Apel, Willi, eminent German-American musicologist; b. Konitz, Oct. 10, 1893; d. Bloomington, Ind., March 14, 1988. He studied mathematics at the univs. of Bonn and Munich (1912–14), and then of Berlin (1918–21), where he returned in 1936 to take his Ph.D. with the diss. Accidentien una Tonalität in den Musikdenkmälern des 15. una 16. Jahrhunderts (publ. in Berlin, 1936; 2nd ed., Aug., 1972). After emigrating to the U.S., he taught at Harvard Univ. (1938–42). From 1950 to 1964 he was a prof. of music at Ind. Univ. in Bloomington, where he continued to lecture as prof. emeritus until 1970. In 1971 he was made an honorary member of the American Musicological Soc. He was founding ed. of the Corpus of Early Keyboard Music and contributed 10 vols, to the series. Apel was an authority on 14th-century music, the history of early instrumental music, and Latin chant. He acknowledged his lack of interest in either opera or modern developments in music; he was a musical purist who regarded the developments of musical composition after the era of Bach as of passing significance to music history.
Die Fuge (Berlin, 1932); ed. Musik aus frü’her Zeit für Klavier (2 vols., Mainz, 1934); The Notation of PolyphonicMusic, 900–1600 (Cambridge, Mass., 1942; 5th ed., rev., 1961; Ger. tr., rev., 1970); ed. The Harvard Dictionary of Music (Cambridge, Mass, 1944; 2nd ed., rev. and enl., 1969); ed. with A. Davison, Historical Anthology of Music (Cambridge, Mass.; Vol. I, 1946; 2nd ed., rev., 1950; Vol. II, 1950); Masters of the Keyboard (Cambridge, Mass., 1947); Gregorian Chant (Bloomington, Ind., 1958); Geschichte der Orgel- und Klaviermusik bis 1700 (Kassel, 1967; Eng. tr., rev., 1972); Die italienische Violinmusik im 17. Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden, 1983; Eng. tr., 1990); Medieval Music: Collected Articles and Reviews (Stuttgart, 1986); with R. Schech–ner, By Means of Performance: Intercultural Studies of Theatre and Ritual (Cambridge, 1990).
H. Tischler, ed., Essays in Musicology: A Birthday Offering for W. A. (Bloomington, Ind., 1968).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire