John Playford (1623–1686) was a London-based bookseller, publisher, minor composer, and member of the Stationers' Company. Born in Norwich, he served an apprenticeship with publisher John Benson before opening his own shop in the porch of Temple Church in London. Playford published books on music theory, instruction books for several instruments, and psalters with tunes for singing in churches. He is perhaps best known today for his publication of The English Dancing Master in 1651, during the period of the Puritan-dominated Commonwealth. This work contains both the music and instructions for English country dances. Although many of the tunes in the book are attributed to him today, he probably did not write any of them. Most were popular melodies that had existed for years. His cultural impact is significant as his work remains the principal source of knowledge of English country dance steps and melodies. His shop was also a meeting place for musical enthusiasts, including Samuel Pepys, a frequent customer.

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