Playford, John , English music publisher, father of Henry Playford ; b. Norfolk, 1623; d. London, Nov. 1686. He was an apprentice (1639–47) to the publisher John Benson before setting up his own business. He began publishing music in 1651, his his most important publication being The English Dancing Master (London, 1651; many rev. eds. to 1728). Among his other publications, all printed in London, were A Musicali Banquet (1651), Musick’s Recreation on the Lyra Viol (1652; 4th ed., 1682), J. Hilton’s Catch That Catch Can (1652; many eds. to c. 1720), A Catalogue of All the Musik Bookes…Printed in England (1653), his own A Breefe Introduction to the Skill of Musick (1654; 2nd ed., enl., 1655, with T. Campion’s “Art of Composing”; many eds. to 1730), Court Ayres (1655; 2nd ed., rev., 1662, as Courtly Masquing Ayres), his own The Whole Book of Psalmes collected into English Meeter (1661; many later eds.), Apollo’s Banquet for the Treble Violin (1669; many eds. to 1701), his own Psalms and Hymns in Solemn Musick for 4 Voices (1671), Choice Songs and Ayres for Voice and Theorbo or Bass Viol (5 books, 1673, 1679, 1681, 1683, 1684), and The Whole Book of Psalmes (1677; many eds. to 1757).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire