Riemann, (Karl Wilhelm Julius) Hugo

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Riemann, (Karl Wilhelm Julius) Hugo

Riemann, (Karl Wilhelm Julius) Hugo , eminent German musicologist; b. Gross-Mehlra, near Sondershausen, July 18, 1849; d. Leipzig, July 10, 1919. He began his training with his father, Robert Riemann, a landowner and civil servant, who was an amateur musician. He then continued his study of theory in Sondershausen with Heinrich Frankenberger, August Bartel, and Theodor Ratzenberger, and also took courses at the Sondershausen and Arnstadt Gymnasiums. After studying classical languages and literature at the Rossleben Klosterschule (1865–68), he took courses in law and German philology and history at the Univ. of Berlin and in philosophy at the Univ. of Tübingen. He studied harmony with Jadassohn and piano and composition with Reinecke in Leipzig (1871–72), then received his Ph.D. in 1873 from the Univ. of Göttingen with the diss. Über das musikalische Hören (publ, in Leipzig, 1874; also publ, as Musikalische Logik, Leipzig, 1873). He taught at Bielefeld (1876–78); after qualifying as a lecturer at the Univ. of Leipzig (1878), he taught in Bromberg (1880–81); then taught piano and theoretical courses at the Hamburg Cons. (1881–90); after a brief stay in Sondershausen (1890), he taught at the Wiesbaden Cons. (1890–95). In 1895 he resumed his lectures at the Univ. of Leipzig; was made prof. in 1905, and also director of the Collegium Musicum in 1908 and of the Forschungsinstitut für Musikwissenschaft in 1914. He was honored with a Mus.Doc. from the Univ. of Edinburgh (1899) and with a Festschrift on his 60th birthday.

The mere bulk of Riemann’s writings, covering every branch of musical science, constitutes a monument of indefatigable industry, and is proof of enormous concentration and capacity for work. When one takes into consideration that much of this work is the result of painstaking research and of original, often revolutionary, thinking, one must share the great respect and admiration in which Riemann was held by his contemporaries. Although many of his ideas are now seen in a different light, his works treating of harmony were considered to constitute the foundation of modern music theory. His researches in the field of music history have solved a number of vexing problems, and thrown light on others. And, finally, in formulating the new science of musicology, the labors of Riemann were of great significance. His name is indelibly linked to the Musik-Lexikon that bears his cognomen. He contributed innumerable articles to various journals, a collection of which was publ, as Präludien und Studien (3 vols., 1895, 1900, 1901). He also wrote numerous pedagogical works.


(all publ, in Leipzig unless otherwise given): Die objektive Existenz der Untertöne in der Schallwelle (Berlin, 1877); Studien zur Geschichte der Notenschrift (1878); Die Entwickelung unserer Notenschrift, Sammlung Musikalischer Vorträge, XXVIII (1881); Musik-Lexikon (1882; 8th ed., 1916; A. Einstein edited the 9th to 11th eds., 1919, 1922, 1929; W. Gurlitt edited the 12th ed., 3 vols., Mainz, 1959, 1961, 1967; C. Dahinaus edited a suppl., 2 vols., Mainz, 1972, 1975; Dahinaus and H. Eggebrecht edited the Brockhaus-Riemann Musik-Lexikon, 2 vols., Wiesbaden and Mainz, 1978; suppl., 1989); Die Natur der Harmonik, Sammlung Musikalischer Vorträge, XL (1882); Der Ausdruck in der Musik, ibid., L (1883); Musikalische Dynamik und Agogik: Lehrbuch der musikalischen Phrasierung (Hamburg, 1884); Opern-Handbuch (1887; 2nd ed., 1893; reprint with suppl. by F. Stieger, 1979); Wie hören wir Musik?: Drei Vorträge (1885; 5th ed., 1921); Katechismus der Musikinstrumente (Instrumentationslehre) (1888; 8th ed., 1923, as Handbuch der Musikinstrumente; Eng. tr., 1888); Katechismus der Musikgeschichte (1888; 5th ed., 1914; Eng. tr., 1892); Katechismus der Orgel (Orgellehre) (1888; 2nd ed., 1901; 6th ed., n.d., as Handbuch der Orgel); Katechismus der Musik (Allgemeine Musiklehre) (1888; 8th ed., 1922; Eng. tr., n.d.); Grundlinien der Musik-Ästhetik (Wie hören wir Musik?) (1890; 3rd ed., 1911, as Katechismus der Musikästhetik; Eng. tr., 1895); Präludien und Studien: Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Ästhetik, Theorie und Geschichte der Musik (Vol. I, Frankfurt am Main, 1895; Vols. II and III, Leipzig, 1900, 1901); Geschichte der Musiktheorie im IX.-XIX. Jahrhundert (1898; 2nd ed., 1921; Eng. tr., 1962); Die Elemente der musikalischen Ästhetik (Berlin, 1900); Geschichte der Musik seit Beethoven (1800–1900) (Berlin and Stuttgart, 1901); Beethovens Streichquartette (Berlin, 1903); System der musikalischen Rhythmik und Metrik (1903); Handbuch der Musikgeschichte (Vol. i/I, 1904; 2nd ed., 1919; 3rd ed., 1923; Vol. i/2, 1905; 2nd ed., 1920; Vol. ii/I, 1907; 2nd ed., 1920; A. Einstein edited Vol. ii/2, 1912; 3rd ed., 1921; and Vol. ii/3, 1913; 2nd ed., 1922); Das Problem des harmonischen Dualismus: Ein Beitrag zur Ästhetik der Musik (1905); Kleines Handbuch der Musikgeschichte mit Periodisierug nach Stilprinzipien und Formen (1908; 7th ed., 1947); Grundriss der Musikwissenschaft (1908; 4th ed., 1928, by J. Wolf); Die byzantinische Notenschrift im 10. bis 15. Jahrhundert (1909); Musikgeschichte in Beispielen (3 vols., 1911–12; A. Schering edited the 2nd to 4th eds., 1921–29); Neue Beiträge zur Lösung der Probleme der byzantinischen Notenschrift (1915); Folkloristische Tonalitätsstudien (1916); L. van Beethovens sämtliche Klaviersolosonaten: Ästhetische und formaltechnische Analyse (Berlin, 1918–19; 4lh ed., 1920).


R.-Festschrift (Leipzig, 1909); H. Grabner, Die Funktionstheorie H. R.s und ihre Bedeutung für die praktische Analyse (Munich, 1923); H. Denecke, Die Kompositionslehre H. R.s (diss., Univ. of Kiel, 1937); G. Sievers, Die Grundlagen H. R.s bei Max Reger (diss., Univ. of Hamburg, 1949); G. Wienke, Voraussetzungen der “musikalischen Logik” bei H. R.: Studien zur Musikästhetik in der 2. Halfte des 19. Jahrhunderts (diss., Univ. of Freiburg, 1952); W. Mickelsen, H. R.’s History of Harmonie Theory with a Translation of Harmonielehre (diss., Ind. Univ., 1971).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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