A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Mace, Thomas

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MACE, Thomas, one of the clerks of Trinity College, Cambridge, was author of a remarkable book published (in small folio, 272 pp., beside 18 pp. of prefatory matter) in 1676, entitled 'Musick's Monument; or, A Remembrancer of the best Practical Musick, both Divine and Civil, that has ever been known to have been in the world,' the first part of which treats of the then condition of parochial psalmody and cathedral music and the means of improving their performance; the second of the lute, including directions for choosing, tuning, repairing, performing on and composing for the instrument, with a full explanation of the tableture and numerous lessons; and the third of the viol and of music generally, with other curious matter. The book is written in a quaint, familiar style, intermingled with a profusion of strangely compounded terms, and produces a striking impression of the author's love of his art and his devout and amiable disposition. It was published by subscription at 12s. per copy in sheets. A lengthy epitome of it is given in Hawkins's History, pp. 727–733, Novello's edition. A few scanty biographical particulars are culled from it, viz. that Mace married in or shortly after 1636; that before the marriage his wife resided in Yorkshire, he in Cambridge; that in 1644 he was in York during the siege of the city by the Parliamentary army; that in consequence of having broken both arms he was compelled to make a shake upon the lute in an irregular manner; that he invented a 'table organ' (described in his book, with an engraving) to accompany a 'consort of viols'; that in consequence of partial deafness rendering the soft tones of the lute inaudible to him, he in 1672 invented a lute of 50 strings, which he termed the Dyphone, or Double Lute; that he had a family, and that his youngest son, John, learned in 1672 to play well upon the lute almost solely by the perusal of the MS. of his book [see Immyns, John]; that the writing of the work was not commenced until after Christinas, 1671, and it was licensed for publication May 5, 1675; and lastly that owing to his increased deafness, which we may presume prevented him pursuing his profession, he was in somewhat straitened circumstances. Hawkins asserts that Mace was born in 1613, evidently arriving at that conclusion from the inscription beneath the portrait (engraved by Faithorne after Cooke) prefixed to his book, 'Ætat. suæ. 63.' But it is probable that the portrait was painted at an earlier date than the year of publication. The date of his death is not known.

[ W. H. H. ]