Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bremner, Robert

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BREMNER, ROBERT (d. 1789), music publisher, was born in Scotland in the early part of the eighteenth century. He began life as a teacher of singing, but about 1748 set up in business in Edinburgh as a music printer and publisher, at the sign of the Harp and Hautboy, in High Street. Here he published, in 1756, a work entitled 'The Rudiments of Music; or, a Short and Easy Treatise on that Subject. To which is added, A Collection of the best Church tunes, Canons, and Anthems.' This book, which is characterised by its sensible directions for church singing at a time when ecclesiastical music was in a very corrupt state, was reissued in a second edition, published in 1763 at London, whither Bremner had in the meantime removed. His shop in London was at the sign of the Harp and Hautboy, opposite Somerset House in the Strand. Here he continued his publishing business with great success, besides bringing out several collections of 'Scots Songs,' the words of which were by Allan Ramsay, an instruction book for the guitar. 'Thoughts on the Performance of Concert Music,' 'The Harpsichord or Spinnet Miscellany. Being a Gradation of Proper Lessons from the Beginner to the tollerable (sic) Performer. Chiefly intended to save Masters the trouble of writing for their Pupils,' and 'Select Concert Pieces fitted for the Harpsichord or Pianoforte, with an Accompaniment for the Violin.' The last publication, of which several numbers appeared, contains a valuable collection of classical music. In the preface to it, Bremner mentions his having bought the celebrated manuscript wrongly known as 'Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book' at the sale of Dr. Pepusch's library. For this he gave ten guineas: the manuscript passed from his hands into those of Earl Fitzwilliam, and is now preserved in the Fitzwilliam Library at Cambridge. In the latter part of his life Bremner lived at Kensington Gore, where he died 12 May 1789.

[Grove's Dict. of Musicians, i. 273 b, iv. 307 b; Gent. Mag. 1789, i. 471 ; Bremner's works mentioned above.]

W. B. S.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.36
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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258 i 3 Bremner, Robert: for 1763 read 1762