(b Grossfurra, Thuringia, Oct 25, 1643; d Gotha, Feb 20, 1676). German composer and writer. After initially going to school in his native town he was sent in 1656 to Eisenach for three years. There he attended the town school, the staff of which included Theodor Schuchardt, a highly respected teacher of music and Latin. From 1659 to 1662 Agricola studied for his school-leaving examination at the Gymnasium of Gotha; the headmaster there was Andreas Reyher, who was the co-author of the Gothaer Schulmethodus, an educational work which set an example for the teaching of music too. In 1662–3 Agricola studied philosophy at Leipzig University and from 1663 to 1668 theology and philosophy at Wittenberg, where he was awarded a master's degree by the faculty of philosophy. His four recorded scholarly essays dating from this period are lost. He had begun to learn the fundamentals of music during his school years, and he may also have been a pupil of the Kantor of the Thomaskirche, Leipzig, Sebastian Knüpfer. He continued his musical training at Wittenberg, completing the study of composition under the guidance of Italian musicians resident there. Returning to his native Thuringia he was able to turn his musical abilities to good use in the Kapelle of the Schwarzburg-Sondershausen court until in ...
revised by Peter Wollny
(b Bay Shore, NY, April 7, 1946). American composer, performer, instrument builder and ethnomusicologist. She received the BA from Sarah Lawrence College, and the MA and PhD from Wesleyan University, where she studied Indonesian and Indian music. She has performed with the ensembles of Philip Glass, Jon Gibson, Alvin Lucier, Philip Corner and Daniel Goode. In 1976 she co-founded, with Corner and Goode, the Gamelan Son of Lion, New York, a new music collective and repertory ensemble under her direction. In addition, she has built several Javanese-style iron gamelans, including the instruments used by the Gamelan Son of Lion and Gamelan Encantada, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Benary’s compositional output has been primarily in the areas of ensemble and chamber music, and music for the theatre. She has described herself as a ‘part-time minimalist who also likes to write melody’. Many of her works integrate world music forms, structures and instruments with traditional Western materials. Her works for gamelan ensemble, which number more than 30, have been performed internationally. ...
(b Chelsea, London, UK, Dec 20, 1957; d London, UK, Aug 18, 2007). English organ designer and organ historian. He attended Westminster School, Winchester College, and St Chad’s College, Durham University, before beginning work in 1979 for N.P. Mander Ltd. He collaborated with his architect brother Julian on the case for Mander’s organ at Magdalen College, Oxford, completed in 1986. In 1987 he was employed by J.W. Walker & Sons, designing instruments for Oriel College, Oxford (1988), Carlisle Cathedral (quire organ), and Kesgrave parish church near Ipswich. In 1989 he surveyed Buckingham Palace’s much-deteriorated ballroom organ. Returning to Mander as head designer in 1990, Bicknell undertook restoration of the chapel organ at St John’s College, Cambridge, designed a four-manual mechanical-action organ inspired by Cavaillé-Coll for St Ignatius Loyola in New York (1992) and two organs for Chelmsford Cathedral (completed 1994 and 1995), and directed construction of the organ in Gray’s Inn Chapel (...
(b London, July 13, 1846; d London, Dec 29, 1936). English acoustician. He was principally noted for his design and manufacture of wind instruments. He had a long career with the firm of Boosey & Hawkes and when Boosey’s took over the business of Henry Distin in 1868, Blaikley was appointed works manager. He became widely known as an authority on woodwind and brass, and in 1874 devised a system of compensating pistons (patented in 1878) which Boosey & Co. adopted (see Valve). The firm continued to use equipment designed by him until the late 1980s. Blaikley also devised other improvements for trumpets, horns and trombones. In 1875 he joined the (Royal) Musical Association and in 1878 read the first of many papers to that society. This highly technical discussion of resonance was followed by others on such subjects as quality of tone in wind instruments (...
(b Dayton, OH, March 1, 1937). American organ builder. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, he was apprenticed to Charles Fisk, Fritz Noack, and Rudolph von Beckerath before establishing his own business in Middletown, Ohio, in 1968. Unlike many small builders, he felt it important to maintain a complete operation in which pipes, keyboards, and other components were made in his own workshop rather than by subcontractors. After several small but distinguished instruments, he built his first sizable organ in 1970, for the First Lutheran Church of Lorain, Ohio. Brombaugh’s engineering skills are complemented by a scholarly interest in historic instruments, and he has been a pioneer in creating organs incorporating historic visual, tonal and mechanical principles, mainly derived from north European Renaissance and Baroque practices. One of the first of his organs to be built exclusively according to these principles is in the Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, Toledo, Ohio (...
Lyndesay G. Langwill
revised by Rosemary Williamson
(b Newcastle upon Tyne, May 19, 1878; d Great Missenden, Nov 2, 1958). English collector and historian of instruments and composer. He was educated in Hanover (1892) and as a Macfarren scholar at the Royal Academy of Music (1893–1902, ARAM 1902), where he studied composition with Corder. After serving as assistant music master at Winchester College (1909–22), he returned to the RAM in 1922 as professor of harmony and counterpoint, becoming a Fellow of the RAM in the same year; he held the professorship until 1940.
Carse’s early compositions include an orchestral prelude to Byron’s Manfred, a dramatic cantata, The Lay of the Brown Rosary and two symphonies; his later works, for student orchestras and beginners, are light, tuneful and individual, and ideally suited to their purpose as teaching material. His reputation, however, rests on his study of the history of instruments and the orchestra, and on his collection of some 350 old wind instruments, which he gave to the Horniman Museum, London, in ...
(b New York, Aug 2, 1932; d Putnam Valley, NY, Sept 16, 2019). American folk musician, folklorist, filmmaker, and photographer. He studied painting and photography at the Yale School of Fine Arts (BFA 1955, MFA 1957), where his teachers included Joseph Albers and Herbert Matter. In 1958 he formed the New Lost City Ramblers with Mike Seeger and Tom Paley (later succeeded by Tracy Schwarz). Focusing on string band music and songs from rural Appalachia, they were among the most important groups of the folk revival of the 1950s and 60s, and a principal inspiration for the ongoing string band revival known as Old-Time Music. They made over 25 recordings, and Cohen and Seeger also edited a highly influential songbook. Much of Cohen’s fieldwork concentrated on the same area, and his films and recordings of Roscoe Holcomb, Dillard Chandler, the Carter Family, and others decisively shaped modern perceptions of Appalachian music. As a co-founder of the Friends of Old-Time Music in ...
John Chalmers and Brian McLaren
[O'Hara, Kenneth Vincent Gerard]
(b Portland, OR, May 5, 1917; d San Diego, CA, Feb 13, 1994). American composer, instrument inventor and theorist. He studied the cello, the piano and wind instruments at an early age. A composition student of Charles Wakefield Cadman, he began to compose using quarter-tones and just intonation during the 1930s. Although ill health prevented him from attending college, he taught himself electrical engineering and invented pioneering electro-acoustical instruments, including the microtonal keyboard oboe (1936), the amplifying clavichord (1940), the amplified cello (1941) and the electric keyboard drum (around 1945). During the 1960s he designed and built a 60-tone electronic organ with an ‘elastic tuning’ system that automatically justified traditional musical intervals.
In 1962 M. Joel Mandelbaum’s 19-tone compositions and Ervin Wilson’s microtonal instrument patents introduced Darreg to new tuning systems. He began an intensive programme of musical exploration and discovered that all equal temperaments have uniquely valuable musical properties (‘moods’). To hear these scales, he refretted guitars to 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 24 and 31 notes per octave and constructed metallophones with 5, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24 and 53 notes per octave. During the 1970s he created justly-tuned Megalyra and Kosmolyra amplified steel-guitar-like instruments, the sound of which has been described as ‘tuned thunder’. His last compositions use retunable MIDI synthesizers....
Paul R. West
(b Jackson, MI, Oct 8, 1950). American composer, theorist, author, and instrument inventor. He began his career in composition and instrument design in 1970, having received little formal composition training. Interested in just intonation, he founded the performing ensemble Other Music in 1975 with classmates Dale Soules and Henry Rosenthal at the New College of California in San Francisco. The trio originally improvised and also performed from written scores. Inspired by studying intonation with lou Harrison , Doty began working with various metallophones, exploring their justly tuned capabilities. These investigations led to the creation of an American gamelan, which consisted of a set of metallophones, wooden marimbas, bells, and synthesizers that were built or adapted by Doty and four other group members. The instruments were tuned in seven-limit just intonation encompassing a 14-tone-to-the-octave scale developed by Doty and Soules. The Other Music ensemble began to perform on the American gamelan by ...
(b Dorchester, Dec 25, 1858; d Richmond, Surrey, Dec 30, 1945). English collector of musical instruments and scholar. He was educated at King's School, Sherborne, where James Robert Sterndale Bennett, son of the composer, encouraged his aptitude for music. From 1877 he studied classics at Trinity College, Cambridge (BA 1882, MA 1885), where he played the clarinet under Stanford in the orchestra of the Cambridge University Musical Society. Ordained in 1883, he was curate of Redenhall with Harleston, Norfolk, for four years, then curate at St Giles-in-the-Fields (1887–91), vicar of Hatfield Broad Oak (formerly Hatfield Regis, 1891–1915), vicar of Witham (1915–21) and rector of Faulkbourn (1921–33). In 1917 he was made a canon of Chelmsford Cathedral. From his university years onwards, Galpin made an outstanding collection of musical instruments, which he made freely available for public exhibitions and lectures and described and illustrated in his book ...
(b Berlin, Nov 21, 1903; d Lübeck, Nov 11, 1985). German instrument maker, restorer, and scholar. Hellwig, the son of a senior executive with Siemens, first studied mechanical engineering. In 1923 he spent several months in Riga maintaining the automobiles of a wealthy owner, but finding himself untalented at this, he decided make music the centre of his profession. Supported by a friend, he attended the violin-making school at Mittenwald in 1925–6. After working briefly with violin makers in Lucerne and Hamburg (Julius Hempel), in 1928 he was invited to the Dolmetsch workshop in Haslemere, where he was introduced to the music, dances, and instruments of the 16th to 18th centuries. Arnold Dolmetsch and his wife Mabel became his teachers, and Hellwig played music together with other members of the family, notably Arnold’s daughter Nathalie. He concentrated on the making of viols and their history. Following an invitation of the organist Walter Kraft, he moved in ...
D. Quincy Whitney
(b Springfield, MA, May 24, 1911; d Wolfeboro, NH, Aug 7, 2009). American violinmaker, acoustician, and writer. A trumpeter and biology graduate of Cornell University (AB 1933) and New York University (MA 1942), she left both disciplines to embrace string instruments and acoustical physics. While teaching science and woodworking at the Brearley School, chamber music colleagues convinced her to take up viola. A woodcarver since childhood, Hutchins, at age 35, decided to make a viola. Hutchins then studied luthiery with Karl A. Berger (1949–59) and Stradivari expert Fernando Sacconi. While she and Harvard physicist Frederick A. Saunders performed more than 100 acoustical experiments (1949–63), Hutchins taught herself acoustical physics by making string instruments. In 1963 Hutchins and colleagues Robert Fryxell and John Schelleng founded the Catgut Acoustical Society. She published the CAS journal for more than 30 years, helping bridge the gap between violin makers and acoustical physicists. Hutchins made more than 500 instruments, authored more than 100 technical papers on violin acoustics, and edited ...
(b Chaumont-en-Bassigny, Haute-Marne, c1581; d c1650). French mathematician, engineer and inventor. He lived in Toulouse and Paris. His widespread interests led to the development of novelties in such diverse areas as architecture, language, mnemotechnics and typography. In music he is credited with devising an equal-tempered scale, with adding a seventh syllable (za) to the hexachordal solmization system, with constructing a new type of lute (the Almérie – an anagram of his name), and with proposing a novel musical notation (‘musique almérique’). Although Mersenne (MersenneHU, and in his correspondence) strongly supported Le Maire's ideas, others did not, and controversy regarding his inventions spread throughout France and elsewhere in Europe.A. Pirro: ‘Jean le Maire et l'Almérie’, BSIM, 4 (1908), 479–82 C. de Waard, ed.: Correspondance du P. Marin Mersenne (Paris, 1932–), esp. ix (1965), 563–9 A. Cohen: ‘Jean Le Maire and La Musique Almérique’, ...
(b Brussels, March 10, 1841; d St Jean-Cap Ferrat, June 17, 1924). Belgian organologist, acoustician and wind instrument maker. He was the son of the maker C.B. Mahillon , with whom he collaborated from 1865. In 1877 he accepted the curatorship of the newly created Musée Instrumental du Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Brussels. Over the next half-century he systematically built up the collection to become the largest and most important of its kind in the world with over 3300 items. These he proceeded to catalogue meticulously, publishing five volumes that set new standards of scholarship for his time. He prefaced the first volume (1880) with an ‘Essai de classification méthodique de tous les instruments anciens et modernes’, the first attempt to formulate a systematic classification of musical instruments. Though this scheme has since been slightly revised, notably by Hornbostel and Sachs in 1914, it remains essentially valid today. For these achievements, he has been hailed as ‘truly the Father of Organology’ (Baines). The author of several authoritative texts on acoustics and practical aspects of wind instruments, his interests also covered many other fields: for the authentic performance of early music he built pioneering prototypes of oboe d’amore, basset-horn and high trumpet. He reproduced rare models of historic woodwind instruments (many obsolete) for his own and for other collections. He took out various patents (some in collaboration with other family members) for improvements to woodwinds and brass and also officiated at a number of international trade exhibitions. In ...
(b Poltava, 17/May 29, 1894; d Moscow, Aug 15, 1967). Soviet music historian, theorist, pianist and instrument maker . In 1912 he went to Moscow University to read physics and mathematics, but he changed to law and graduated in 1917. At the same time he studied at the Moscow People’s Conservatory under Boleslav Yavorsky (composition) and Yevgeny Bogoslovsky and Aleksandr Goedicke (piano). Between 1912 and 1916 he appeared as a concert pianist and performed his own sonatas (all five of which have remained in manuscript) and other works, stylistically influenced by the Taneyev school. In 1915 he started teaching at the conservatory. He edited the literary journal Gyulistan, and from 1923 to 1933 held a number of posts in different publishing houses; from 1937 to 1941 he was editor of the publishing house of the USSR Academy of Architecture. For several years he played an active part in the Union of Soviet Composers; he was chairman of the Moscow branch (...
(b Oakland, CA, June 24, 1901; d San Diego, Sept 3, 1974). American composer, theorist, instrument maker and performer. He dedicated most of his life to implementing an alternative to equal temperament, which he found incapable of the true consonance his ear and essentially tonal aesthetic demanded. He invented an approach to just intonation he called ‘monophony’; realizing that traditional instruments and performers would be inimical to his system, he designed and constructed new and adapted instruments, developed notational systems, and trained performing groups wherever he was living and working. By the 1940s he had transformed a profound antipathy to the European concert tradition into the idea of ‘corporeality’, emphasizing a physical and communal quality in his music.
Growing up in the American Southwest, Partch had piano lessons and played well enough to accompany silent films in Albuquerque. By 1920 he had returned to California, where he spent the next 13 years as a proofreader, piano teacher and violist. During this period he began to research intonation, sparked by his discovery of Helmholtz's ...
(b Fermo, June 30, 1671; d Beijing, Dec 10, 1746). Italian composer, theorist and instrument maker . He was the first Lazarist missionary to settle in China, and contributed to the cultural exchange between China and the West during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. He was educated in Rome and arrived in China in 1711 after an arduous nine-year journey. There he succeeded the Portuguese Jesuit Tomás Pereira as court musician to Emperor Kangxi. Pedrini remained in China until his death, working closely with the emperor and simultaneously fulfilling his religious life and missionary goals. Life in the Chinese court was politically complex, and Pedrini was deeply involved in intrigues between the emperor, the Jesuits and Rome during the Rites controversy. Despite earning Kangxi’s esteem, he was twice imprisoned by the emperor.
There were many harpsichords at the Chinese court, gifts from foreign visitors, and there is evidence that Pedrini himself built instruments in China. His musical abilities were highly regarded by the emperor, who declared Pedrini’s lack of the Chinese language to be unimportant, since ‘harpsichords are tuned with the hands, and not with the tongue’. Pedrini’s op.3 sonatas (MS, Beijing National Library; the title-page bears the anagrammatic name ‘Nepridi’) are his only known extant compositions; they are strongly influenced by (and include several quotations from) Corelli’s op.5 set, to which they pay homage in the style, number, structure and types of movements. Pedrini also completed the fifth volume of ...
(b São Martinho do Vale, Barcelos, Nov 1, 1645; d Beijing, Dec 24, 1708). Portuguese organist, theorist and organ builder. He was a Jesuit missionary; his 36-year stay in China produced far-reaching cultural exchange. His accomplishment in music, mathematics and diplomacy led to his being invited to Beijing by Emperor Kangxi. He astounded the emperor with a demonstration of musical notation, repeating Chinese melodies flawlessly after one hearing. Kangxi's subsequent creation of an academy to study ancient Chinese music culminated in the four-volume Lulu Zhengyi (‘A True Doctrine of Music’). A fifth volume, on Western music theory, was begun by Pereira and completed by Teodorico Pedrini, his successor as court musician; the whole was published in Beijing in 1713.
Pereira built several organs in Beijing for the Catholic church and for the emperor, including one which played Chinese songs mechanically. He also wrote Chinese hymns, his only known compositions. At Kangxi's behest Pereira was instrumental in negotiating the ...
Alexey Kossykh and Ilya Tëmkin
(b Soldatsko-Stepnoye, Feb 26, 1943; d Veliky Novgorod, Oct 10, 2010). Russian musical archaeologist, restorer, luthier, musician, and artist. Povetkin attended the School of Visual Arts in Kursk and then transferred to and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in Leningrad. After service in the navy, he settled in 1969 in Veliky Novgorod where he worked as a designer for the State Novgorod Museum. Unable to pursue a career as a sculptor because of Soviet censorship, he joined the Novgorod archaeological survey of Moscow State University in 1975 as a restorer and gained recognition for his work on medieval birch-bark documents and the 11th-century Novgorod Codex.
Povetkin made the first working replicas of the medieval gusli and gudok, pioneered non-destructive methods of restoring wooden archaeological artefacts using reversible chemical reactions, and developed an original approach for exhibiting reconstructed instruments using colours to distinguish between preserved and inferred parts. In ...
(b London, England, May 27, 1922; d Malta, March 17, 1964). English organologist and collector of keyboard instruments. He was a Fellow of Trinity College London and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Born into a wealthy and artistic family (the owners of Mottisfont Abbey), he acquired his first keyboard instrument in 1939, and over the following 25 years built up a substantial collection of 17th- and 18th-century harpsichords and clavichords. Through detailed study of these and other antique instruments, he became an acknowledged expert, and was asked to compile catalogues of the Victoria and Albert Museum and Benton Fletcher collections. Although not himself a craftsman, he took a keen interest in the present-day manufacture of early keyboard instruments, being among the first to criticize modern developments and advocate a return to a more historical style. His book The Harpsichord and Clavichord outshone its predecessors for the accuracy and detail of its descriptions and the penetration of its analysis; it helped to inspire a change of direction in harpsichord making in favour of careful copies of antique instruments. Frank Hubbard was among those influenced by it. In ...