Tromlitz, Johann George
- Ardal Powell
(b Reinsdorf, nr Artern, Nov 8, 1725; d Leipzig, Feb 4, 1805). German flautist, teacher and flute maker. In 1750 he received the degree of Imperial Public Notary at Leipzig University. At about this time he began to make flutes. In 1754 he became principal flautist of the Grosses Conzert, a forerunner of the Gewandhaus orchestra. His career, interrupted by the disbanding of the orchestra during the Seven Years War, included solo tours as far afield as St Petersburg. J.F. Reichardt's accounts of his own travels (published 1774–6) took note of Tromlitz and only three other Leipzig virtuosos. Tromlitz left the orchestra in 1776 and devoted himself to teaching, writing, composition and flute making. He recorded his ideas and teaching methods in several texts which shed much light on late 18th-century flute playing and performing practice. His Kurze Abhandlung vom Flötenspielen (1786) announced his rejection of merely average standards of performing and instrument making; this was to become a constant theme of his. He introduced the elements at the core of his ideal: clarity of articulation and expression; perfect intonation in a system having both large (5-comma) and small (4-comma) semitones, for which the E♭ and D♯ keys invented by J.J. Quantz in ...