Born: Feb­ru­a­ry 12, 1841, Bris­tol, Eng­land.

Died: Jan­u­a­ry 3, 1878, Stoke Bi­shop, Eng­land.

Buried: Ar­nos Vale Ce­me­te­ry, Bris­tol, Eng­land.


Alfred was the hus­band of Ma­ry Jane Taps­cott.

He was ed­u­cat­ed at the Bris­tol ci­ty school (Queen Eli­za­beth’s Hos­pi­tal). He dis­played an en­thu­si­asm for mu­sic ear­ly, stu­dy­ing un­der John Da­vid Corfe, or­gan­ist of Bris­tol Ca­thed­ral.

After a brief ex­per­i­ence with com­mer­cial life at Messrs. Tho­mas’ Bris­tol soap works, made mu­sic his pro­fess­ion.

In 1858, he be­came or­gan­ist of St. Paul’s Church, Clif­ton, and was suc­cess­ive­ly or­gan­ist at Ar­ley Cha­pel (1862); High­bu­ry Cha­pel (1863–69); St. Paul’s again (1869–75); Christ Church, Clif­ton (1875–78); and by may­or­al ap­point­ment, of the ma­yor’s cha­pel (St. Mark, Bris­tol) (1873–78).

In 1863 he ed­it­ed, with Fred Mor­gan, the Bris­tol Tune Book, with 342 hymn tunes and chants, a few writ­ten by him­self. The book at once gained po­pu­lar fa­vor, chief­ly among non­con­form­ists.

In a third ed­i­tion, ed­it­ed by El­liot But­ton, the num­ber of tunes reached 900. Its sales ex­ceed­ed 750,000 in Eng­land and the co­lo­nies. Pos­si­bly no other hymn tune book ex­cept Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern has had more in­flu­ence on con­gre­ga­tion­al sing­ing.

In 1863–64 Stone adopt­ed the to­nic sol-fa sys­tem for pur­pos­es of teach­ing, though he did not whol­ly aban­don the old no­ta­tion.

His tu­tor­i­al ap­point­ments in­clud­ed that of mas­ter of sing­ing at Queen Eliz­a­beth’s Hos­pi­tal (1867–76), the Bris­tol Red Maids School (1867–78), and the Blind Asy­lum (1876–78).

He con­duct­ed the Bris­tol Orp­he­us Glee Soc­i­e­ty (found­ed 1844) from 1876 un­til his death, and un­der his rule the so­ci­e­ty flour­ished.

Stone or­gan­ized and trained a male-voice choir in 1872 to com­pete at the na­tion­al mu­sic meet­ings which start­ed that year at the Crys­tal Pal­ace. He won the prize that year, and hon­or­a­ble men­tion the next year.

In 1873, he or­gan­ized the first Bris­tol mu­sic fes­tiv­al. He was sec­re­ta­ry, chose and trained the fes­tiv­al choir of 300 voic­es, and con­duct­ed the pre­lim­in­a­ry con­certs and in­ter­me­di­ate Fes­tiv­al So­ci­e­ty con­certs un­til his death. The cho­rus sing­ing won high praise from cri­tics, and the choir be­came a per­ma­nent in­sti­tu­tion.

For prep­a­ra­to­ry sing­ing class­es, Stone ed­it­ed Pro­gress­ive Ex­er­cis­es for El­e­ment­a­ry and Ad­vanced Mixed Choirs, which is still in use.

He wrote a ser­ies of pa­pers, Hints for El­e­ment­a­ry Teach­ing, in which he strong­ly ad­vo­cat­ed the to­nic sol-fa system.

For a con­tem­plat­ed work on har­mo­ny (ne­ver com­plet­ed), he wrote The Com­mon Sense of the Mi­nor Scale, which was pub­lished in the Ton­ic Sol-fa Re­port­er, Au­gust 1878.

He ad­ju­di­cat­ed at the Welsh Eis­tedd­fo­dau, and tra­veled in Ger­ma­ny with John Cur­wen for the pur­pos­es of his pro­fess­ion.

His last pub­lic app­ear­ance was at a fes­ti­val con­cert, when he con­duct­ed Roec­kel’s Ode in Me­mo­ry of Ti­tiens in No­vem­ber 1877.



Help Needed

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Stone (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),