Cressaed lived around 1200 DR, as a bard, but preferred music and teaching over adventuring. Once he had a name for himself, he founded a music and magic school in Arabel, Cormyr, and his work, A Harper's Companion, was his teaching tool for students. Cressaed preferred to teach smaller groups, and copied each volume by hand.
Upon graduation from his school, each student was presented with a copy of the first volume of A Harper's Companion, and the other two were presented to students who showed increasing magical and musical skill.
Cressaed was found dead in his bed, a victim of poison, and there were suspicions that he was killed because he was believed to be a Harper. No Harper officially stated whether Cressaed was himself a Harper or not.