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James Alexander Hamilton (music writer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Alexander Hamilton (1785–1845) was an English compiler of musical instruction books.


The son of a dealer in old books, Hamilton was born in London. He taught himself from books in his father's shop, acquiring a knowledge of languages and music. He translated major works in foreign languages, as well as compiling instructional and music theory books.[1]

Hamilton sold his copyrights, drank, and died in poverty on 2 August 1845.[2]


Significant translations by Hamilton included Cherubini's Counterpoint and Fugue, and treatises by Pierre Baillot, Bartolomeo Campagnoli, Carl Czerny, Jan Ladislav Dussek, Pierre Rode, and Johann Gottfried Vierling.[1][2] His Pianoforte Tutor reached its 13th edition in 1849, and saw very frequent reprintings over half a century. Others publications by Hamilton were: Dictionary of ... Musical Terms (1836?); Invention, Exposition, Development, and Concatenation of Musical Ideas (1838); Johann Nepomuk Maelzel's Metronome; Friedrich Kalkbrenner's Handguide; Introduction to Choral Singing (1841); and Method for Double Bass.[1]

In parts vii. to xi. of D'Almaine & Co.'s "Library of Musical Knowledge" appeared Hamilton's Choral Singing as adapted to Church Psalmody, 1841–3; Sacred Harmony, 1843, and some primers.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1890). "Hamilton, James Alexander" . Dictionary of National Biography. 24. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. ^ a b Golby, David J. "Hamilton, James Alexander". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12099. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

External links


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainStephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1890). "Hamilton, James Alexander". Dictionary of National Biography. 24. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

This page was last edited on 4 January 2021, at 06:42
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