Simpson (Sympson), Christopher

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Simpson (Sympson), Christopher

Simpson (Sympson), Christopher, eminent English viol player, music theorist, and composer; b. probably in Westonby, near Egton, Yorkshire, c. 1605; d. probably in Holborn, London, between May 5 and July 29, 1669. He fought on the Royalist side in the English Civil War (1643–44) and later entered the service of Sir Robert Bolles as music tutor to the latter’s son. His playing, and compositions won him great esteem.


The Division-violist, or, An Introduction to the Playing Upon a Ground (London, 1659; second ed., rev., 1665 as Chelys minuritionum artificio exornata/The Division-viol, or the Art of Playing Extempore upon a Ground; third ed., 1712); The Principles of Practical Musick (London, 1665; second ed., rev. and aug., 1667 as A Compendium of Practical Musick; ed by P. Lord, Oxford, 1970); also annotations to T. Campion in J. Playford, A Brief Introduction to the Skill of Musick (London, second ed., 1655).


Airs in The Principles of Practical Musick (see Writings above); various other airs in MS; divisions in The Division- violist (see Writings above); various other divisions in MS; fantasias and fantasia-suites in MS.


M. Meredith, C. Simpson and the Consort of Viols (diss., Univ. of Wales, Cardiff, 1969).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Simpson (Sympson), Christopher

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