Scholes, Percy (Alfred)

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Scholes, Percy (Alfred)

Scholes, Percy (Alfred), eminent English writer on music; b. Leeds, July 24, 1877; d. Vevey, Switzerland, July 31, 1958. (He pronounced his name “Skoles.”) He took his B.Mus. at the Univ. of Oxford in 1908, and his doctorat es lettres from the Univ. of Lausanne (1934) for his study of Puritans and music. He began his career as a church organist; in 1907, founded the Home Music Study Union, and until 1921 ed. its Music Student (later Music Teacher); also wrote for the Evening Standard (1913–20), Observer (1920–27), and the Radio Times (1923–29). He lived in Switzerland (1928–40); then made his home in England (1940–57) until returning to Switzerland. He received many honors, including the degrees of D.Mus. (1943) and D.Litt. (1950) from the Univ. of Oxford, and D.Litt. (1953) from the Univ. of Leeds; was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1957. A writer of great literary attainments and stylistic grace, he succeeded in presenting music “appreciation” in a manner informative and stimulating to the layman and professional alike.


Everyman and His Music (1917); An Introduction to British Music (1918); The Listener’s Guide to Music (1919; 10th ed., 1942); Music Appreciation: Why and How? (1920; fourth ed., 1925); The Book of the Great Musicians (3 vols., 1920); New Works by Modern British Composers (2 series, 1921, 1924); The Beginner’s Guide to Harmony (1922); The Listener’s History of Music (3 vols., 1923–28; fourth ed., 1933); Crotchets (1924); Learning to Listen by Means of the Gramophone (1925); Everybody’s Guide to Broadcast Music (1925); The Appreciation of Music by Means of the Pianola and Duo Art (1925); A Miniature History of Music (1928); The Columbia History of Music through Eye and Ear (5 albums of records with accompanying booklets; 1930–39; eds. in Japanese and Braille); Music and Puritanism (Vevey, 1934); The Puritans and Music in England and New England (London, 1934); Music: The Child and the Masterpiece (1935; American ed., Music Appreciation: Its History and Technics); Radio Times Music Handbook (1935; third ed., 1936; American ed. as The Scholes Music Handbook, 1935); The Oxford Companion to Music (1938; 9th ed., rev., 1955; rev. and aug. by D. Arnold as The New Oxford Companion to Music, 2 vols., 1983); God Save the King: Its History and Romance (1942; new ed. as God Save the Queen! The History and Romance of the World’s First National Anthem, 1954); The Mirror of Music, 1844–1944, A Century of Musical Life in Britain as Reflected in the Pages of the “Musical Times’; (1947); The Great Dr. Burney (2 vols., 1948); Sir John Hawkins: Musician, Magistrate, and Friend of Johnson (1952); The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music (1952; third ed., rev., 1980 by M. Kennedy; rev. and aug. ed., 1985 by Kennedy as The Oxford Dictionary of Music; second ed., rev., 1994); The Oxford Junior Companion to Music (1954; second ed., rev., 1979).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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