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Saint Cecilia's Hall in the Niddry Wynd
A Chapter in the History of the Music of the Past in Edinburgh by David Fraser Harris (1899)


It is commonly said that no one nowadays reads a preface. If this be true, I am indeed sorry, as it is here that I desire to tender my sincere thanks to Mr. Andrew Cairns, the present owner of St. Cecilia’s Hall, for allowing me on several occasions to inspect the old place; to Mr. Ramsay, of Messrs. John C. Brodie and Sons, W.S., for his kindness in permitting me to examine title-deeds; to the officials in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh, and in the Library of the University of Glasgow, for their patient courtesy in supplying me with the many books which I had from time to time to consult.

It also gives me much pleasure to express my indebtedness to Mr. Robert A. Marr, C.A., Edinburgh, than whom probably no one in Scotland knows more of the rise of choral societies. Mr. Marr not only furnished me with copies of his works on musical subjects, but placed at my disposal, for purposes of illustration in this work, his interesting collection of portraits of musicians, as well as several unique musical relics, amongst which I would specially mention the manuscript copy of the ‘Index to the whole Musick belonging to the Edinburgh Musical Society, 1782.'/ From this precious volume, the only one of its kind, and therefore absolutely un-replaceable, Mr. Marr gave permission to reproduce the page we thought the most interesting.

To Mr. John Glen, musical-instrument maker, Edinburgh, my sincere thanks are due for his kindness in critically reading Chapter IV., which deals with subjects—foreign musicians in Edinburgh and the origin of Scottish song-tunes— upon which, from his life-long study of them, he can speak with indisputable authority.


Chapter I The Locality
Chapter II The Building, and the Name
Chapter III The Architect
Chapter IV The Players and the Singers in St. Cecilia's Hall
Chapter V The Music Performed and Sung in St. Cecilia's Hall
Chapter VI Various Accounts of the Old Edinburgh Concerts
Chapter VII The Audience
Chapter VIII The Rise and Development of the Concert in Edinburgh

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