular Prerogatives, one must naturally wish its Perfection in musical Performances, and be inclined to forward any thing that may be conducive to that end. This is the reason why I have been more easily prevail'd upon to engage in this Work, in order to make a famous Italian Master , who treats so well on this Subject, familiar to England ; and why I presume to offer it to your Protection.

The Part, I bear in it, is not enough to claim any Merit; but my endeavouring to offer to your Perusal what may be entertaining, and of Service, intitles me humbly to recommend myself to your Favour: Who am,

LADIES and GENTLEMEN, Your most devoted, And most obedient Humble Servant ,




Prefatory Discourse


Some Account of the AUTHOR.

Pier. Francesco Tosi , the Author of the following Treatise, was an Italian , and a Singer of great Esteem and Reputation. He spent the most part of his Life in travelling, and by that Means heard the most eminent Singers in Europe , from whence, by the Help of his nice Taste, he made the following Observations. Among his many Excursions, his Curiosity was raised to visit England , where he resided for some time in the Reigns of King James the Second, King William , King George the First, and the Beginning of his present Majesty's: He dy'd soon after, having lived to above Fourscore. He had a great deal of Wit and Vivacity, which he retained to his latter Days. His manner of Singing was full of Expression and Passion; chiefly in the Stile of Chamber Musick. The best Performers in his Time thought themselves happy when they could have an Opportunity to hear him. After he had lost his Voice, he apply'd himself more particularly to Composition; of which he has given Proof in his Cantata's , which are of an exquisite Taste, especially in the Recitatives , where he excels in the Pathetick and Expression beyond any other... Continue reading book >>

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