(b Görmar, nr Mühlhausen, Jan 8, 1732; d Mühlhausen, 1773). German writer on music and composer. He was a magister of philosophy, an honorary member of the German Society of Altdorf University, and an imperial poet laureate. His writings include an original work on theory, contributions to the current discussions of Rameau's theories which he favoured, and translations and editions of works of others. In addition, he published an important article on the state of music in Mühlhausen, two in defence of music in the church, and one on the German language. His compositions, consisting largely of sacred vocal works to his own texts, were mostly written for the Marienkirche in Mühlhausen, where he was Kantor and music director. They include a setting of the Passion and a yearly cycle of cantatas (texts published in 1764), as well as two published collections of keyboard and vocal pieces intended for students. Only a sacred song ...
Robert N. Freeman
(b Klosterneuburg, nr Vienna, Feb 3, 1736; d Vienna, March 7, 1809). Austrian composer, teacher, theorist and organist. From the age of seven he served as a choirboy for the Augustinians in Klosterneuburg, where he learnt the organ and figured bass from the dean, Leopold Pittner. His studies in composition under G.M. Monn (if accurately reported by Albrechtsberger's pupil Johann Fuss) must have taken place during this period. As a student and choirboy at Melk Abbey from 1749 until 1754, he received a thorough training in composition and organ from Marian Gurtler, the regens chori, and Joseph Weiss, the abbey's organist. After a year of study at the Jesuit seminary in Vienna he worked as an organist in various provincial localities: Raab (now Győr, Hungary), 1755–7; Maria Taferl, near Melk, 1757–9; and Melk Abbey, 1759–65, where he succeeded his former teacher Weiss. His precise place of employment in ...
(b Paris, Nov 16, 1717; d Paris, Oct 29, 1783). French philosopher, mathematician and music theorist. He was abandoned by his mother as a child, and raised in a modest household by an artisan’s wife. A precocious child, he received a good education at a Jansenist school, and went on to study medicine and law. His true passion, though, was mathematics, and he soon abandoned his legal studies in order to devote all his energies to the subject. His particular interest lay in the field of rational mechanics, an important discipline in the 18th century, in which physical problems and phenomena were analysed in the abstract, using mathematics and geometry. D’Alembert submitted his first paper to the Royal Academy of Sciences in 1739, and published his important Traité de dynamique in 1743; his fame rose rapidly. One of his most important contributions lay in the development of partial differential equations, partly inspired by his study of the vibrating string in ...
(b Toulon, Feb 8, 1718; d Beijing, Oct 8, 1793). French writer on music. After a classical education, he entered the Society of Jesus as a novice in 1737, taught in Jesuit colleges for ten years, then, on being ordained, requested assignment to the China mission. He arrived in Beijing in 1751 and remained there until his death.
Amiot’s remarkable output of monographs, translations, dictionaries and voluminous scholarly correspondence includes several extensive works on Chinese music – among the first serious Western studies of any non-Western music. He first translated the 17th-century book Guyue jingjuan (‘Commentary on the Classic of Ancient Music’) by Li Guangdi; although paraphrased by Amiot and others, the translation was never published and the manuscript was lost. His next work on Chinese music, the Mémoire sur la musique des Chinois, was edited for publication by Abbé Pierre Joseph Roussier, a theorist specializing in ancient and foreign music; however, Roussier added lengthy, pedantic notes of little value while deleting many plates, all Chinese characters, and significant portions of the text, thus obscuring the original and impairing its value for future scholars. Other important manuscripts remain unpublished, including a study of contemporary Chinese music practice and a notebook containing 54 tunes transcribed into staff notation....
(b Planes, Alicante, Feb 15, 1740; d Rome, Jan 12, 1817). Spanish literary historian and music critic. He was professed in the Society of Jesus on 24 December 1754 and studied at Tarragona, Manresa, Gerona and Valencia from 1754 until 1763, when he was ordained a priest. Four years later, while teaching rhetoric and poetry at the University of Gandía, he was exiled with the rest of the Spanish Jesuits. He went first to Corsica, then to Italy, where he taught philosophy at Ferrara until 1773. After Clement XIV suppressed the Jesuits in 1773 Andrés devoted himself to letters and bibliography, living three years with the Bianchi at Mantua, and then travelling throughout Italy and in 1794 to Vienna. During his travels he maintained a correspondence with his brother Carlos, which was published from 1786 to 1794. The work contains much valuable material on music, particularly the third volume, which deals with Venetian conservatories, singers, opera and Greek-rite chant in ...
revised by Manuel Couvreur
(b Aubignan, Carpentras, July 27, 1721; d Paris, Dec 2, 1784). French man of letters. As a boy he mixed with the many musicians in the service of the Italian prelates, attracted to Carpentras by generous stipends. Arnaud came to Paris from Provence in 1752 as attaché to Prince Louis of Würtemberg. He was Abbé de Grandchamp (1765), librarian to the Comte de Provence and historiographer to the order of St Lazare, and in 1771 became a member of the Académie Française. He was a classical scholar and accomplished linguist and translator, and collaborated with his close friend J.B.A. Suard (whose wife was said to be his mistress) on the Journal étranger, Gazette littéraire de l'Europe, Variétés littéraires and other writings. His humour, historical knowledge and vigorous polemical style make him stand out among the many literary writers on music of the second half of the 18th century....
Marita P. McClymonds
(b Moraleja de Coca, nr Segovia, Dec 26, 1747; d Paris, Oct 30, 1799). Spanish aesthetician and opera historian. After entering the Society of Jesus (1763) he studied in Madrid, Corsica and Italy, after which he abandoned the Society (1769) and attended Bologna University (1773–8). There at Padre Martini’s behest he wrote the first critical history of opera, Le rivoluzioni del teatro musicale italiano dalla sua origine fino al presente (Bologna, 1783–8/R, 2/1785), which met with immediate success and was translated into German (1789) and French (1802). He moved to Venice and to Rome, where he prepared works on ideal beauty (1789) and ancient and modern rhythm. His last years were spent in travel.
The original edition of Le rivoluzioni began with chapters on opera aesthetics and on the suitability of Italian as a language for music. His somewhat muddled history did not get beyond the advent of Metastasio: he viewed the early 18th century as the Golden Age of Music, singling out the composers Vinci and Jommelli as exemplary and crediting Metastasio with having raised opera to the greatest perfection possible. The second, ‘enlarged, varied and corrected’ edition of ...
Joseph Vella Bondin
( b Rabat, May 5, 1748; d Rabat, Feb 6, 1809). Maltese composer, organist and theorist . After early studies with Michel'Angelo Vella, he entered the Conservatorio di S Onofrio a Capuana on 15 Oct 1763 as a convittore to study under Carlo Contumacci and the German Joseph Doll. He left in 1767 but stayed on as maestro di cappella in Naples and continued to study with Niccolò Piccinni, who is said to have esteemed him greatly. In summer 1774, following an advantageous offer from Mdina Cathedral, he returned permanently to Malta as Cathedral organist with the right to succeed the then maestro di cappella, Benigno Zerafa. His growing interest in pedagogy resulted in Il musico prattico on the art of the counterpoint, published in the form of French translations and introduced as a textbook in Paris by A.-E.-M. Grétry: Cherubini based the 19th chapter of his treatise Cours de contrepoint...
revised by Alma Espinosa
(b San Adrián de Besós, nr Barcelona, Feb 4, 1730/31; d Madrid, 1797). Spanish mathematician. He attended university in France, at Toulouse and Perpignan. By 1755 he was in Paris, where he was acquainted with d’Alembert and became involved with work on the Encyclopédie. He returned to Spain in 1761 and in 1767 was appointed professor of mathematics at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de S Fernando. He translated numerous foreign scientific writings, publishing them in the ten-volume Elementos de matemáticos (1772–83); the eighth volume contains a translation of d’Alembert’s Eléments de musique théorique et pratique, first published in 1752. An enthusiastic amateur musician, he prepared a Spanish version of Bemetzrieder and Diderot’s Leçons de clavecin, et principes d’harmonie (Paris, 1771) under the title Lecciones de clave y principios de harmonia (Madrid, 1775). In the dedication he described his frustration in endeavouring to learn keyboard improvisation until a friend showed him this work, which proved to be ‘the philosopher’s stone’. He was helped in preparing the translation by the royal organist Juan Sessé. Bails’s version is more a paraphrase than a translation; by suppressing the dialogue form and social small talk of the original, and by rearranging material, he achieved a clearer and more systematic though less entertaining approach to the subject. The modern harmonic concepts, wide-ranging modulations and advanced chord structures illustrated in the work were in striking contrast to the general conservatism of contemporary Spanish music pedagogy....
(b Paris, May 9, 1729; d Rouen, Nov 8, 1800). French composer and theorist. He combined the surnames of his father (Ballière) and mother (Delaisement) in an aristocratic form. After receiving the maître ès arts from the University of Paris in 1746, he settled in Rouen. A pharmacist and chemist by profession, he took an active scholarly interest in many subjects and was acquainted with Rousseau, Voltaire and other well-known contemporaries. In 1754 he was elected to the Rouen Academy, where he later became vice-president and wrote many works on literature, philology and various sciences. In the 1750s he wrote librettos for several light stage works produced in Rouen and Paris; most of the music (vaudevilles and melodies from serious operas) was unnotated, though the notated airs in Zéphire et Flore may be his. In his Théorie de la musique (Paris, 1764) he developed a system based on the harmonic series of the hunting-horn; a similar system, evidently unknown to him, had been presented by G.A. Sorge in ...
(b Bergamo, Nov 26, 1741; d Bergamo, June 13, 1814). Italian theorist. Having entered the religious order of the Somaschi fathers, in 1761 he was invited to teach philosophy and mathematics in the college of Santa Croce in Padua. There he came into contact with the composer and theorist F.A. Vallotti, to whom he later became technical adviser on the mathematical aspect of harmonic theory; for example, he assisted in the calculations for Vallotti's system of temperament. From 1771 to 1812 he was professor of canon law at the University of Padua; he was also active as a chemist and as a theoretician of architecture. Barca's Nuova teoria di musica, a work in six sections (of which only four were published), aimed to explain the harmonic identity between a chord and its inversions; this identity (already established before Rameau by F.A. Calegari) was at the heart of the rules of composition in the Paduan school, which was known as the ‘scuola dei rivolti’ (because its composers were the first to use certain inverted dissonant chords). Barca made a graduated list of harmonic intervals in order of consonance, according to a mathematical criterion similar in some ways to that put forward by Leonhard Euler in ...
(b Turin, April 25, 1719; d Marylebone, London, May 5, 1789). Italian man of letters. His Fetonte sulle rive del Po was set by G.A. Giai (1750, Turin). In January 1751 he left Italy, where he had a considerable literary reputation, for an appointment at the Italian Opera in London. Shortly after his arrival he wrote two facetious pamphlets relating to a dispute between the actors and the lessee of the Opera. He adapted selected odes of Horace as a sort of Masonic oratorio. Seeking a composer able to avoid the vocal clichés and long ritornellos of Italian opera and ‘to temper alternately the solemnity of church music with the brilliancy of the theatrical’, Baretti chose Philidor, with whom he discussed ‘every syllable … with respect to the best way of expressing musically the meaning of Horace’. Carmen saeculare was performed in London in 1779 and in Paris the year after. Baretti wrote in his copy of Johnson’s ...
(b Cassis, Jan 20, 1716; d Paris, Jan 30, 1795). French archaeologist and man of letters. Having entered the Lazarists, Barthélemy conceived an early passion for Oriental antiquities. On leaving the seminary he decided not to take holy orders and returned to his family before settling in Paris in June 1744. Gros de Boze, curator of the Médailles du roi, took him on as an assistant in 1745. Barthélemy specialized in the study of medals and succeeded Gros de Boze in 1753. As a protégé of Choiseul-Stainville, whom he accompanied on a long tour of Italy, he was offered the privilege of the Mercure de France, which he reassigned to Marmontel. Barthélemy enjoyed the company of such lovers of antiquity and music as Caylus and Chabanon. As a writer who was regularly published in the Journal des savants, and the author of dissertations both scholarly and popular, he was elected to the Académie Française in ...
(b Alland’huy, Ardennes, May 6, 1713; d Paris, July 14, 1780). French aesthetician. He was professor of rhetoric at the universities of Reims and Paris, the Collège de Lisieux and the Collège de Navarre, and then of Greek and Roman philosophy at the Collège Royal, Paris. It was his Les beaux-arts réduits à un même principe (Paris, 1746/R; ed. J.-R. Mantion, Paris, 1989) that made him famous, and Diderot drew upon his Lettres sur l’inversion et sur la traduction (published in Cours de belles-lettres distribué par exercices, Paris, 1747–8) when writing his own Lettre sur les sourds et muets. Batteux was elected to the Académie des Inscriptions in 1754 and became a member of the Académie Française in 1761. In 1777 he coordinated the 45 volumes of the Cours d’études for the pupils of the Ecole Royale Militaire.
His works on aesthetics, the most important being ...
George J. Buelow
(b Berlin, June 17, 1714; d Frankfurt an der Oder, May 26, 1762). German philosopher. The founder of aesthetics as a subdiscipline of philosophy, he was the son of a military chaplain in Berlin who had been assistant to the Pietist theologian and pedagogue A.H. Francke. He studied first at the Grauen Kloster school in Berlin, but in 1722 was sent to Francke’s well-known school for orphans in Halle. In 1730 he entered Halle University as a student of theology and philosophy, but during this period he frequently went to Jena to attend lectures by the celebrated rationalist philosopher J.C. Wolff, who later, together with Leibniz, became the major influences on Baumgarten’s own philosophical theories. In 1735 he received a master’s degree with his first major work, the thesis Meditationes philosophicae. In 1737 he was appointed professor of philosophy and theology at the university of Frankfurt an der Oder. His several Latin works on metaphysics, ethics and practical philosophy widely influenced the teaching of these disciplines in German universities. Kant thought him one of the greatest philosophers of his time....
(b Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire, Oct 25, 1735; d Aberdeen, Aug 18, 1803). Scottish philosopher and writer on musical aesthetics. He was the son of a farmer, and became professor of moral philosophy and logic at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and entered polite London society on the strength of his Essays and his universally acclaimed poem The Minstrel. He was also a member of the Aberdeen Musical Society and a keen amateur cellist; he continued to play the cello with three fingers after the tendon of his left-hand middle finger was severed in an accident.
His philosophical writings are unusual for their time in including an intelligent and penetrating essay On Poetry and Music (written 1762, published 1776), which considers the questions ‘Is music an imitative art?’ and ‘How are the pleasures we derive from music to be accounted for?’ along with ‘Conjectures on some peculiarities of National Music’; the essay was reprinted several times and was translated into French in ...
Cynthia M. Gessele and Jean Gribenski
(b Dauendorf, Bas-Rhin, March 26, 1739; d London, after 1808). French theorist and teacher. After obtaining degrees in philosophy (1760) and law (1762) from the University of Strasbourg, he established himself in Paris in 1766 and began to study music. In 1769 he met Diderot, whose daughter became his harpsichord and harmony student. His first work, Leçons de clavecin, et principes d’harmonie, was a tremendously successful dialogue-form treatise, which was edited and endorsed by Diderot. He continued publishing pedagogical works in French until he left Paris in 1781, moving to London, where he taught music and expanded, re-edited and translated his earlier works. He also wrote on music education, mathematics, philosophy and ethics.
In his writings Bemetzrieder emphasized the importance of improvisatory skills in combination with contemporary continuo practice. In his later works he developed these ideas in a four-stage pedagogical process which comprised the art of reading music, accompaniment, virtuoso performance and composition. He saw composition as the creative application of an analytical process of ‘decomposition’, which used grammatical models for phrase structure and a reductive harmonic signifier called the ...
(b Groningen, Feb 8, 1700; d Basle, March 17, 1782). Swiss physicist. He was the second son of Johann Bernoulli, the leading mathematician of his age, and nephew of Jakob Bernoulli, one of the greatest of all mathematicians. He was at first inclined towards mathematics, but turned more and more to experiment suggested or supported by mathematical theory. After taking the doctorate in medicine at the age of 21, he went to Venice to continue his studies but instead published noteworthy mathematical papers and was invited to the Academy of St Petersburg in 1725. In that year he won the Grand Prix of the Paris Académie for the first of ten times. He returned to Basle in 1733, where he held chairs in anatomy, botany and physics. His most famous work is Hydrodynamica (1733), but he made lasting contributions to several branches of mathematics, physics and medicine; most of his writings appeared in the proceedings of the academies of science at Berlin, Paris and St Petersburg....
A. Louise H. Earhart
(b Dijon, Nov 1, 1702; d Paris, Oct 19, 1781). French theorist and composer. His opera L'enlèvement d'Europe was produced at Versailles in 1739 and two of his motets were performed at the Concert Spirituel: Laudate Dominum in 1749, and Domine, Dominus noster in 1756 and 1757. His only compositions to survive, however, are two cantailles: Le transport amoureux and Le volage fixé (both Paris, n.d.). Although best-known for his Exposition (1754), Béthizy also clarified, expanded and revised some of Rameau's ideas and formulated several of his own. His concept of ‘censée-toniques’ and his use of barred figures for dominant chords were adopted by Rameau in his Code de musique pratique (1760). D'Alembert and Béthizy quarrelled over Rameau's theories in the Journal oeconomique following the publication of d'Alembert's Elémens in 1752. Nevertheless in the second edition (1762) d'Alembert recommended the Exposition as a practical supplement....