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Thomas Greeting

Thomas Greeting (d. 6th May 1682)

Thomas Greeting was a court musician who became one of the first English exponents of the French flageolet.

Little is known about Greeting's early life and his date of birth and origins are still unknown. In December 1662, he was appointed as Musitian [sic] in Ordinary Without Fee to King Charles II and by 1668 had become listed in the roll of the Twenty-Four Violinists at Court. Around this time he wrote his most famous work The Pleasant Companion, or New Lessons on the Fagelet. Samuel Pepys bought a hand copied version of it in 1668 and took lessons for himself and his wife from Greeting. Printed versions appeared soon afterwards, with a least seven editions being printed in the next few years. His first paid post was in March 1674 when he was appointed as sackbut player and violinist to the Chapel Royal, however, he was already making a comfortable living playing, teaching and dealing in flageolets. His life was, however, cut short on the 6th May 1682 when the frigate he was in, the HMS Gloucester, ran aground near Yarmouth, in Norfolk, whilst on the way to Leith, in Scotland. Many of those on board, including Greeting, were killed and British history may have been changed quite dramatically had the Duke of Norfolk (the future King James II), also on board, not survived. Following his death, his wife was paid a pension from Secret Service funds which may suggest that Greeting had more talents than just musical ones.

From Greeting's Pleasant Companion:

A line drawing of a French flageolet player