The Keyboard in London

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We (Mike Lurie, Greg Dunbar, Lauren Buono, Shawn Riley & Bryn Coveney) are a group of students studying abroad in London for the semester from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. This blog is to document our class experiences in "The Keyboard and it's Role in London Society" course, which is being taught by Diane Birr at the Ithaca College London Center, in South Kensington. Our studies focus on keyboard instruments (the Virginal, Harpsichord, Pianoforte, Piano, Organ, Electronic keyboard) and explore how these instruments are historically interwoven with the personal and social fabric of London society.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys is well known for his detailed accounts of historic events, kept in his personal diary between 1660 and 1669. Along with his infamous diary, he held positions of prominence as an English Naval Administrator, a Member of Parliament, a musician, amateur composer and critic. The correct pronunciation of his surname is the same as the English word “peeps”.

His Diary
• Documented events such as the Great Plague of London, 
         the Second Dutch War and the Great Fire of London
 • The diary was never meant to be published, and was 
         written in shorthand
 • A "tryangle" is constantly mentioned, which was actually 
         a spinet
  • Motives for starting the diary:
         - Death of Oliver Cromwell in September 1658
         - Pepys's recovery from a bladder stone operation
         - His own vanity

His Musical Background
• His father played the bass viol
• His sister played keyboard since his birth
• Samuel had no record of early lessons
• A striking virginal existed in a corner of the Pepys 
• The family lived near Bulstrode Whitelock, causing a 
         constant stream of music to fill the air from his daily 
• Pepys often raved about and criticized music within the 
         pages of his diary

Information provided by Greg

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