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Schröter, Christoph Gottlieb

Schröter, Christoph Gottlieb

Schröter, Christoph Gottlieb, German organist, music theorist, and composer; b. Hohnstein, near Schandau, Saxony, Aug. 10, 1699; d. Nordhausen, May 20, 1782. He began his music studies with his father, and in 1706 was sent to Dresden, where he became a soprano in the royal chapel and received instruction in keyboard instruments from the Kapellmeister; was made Ratsdiskantist in 1710, and later took instruction in organ and fugue at the Kreuzschule. After theological training in Leipzig (1717–18), he returned to Dresden as music copyist to Antonio Lotti; in 1719 he was made a secretary to a baron, in which capacity he traveled throughout Germany, the Netherlands, and England. He was a lecturer on music at the Univ. of Jena (1724–26), then was organist at the principal church in Minden (1726–32) and in Nordhausen (1732–82). In 1739 he became a member of Mizler’s Societät der Musikalischen Wissenschaften of Leipzig. During the French occupation of Nordhausen in 1761, his home was ransacked and his library destroyed. He composed 5 cantata cycles, 4 Passions, a Sieben Worte Jesu, and various instrumental works, including serenades, concertos, sonatas, organ pieces, etc., almost all of which are lost. Schröter claimed priority for the invention of a hammer action for keyed string instruments, anticipating Cristo-fori’s invention of the pianoforte; his argument is expounded with polemical passion in his paper “Umständliche Beschreibung eines neuerfundenen Clavier-instruments, auf welchem man in unterschiedenen Graden stark und schwach spielen kann,” which was publ. in 1763 in Marpurg’s Kritische Briefe; however, music historians rejected his arguments as chronologically invalid. In the field of music theory, he publ. an important paper, Deutliche Anweisung zum General-Bass, in beständiger Veränderung des uns angebohrnen harmonischen Dreyklanges (Halberstadt, 1772), in which he expounded the thesis that the major and minor triads are the sole fundamental chords in harmony. He also publ. Christoph Gottlieb Schröters…Letzte Beschäftigung mit musicalischen Dinge, nebst sechs Temperatur-Plänen und einer Noten-Tafel (Nordhausen, 1782) and other works in an egotistically assertive vein.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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