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cover (1890s)
G&S vocal score cover
cover (1900)
Chappell-Harms cover (1930s)



Chappell is a British firm best known as a publisher of operettas and popular music from 1870 to 1940.

On 3 December 1810, the composer Johann Baptist Cramer, along with Francis Tatton Latour and Samuel Chappell (1782-1834) formed a partnership in London, naming it after Chappell. The new firm sold pianos, promoted concerts, and other musical activities along with publishing music. Cramer withdrew from the partnership in 1819, and Latour in 1826. Despite this, Chappell formed partnerships with the London instrument makers George Longman and T. C. Bates.
Samuel Chappell was married, with three sons William, Thomas and Samuel. After Chappell's death, Emily Chappell (his widow) continued operating the business along with her son William (1809-1888). William Chappell was conspicuous in the founding of the Musical Antiquarian Society, which met at Chappell's premises. William published the first volume of the society's publications in 1840. However, he later left the firm by 1844 to join Cramer and Beale (thereafter Cramer, Beale and Chappell).

William's brother Thomas Patey Chappell (1819-1902) expanded the company greatly, with piano manufacture (1840s), while the publishing division concentrated on light dance music by composers like Charles D'Albert and light opera - starting with Balfe's The Bohemian Girl in 1843. The youngest brother, Samuel Arthur Chappell (1834-1904) directed a series of concerts sponsored by the firm, featuring artists such as Clara Schumann and Piatti in addition to organizing Dickens public readings (1866-70). The firm's emphasis in light opera resulted in the establishment of a relationship with Gilbert and Sullivan by the late 1870s, which resulted in Chappell's publication of the vast majority of their output (1878-1891).

After a short dip, a new impulse was given to the firm by the arrival of William Boosey. He was related to the Boosey &Co. company family. Under Boosey's leadership, Chappell was a notable force in campaigning against musical piracy - contributing to the Copyright Act of 1906. From 1915 to 1926, Chappell managed the Proms concerts held in London's new Queen's Hall.

There was considerable interchange between London and New York popular music publishers in the first half of the 20th century, as can be seen from the relations between Francis, Day & Hunter of London and T.B. Harms of New York. So it was not surprising that Chappell was sold to the Dreyfus family in 1929. Max Dreyfus was the owner of T.B. Harms (New York), the giants of Tin Pan Alley and Broadway, from 1901 to 1929. As a result of this link with the popular music world, Chappell continued to focus on lighter music, publishing musical comedies by English composers like Noel Coward and Ivor Novello and Americans such as Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and Rodgers and Hammerstein.

However, concert music was not completely forgotten, and works of prominent British composers like Arnold Bax continued to be published by the firm up until its sale to PolyGram in 1968. Chappell also served as Schirmer's British agent from 1938-1973. After the sale to PolyGram, the emphasis shifted to pop music. The firm was sold in 1984 to a group of USA investors, ultimately sold by them to media giant Warner in 1987. The new resulting firm, Warner-Chappell is one of the largest music publishing companies in the world.


Imprints, Agencies, Addresses

  • Chappell & Co., 124 New Bond Street (1811-ca. 1819)
  • Chappell & Co., 50 New Bond Street (ca. 1819-1826)
  • Samuel Chappell, 135 New Bond Street (ca. 1826-1830)
  • Samuel Chappell, 50 New Bond Street (ca. 1830-1834)
  • Chappell's, 50 New Bond Street (1834-1844)
  • Chappell & Co., 50 New Bond Street (1844-1970s)

Additional locations

  • 49 New Bond Street (ca. 1857-ca. 1906)
  • 51 New Bond Street (ca. 1869-1898)
  • 52 New Bond Street (ca. 1877-1898)
  • 15 Poultry (ca. 1879-1890)
  • 14 Poultry (ca. 1885-1890)

Plate Numbers

Plate Composer Work Year
00310 Ries 6 Exercises, Op.31 1816
06026 Caryll Chin-Chin (vocal score) 1914
C. 6140 Lehár Die lustige Witwe (Ross translation, published NY) 1907
06391 Lehár Zigeunerliebe (Smith translation) 1911
09218 Albert Lillian 1854
16887 Drew Minuet 1880
17218 Sullivan Patience (vocal score) 1881
17614 Sullivan Iolanthe (vocal score) 1882
21266 Sullivan The Emerald Isle (vocal score) 1901
23260 Lehár Die lustige Witwe (Ross translation, published London) 1907
24607 Tosti 2 Little Songs 1910
27962 Frey Rosalie 1922
38363 Bax Piano Trio (No.2), GP 367 (sc & pts) 1946
38654 Bax Gloria, GP 363 1947
  • Plate numbers for later issues (and/or New York printings?) often included a prefix of "C."

IMSLP Entries

Plate #Full PlateComposerWorkIMSLP #Full YearYear

Sources Consulted

  • 1. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie.
New York and London: Macmillan Publications, 1980.
  • 2. Humphries, Charles and William C. Smith. Music Publishing in the British Isles from the Beginning Until the Middle of the Nineteenth Century.
Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1970.

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