Playford, John



An English music-publisher and composer; son of John Playford of Norwich. He was a bookseller in 1648, and in 1650 published The English Dancing Master, containing rules for country dances, with music to them for the treble violin. This work went through seventeen editions up to 1728, after his death being brought out by Henry Playford and later by William Pearson and William Young. Playford's shop was near the Temple Church, of which he was clerk from 1653. He was an industrious worker, popular with the prominent men of his day, who called him Honest John Playford, and his works include all the prominent publications up to 1685, when he was succeeded by his son Henry. The first edition of his Introduction to the Skill of Musick was published in 1654. For almost a hundred years this was the standard text-book and from it many had their musical training. Other books published were Psalms and Hymns in Solemn Musick; The Whole Booke of Psalms with the usual Hymns and Spiritual songs; Hilton's Catch that Catch Can; The Musical Companion; Courtly Masquing Ayres; Music k's Recreation on the viol, Harp-way; Musick's Delight of the Cither; Musick's Handmaide, new lessons for the Virginals and harpsichord; Apollo's Banquet, and many others.