Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Fillmore, John Comfort

(b Franklin, CT, 4 Feb 1843; d Taftville, CT, 14 Aug 1898). American writer on music. He studied the organ at Oberlin College, then (1866–7) at Leipzig; he held appointments at Oberlin (1867–8), Ripon College, Wisconsin (1868–78), Milwaukee College for Women (1878–84), Milwaukee School of Music (1884–95) and Pomona College, California (1895). Fillmore was one of the first American writers to take a serious interest in the study of traditional (primarily Amerindian) musics. He believed that, according to the natural laws of physics and acoustics, the music of all cultures, like Western art music, has a harmonic basis in major and minor triads. Since few trained musicians shared his interest, his elaborate but misguided evolutionary scheme outlining the origin and development of all music received little criticism until after his death. Fillmore claimed to have transcribed many recordings collected by Alice Cunningham Fletcher, Franz Boas and others for their publications, but recent research does not corroborate this. His greatest contributions were his textbooks on Western music, which were widely read.


Pianoforte Music: its History with Biographical Sketches and Critical Estimates of its Greatest Masters (n.p., 1883)

New Lessons in Harmony, to which is Added ‘The Nature of Harmony’ by Dr. Hugo Riemann (Philadelphia, 1887)

Lessons in Musical History (Philadelphia, 1888)


J.C. McNutt: ‘John Comfort Fillmore: a Student of Indian Music Reconsidered’, American Music, ii/1 (1984), 61–70


Filmer, Edward

(b East Sutton, Kent, 1589 or 1590; d 1650). English amateur musician and music editor. He was the second son of Sir Edward Filmer of East Sutton, Kent (sheriff of Kent in 1615) and the younger brother of the royalist author Sir Robert Filmer, with whose son, Sir Edward (d 1668) he is sometime confused. Educated at Canterbury, he matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1606 and at Gray’s Inn in 1617. In 1629 he published an anthology of French airs de cour with English translations (similar to Robert Dowland’s A Musicall Banquet, 1610).

On 13 March 1630 he was sworn ‘An Esquire of His Majesty's Body’, an unremunerated honorific. Filmer had dedicated his French Court-aires to Charles I’s French queen, Henrietta Maria, but these events of 1629–39 notwithstanding, any further advancement at court eluded him. He appears to have led a retired life as an agent for his older brother, a resident of Maidstone and East Sutton, Kent and a minor landowner in that county until his death.

The Filmer collection of manuscript and printed music at Yale University (US-NH; see Ford) spans the 1570s through the 1740s but includes only a few materials from Edward Filmer’s time, chiefly the first six volumes of Gabriel Bataille’s Airs de différents autheurs (Paris, 1608–1615). The earlier layers of the first two manuscripts in the Filmer collection date from the period 1588–1605 and have no clear connections with the Filmer family, while the later layers, together with manuscripts 3–5, are largely the work of a professional musician perhaps associated with Sir Edward Filmer, the nephew, working between about 1635 and 1665. These include a dance entitled ‘Sir E.F. his French Ayre’. The 1729 catalogue of books belonging to the 3rd Baronet Filmer, another Edward (GB-MA U120/Z4), mentions an ‘Airs Nouveau 1608’, probably identifiable as Jacques Mangeant’s musical publication. A few of Filmer’s Court-aires had figured in Mangeant’s three collections of that year.

Filmer’s French Court-aires contains 17 airs de cour by Pierre Guédron and two by Antoine Boësset, with translated texts; the French texts are given at the end of the volume. Most of the airs are known from prints published in Paris between 1608 and 1618; two had also appeared in A Musicall Banquet. The dedication implies that Henrietta Maria may have known or even sung the songs herself, but it is unlikely that Filmer’s selection represented her preferences in 1629. In a long preface Filmer described the problems of scansion in translating the texts, noting that ‘the French … led rather by their free Fant’sie of Aire …, do often … invert the natural stroke of a verse … [because of] … the Even pronunciation of their Tongue’. The musical style of most of the songs derives from their flexible rhythm; four are from ballets de cour, and three others are in dance-like rhythms. All are printed in the layout of earlier English publications, showing versions in parts, and for solo voice with lute tablature, on double pages. In France the latter versions were published separately, many of the lute parts being by Gabriel Bataille. There are some discrepancies between Filmer’s versions and those in the French prints – often minor details in the tablatures – and in three songs the lute or voice parts (or both) conform more closely to the versions in parts than to the lute arrangements.


all by P. Guédron or A. Boësset

French Court-aires, with their Ditties Englished, 1v or 4/5vv, lute, b viol (London, 1629/R); 2 ed. in EL, 2nd ser., xx (1968); 2 ed. in A. Verchaly, Airs de cour pour voix et luth (1603–1643) (Paris, 1961)


J. Foster, ed.: The Register of Admissions to Gray’s Inn, 1521–1889 (London, 1889), 148

J. and J.A. Venn: Alumni cantabrigienses, ii: From the Earliest Times to 1751 (Cambridge, 1922–7/R)

A. Verchaly: ‘A propos des chansonniers de Jacques Mangeant (1608–1615)’, Mélanges d’histoire d’esthétiques musicales offerts &a Paul-Marie Masson, ii (Paris, 1955), 169–77

A. Verchaly: ‘Les ballets de cour d’après les recueils de musique vocale (1600–1643)’, Cahiers de l’Association internationale des études françaises, ix (1957), 198–218

G.E. Aylmer: The King’s Servants: the Civil Service of Charles I 1625–1642 (London, 1961, 2/1974)

D. Till: A Transcription and Critical Study of Edward Filmer’s ‘French Court-Aires English’d’ (diss., U. of London, 1967)

R. Ford: ‘The Filmer Manuscripts: a Handlist’, Notes, xxiv (1978), 814–25


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