Music gives Peace


The articles were to be illustrated by 63 engraved plates as well as numerous examples of music, typeset within text matter of the articles. There were to be 38 plates of musical examples illustrating fingering, counterpoint etc., 15 illustrating musical instruments, 4 illustrating the organ, 4 illustrating dramatic machinery, and 2 miscellaneous plates of with more musical instruments. According to a note added to the catalogue of plates in Vol 39 of Rees, ten of the musical examples were to illustrate the music of Haydn and Mozart as well as national airs of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales etc., but this plan were discarded to save cost, so the plates were never produced. So the actual number of plates published was 53.

Each entry in the lists has a length in columns. A column has approximately 670 words, so it is possible to gauge the length of each article. While the majority of the articles have some length, 337 or 6% are brief (3 or 4 lines or fewer), dictionary definitions, or cross references. Many of the former are terms derived from French and Italian. The encyclopaedic-length articles are usually longer than Burney's earlier published writings on the same topic.

It is clear that when the work was being published, a number of the printed sheets were re-imposed, with additional material, so bound sets of the work can vary slightly.

Charles Burney was well known as the author of A General History of Music, 4 vol, 1776–1789 and two travel diaries recording his Musical Tours collecting information in France and Italy, and later Germany, 1+2 vol, 1771 and 1773, as well as the Commoration of Handel, 1785 and his Musical Memoirs of Metastasio, 1796. Burney wrote the articles for Rees between 1801 and 1805, and continued to revise them as they were due for publication until about 1808. Burney died in 1814, and the articles continued to appear posthumously until the final volume, in 1819. After Burney's death, a writer in The Harmonicon, and later, editors of early editions of Grove, claimed that most of the articles in Rees were 'extracted without alteration from his History of Music.' This is certainty true in some instances but Burney also re-wrote material from his earlier writings for the Rees articles and expanded it there. There is much completely new information covering the musical events of the last quarter of the eighteenth century and the first years of the nineteenth. The lists of articles have been annotated to show where the information had previously appeared from Mercer's edition of his History and Scholes's edition of his Musical Tours, and these also serve to indicate which of the articles were completely new to the Cyclopaedia. As well as named articles, Burney also contributed musical material in paragraphs included in other topics, such as the British royalty, where he discussed the musical life of many of the reigns.