On the book itself: This is an important 18th-century treatise on singing by castrato Giambattista Mancini, which, after discussion of some of the famous singers of the author's time, details singing techniques (and particularly styles of ornamentation) of the period. Originally written in obtuse and syntactically poor Italian, it has been translated into English twice in the 20th century, in 1912 (by Pietro Buzzi) and in 1957 (by Edward Foreman).
This General Books edition is evidently a scan (using 'Optical Character Recognition') of the 1912 edition, though it nowhere tells you which edition it is using. In fact, to call it an 'edition' is a misnomer, because that would imply some editing had taken place. Instead, the 'character recognition' software has been left to do its work and the results printed without any check on the document. The resulting text has frequent, glaring spelling errors, nonsensical or incomplete sentences, and -- crucially -- absolutely none of the music examples that the author discusses.
General Books asks the reader to 'please forgive any spelling mistakes, missing or extraeneous characters that may have resulted from smudged or worn pages' with the justification that they wish to 'keep the cost of the book as low as possible'. But the cost of this book is nowhere near low enough to justify the errors or incomplete nature of the text. The Foreman edition (recognisable by the title difference: Practical Reflections on Figured Singing) is also available and (although I've not yet seen the edition being sold), I would guess it to be a better purchase than this volume -- it would be a feat indeed if it were worse! Beware General Books publications!
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