Busby, Thomas, English writer on music; b. Westminster, Dec. 1755; d. London, May 28, 1838. He was a chorister in London, then studied with Battishill (1769–74). He served as church organist at St. Mary’s, Newington, Surrey, and St. Mary Woolnoth, Lombard Street. He obtained the degree of B.Mus. from Cambridge Univ. in 1801. In collaboration with Arnold, he publ. A Complete Dictionary of Music (1801); he then publ. A Grammar of Music (1818) and A General History of Music (2 vols., compiled from Burney and Hawkins; London, 1819; reprinted 1968). In 1825 he brought out a set of 3 little vols, entitled Concert Room and Orchestra Anecdotes of Music and Musicians, Ancient and Modern, a compilation of some topical value, even though many of the stories are apocryphal. He also publ. A Musical Manual, or Technical Directory (1828). His anthology of sacred music, The Divine Harmonist (1788), is valuable. His own compositions (oratorios and odes) are imitative of Handel. A melodrama, Tale of Mystery, with Busby’s music, was produced at Co vent Garden (Nov. 13, 1807).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire