William Chappell

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b. 20 November 1809, England, d. 20 August 1888, England. His father, Samuel Chappell, founded a music company. In 1840, William Chappell established the Musical Antiquarian Society and began collecting…
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b. 20 November 1809, England, d. 20 August 1888, England. His father, Samuel Chappell, founded a music company. In 1840, William Chappell established the Musical Antiquarian Society and began collecting and noting down numerous English songs. He published these in book form, National English Airs (1838) and Popular Music Of The Olden Time (1859). These books, especially the latter, became standard treatises on English folk music and were updated periodically, including an edited version by Professor H.E. Wooldridge. The music Chappell collected ranged through traditional folk songs, sea shanties, songs sung by children to accompany their games, and many other forms. Chappell was clearly aware of the differences in songs between the various regions of England and sought to accommodate all parts of the country in his song-gathering activities. Chappell’s endeavours were encouraged by piano manufacturers, who recognized the commercial advantage of having a readily available and substantial body of sheet music. Not surprisingly, therefore, the songs Chappell published are arranged for piano.

Meanwhile, Chappell’s brother, Thomas Patey Chappell, had not only built the music publishing side of the family business into a leading source of sheet music, he had also begun presenting a series of concerts at London’s St. James’ Hall, which ran through the last decades of the nineteenth century under the control of another brother, S. Arthur Chappell. In modern times, Chappell’s company maintained its role at the forefront of music publishing and remains in business in the early 00s as a part of the Entertainment Group Inc. group of companies, which also includes Warner Bros.