Donaldson, John (d.1865) (DNB00)

DONALDSON, JOHN (d. 1865), professor of music at Edinburgh, was called to the Scottish bar in 1826. In 1845 he was elected to the Reid professorship of music. Donaldson found the chair inadequately paid, and the funds originally intended for its support diverted to other purposes. He received only 300l. a year, and could obtain no money for the necessary outlay for making the professorship practically useful. In 1850 the matter was brought before the court of session, which decided in Donaldson's favour. His salary was raised to 420l., with allowances for an assistant, yearly musical performances, and class expenses. A music room was built containing a fine organ, and Donaldson gathered together a remarkable collection of instruments, illustrating the history of music and acoustics. His lectures were, however, unsuccessful, for he was not a practical musician, but devoted himself chiefly to the investigation of more obscure questions of acoustics, to which less attention was then paid than now. Latterly his health became very bad, and he died at his house, Marchfield, near Edinburgh, 12 Aug. 1865.

[Scotch newspapers for August 1865.]

W. B. S.