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date: 20 October 2019

Bemetzrieder, Anton [Antoine]locked

  • 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 ...

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