William Holder

William Holder FRS (1616 – 24 January 1698) was an English clergyman and music theorist of the 17th century. His most notable work was his widely known 1694 publication A Treatise on the Natural Grounds and Principles of Harmony.[1]


He studied at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where he became a fellow in 1640.[2] He married Susanna Wren, sister of Christopher Wren, in 1643. In 1662 he received a D.D. Oxon., and was a fellow of the Royal Society in 1663. He became a Canon of St. Paul's in 1672, and served as sub-dean of the Chapel Royal from 1674 until 1689 when he resigned. In 1687 he had been preferred to the rectory of Therfield. A few of his musical compositions survive in the British Library in the Harleian MSS 7338 and 7339.[3]

In 1660 at Bletchingdon he taught a deaf mute, Alexander Popham to speak "plainly and distinctly, and with a good and graceful tone". The division of credit for this between Holder and John Wallis became a matter of dispute in the Royal Society.[4][5]

See also


    • Johnson, Jane Troy. The rules for 'Through Bass' and for tuning attributed to Handel, Early Music, February 1989; "...well-circulated and copied about in the first part of the 18th century." footnotes p. 77.
  1. "Holder, William (HLDR633W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. Poole, H. Edmund. The Printing of William Holder's 'Principles of Harmony', Proceedings of the Royal Music Association, vol. 101, 1974. pp. 31–43, at p. 31.
  3. Jonathan Rée, I See a Voice (1999), pp. 107–8.
  4. Elliott, Jane (26 July 2008). "Find could end 350-year science dispute". BBC News. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
  • Holder, William, A Treatise on the Natural Grounds, and Principles of Harmony, facsimile of the 1694 edition, Broude Brothers, New York, 1967.
  • Stanley, Jerome, "William Holder And His Position in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy and Music Theory, The Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, N.Y., 2002.


  1. Miami University Amos Music Library
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.