William Thomson (musicologist)
He is said to have been the son of Daniel Thomson, one of the king's trumpeters for Scotland. As a boy singer, he sang at a concert - The Feast of St. Cecillia - in 1695. Before 1722, he had settled in London, and according to Charles Burney had a benefit concert that year. He appears to have become a fashionable singer, as his volume, dedicated to Caroline of Ansbach, Princess of Wales, contains a lengthy list of notable persons as subscribers.
He was the editor of the first collection of Scottish folk songs published together with their melodies. This is a folio named Orpheus Caledonius, a collection of the best Scotch songs set to Musick, entered at Stationers' Hall on 5 January 1725. The book consists of 50 songs with their airs, along with a simple accompaniment. A second volume, in two volumes octavo, had another 50 added.
The two editions are interesting and valuable, although Sir John Hawkins described him as a tradesman and said that his collection was injudicious and incorrect. The words of the songs were largely taken from Allan Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany, published in 1724.
- Kidson, F. (1922) "Thomson, William", Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians
- Digitised copies of volumes 1 and 2 of Orpheus Caledonius, or, A collection of Scots song by William Thomson, 1733 at National Library of Scotland
- Works by or about William Thomson (musicologist) in libraries (WorldCat catalog)