Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mace, Thomas

MACE, THOMAS (1619?–1709?), musician, was born in 1613, according to an engraved portrait by Faithorne prefixed to his 'Mustek's Monument,' 1676, and inscribed 'ætat. suæ 63.' But this portrait was pro- bably drawn some time before the publication of the book. Bromley, in his 'Catalogue of Portraits,' states that Mace died in 1709, at the age of ninety; the date of his birth, according to this computation, would be 1619.

Mace lived at Cambridge, and was one of the clerks of Trinity College. About 1636 he married a Yorkshire lady, and he was in York in 1644, when the city was besieged by the parliamentary party.

Mace was an accomplished lutenist, but suffered from deafness, and the softer tones of the lute were inaudible to him. In order to lessen the effects of his infirmity he devised, in 1672, a lute of fifty strings, which he named the 'dyphone, or double lute' (cf. Musick's Monument). He had, moreover, at one time broken both his arms, and never recovered their full use ; he was therefore compelled to adopt an original method of producing a 'shake' upon the lute (ib.) He also invented a 'table-organ,'

In 1675 Mace published a pamphlet 'for a Publick Good,' under the title of 'Profit, Conveniency, and Pleasure to the whole Nation. Being a short Rational Discourse, lately presented to his Majesty concerning the High-ways of England : their Badness, the Causes thereof, the Reasons of those Causes.' To this work was appended an announcement that Mace was about to publish a work on music, on which he had been engaged since Christmas 1671. It was licensed for the press on 5 May 1675, and while it was in the printer's hands Mace stayed at Mr. Nathaniel Thompson's, his printer's, in New Street, London. It was duly published by subscription, at twelve shillings a copy, in 1676, as 'Mustek's Monument ; or a Remembrancer of the best Practical Musick, both divine and civil, that has ever been known to be in the World.' An adequate analytical description of the book, which is quaintly written, is given in Hawkins's 'History of Music.' Burnet calls it matchless, and Southey devotes four chapters of his 'Doctor' to a discussion of its merits. The work is divided into three parts, of which the first treats of the condition of parochial psalmody and cathedral music, and the means of improving them ; the second, of the lute and lute-playing ; and the third, of the viol and of music in general.

In 1676 Mace was living with his wife in 'St. Buttolph's Parish, near Queens Colledge, Cambridge.' In 1690, according to Fétis, Mace came to London, set up an establishment for the sale of music and musical instruments, and gave lessons upon the theorbo, lute, and viol, and instruction in composition. His deafness appears to have told against his success, and he was consequently in straitened circumstances.

He had a family, one of whom, his youngest son, John, learned in 1672 to play upon the lute almost solely by reading the manuscript of his father's 'Musick's Monument.' The musician John Immvns [q. v.] is also recorded to have taught himself the use of the same instrument at the age of forty, by the unaided instruction of Mace's book. In 1676 Mace's brother, Henry, was ' sub-chantor ' of York Cathedral, and he had a cousin, Thomas Mace, residing at Norwich.

[Grove's Dict. of Music, ii. 185; Fetis's Biog. Univ. des Musiciens, v. 391 ; Bromley's Cat. of Portraits, p. 240; Hawkins's Hist, of Music (Novello's edit), pp. 726-33 ; Mace's Works.]

R. F. S.