Beer, Johann

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Beer, Johann

Beer, Johann, Austrian-born German music theorist and polemicist; b. St. Georg, Upper Austria, Feb. 28, 1655; d. (accidentally shot while watching a shooting contest) Weissenfels, Aug. 6, 1700. He studied music at the Benedictine monastery in Lambach, then attended classes at Reichersberg, Passau, and the Gymnasium Poeticum in Regensburg. In 1676 he became a student in theology at the Univ. of Leipzig. In 1685 he was appointed Konzertmeister of the court orch. in Weissenfels. His writings are of interest as a curiosity reflecting the musical mores of his time; he publ. polemical pamphlets directed against contemporary writers who deprecated music as dangerous for morals. In such pamphlets he used the pseudonym Ursus, Latin for the German Bar (which is a homonym of his real name, Beer), i.e., Bear, the ursine animal. One such publication opens with the words “Ursus murmurat” (“The Bear growls”), and another, “Ursus vulpinatur,” i.e., “Bear leads a fox hunt.” Both assail a certain Gottfried Vock-erodt, who claimed that the depravity of Nero and Caligula was the result of their immoderate love of music. Beer also publ. Bellum musicum (Nuremberg, 1719).


R. Alewyn, J.B.: Studien zum Roman des 17. Jahrhun-dert (Leipzig, 1932).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire