Archibald Thompson Davison became Professor Emeritus of Music at Harvard at the close of the academic year 1953-1954, He had taught.
there for forty-one year with undiminished vigor.
On October 11, 1953, his seventieth birthday was celebrated. This volume of essays was written in homage to him on that occasion.
The year before, the Music Department had undertaken to sponsor such
a volume and invitations had been sent out for the voluntary contribution
of essays. It is not easy to decide which among Dr Davison’s friends might
most appropriately be asked to contribute. In the end, to keep the volume to a reasonable size, the list had to be confined to his past and present
musical colleagues at Harvard and to those who had received
advanced degrees under his instruction. A few who were invited were
prevented by circumstances from accepting. Many more would gladly
have contributed. Those who were able to contribute have done so con amort.
The authors were given complete freedom in the choice of subject.
The wide variety of topics chosen and of periods of musical history treated
is testimony to the breadth of Dr Davison’s taste and to the sweep of his interests. With regard to those of the authors who studied under him,
the marked variety of treatment testifies also to the freedom of his teaching and to his assiduous avoidance
of anything approaching Procrustean methodology in musicological matters.
The variety of topics which the authors chose made it not altogether easy
to determine the order in which the essays might best be arranged.
The chronological grouping by principal epochs seemed logical
This arrangement of the essays also shows that, while certain epochs have received more attention than
others, many important phases of musical history are touched upon.