Link to home page

Jahrbücher für Musikalische Wissenschaft

(Leipzig, 1863-1867)

Prepared by Peter Sühring
Online only (2022)

The Jahrbücher für musikalische Wissenschaft (Yearbooks for Musical Science, RIPM code JMW) was published in Leipzig by Breitkopf und Härtel. Only two volumes appeared, the first in 1863, and after a break of three years, another in 1867. The first volume contained only eight main contributions (I.-VIII.), the second volume three further main contributions (IX. XI.), with another department (XII.) which contained two longer reviews and a number of shorter entries, so-called "Anzeigen" (advertisements).

The Jahrbücher were an early attempt to represent the discipline of musicology, then emerging in the universities, in a journalistic way, as well as to promote the discipline publicly and to justify its firm establishment within the scope of the faculty's canon. The editor, Friedrich Chrysander, however, considered it an urgent task to prove the productivity and methodological seriousness of the new science, so that it could meet the higher demands of an academic discipline. Thus, the charge of the yearbooks was to gather the best forces in Germany to publish original results, achieved via thorough source research. For reasons of systematic and historical consciousness, Chrysander saw that profitable results of independent research would testify to a legitimate claim of this new science and concurrently promote its official recognition. The two volumes are thus an expression of an increased self-confidence of musicology as an inalienable part of a modern scientific idea, and its struggle for its recognition. The broad and source-based arguments of the main articles were to stake a claim for a serious, methodologically-secured research in the field of music. The inclusion of practical musicians and dilettantes into these scientific debates was an additional goal.

The publisher, and the main author in both volumes, was Friedrich Chrysander (1826-1901). The great Handel researcher of the nineteenth century, Chrysander published 97 volumes in a comprehensive complete edition of Handel's works (with support of the literary scholar Georg Gottfried Gervinus) and a fragmentary multi-volume Handel biography. He was also self-taught in the musical field. After the two Jahrbücher, he edited the Leipzig-based Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung in 1868‑71 and 1875‑82, and in 1885‑94 the Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenschaft, together with Philipp Spitta and Guido Adler. The Jahrbücher are to be regarded as the forerunner to these well-known journals: They are referred to as previous "experiments" in the preface to the first issue Vierteljahrsschift. Chrysander wrote substantial contributions to all of journals he edited. He later published further research results in the Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters. From the year 1866 until his death he lived and worked in a private research center built by him with an archive and its own publishing facilities (engraving and printing) in Bergedorf near Hamburg. At the beginning of the 1870s, in consort with Joseph Joachim, the Artistic Director of the Berlin Academy of Music, he developed a concept for the establishment of a public music university for practical and theoretical teaching as well as research. He was also involved, as a founder and publisher, in the idea and practical realization of the publication of Denkmäler der Tonkunst. The network of his relationships and correspondence with musicians and scholars of his time was great. In contrast to the concept of the music scholar, he wished to be a learned musician.

The volumes of the Jahrbücher, which consist almost entirely of large contributions, announce research results. It is no coincidence that the yearbooks open with two articles on questions of music theory—on sound and temperature—in order to emphasize the scientific basis on which the journal was founded. In order to demonstrate the connection of these questions with historical ones, the music theory of Johannes Tinctoris was documented and analyzed based upon new sources. The particularly important research area of secular song in folk singing is advanced through the documentation of the Limburg Chronicle and the Locheimer Liederbuch. The role of courtly chapels with singers and instrumentalists, which was crucial for musical development, is illustrated by the example of the Brunswick chapel and the court theater in the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. The complicated history of the emergence of the English anthem "God save the King" was explored using new sources. With reference to Handel's original English manuscripts, his treatment of organ accompaniment in his oratorios is discussed twice, the examples Saul and Israel in Egypt, the latter in connection with a criticism of Mendelssohn's treatment of this question in his adaptation. Further news is given about Beethoven's late relations with England—including a criticism of Anton Schindler's account of these relationships—as well as the relationship between J. S. Bach and his son Wilhelm Friedemann to the city of Halle. The review section contained in the second volume mainly presents and criticizes music-historical representations by August Reissmann, Rudolf Westphal, Edmond de Coussemaker and Philipp Wackernagel, as well as biographical attempts by Thayer on Beethoven, and Bittner on J. S. Bach.


Friedrich Wilhelm Arnold (1810-64), music researcher and critic, folk song collector. He lived in Cologne, and later as a music dealer and publisher in Elberfeld. In the second volume he published a pioneering achievement in German folk song research: The Locheimer Liederbuch together with the Ars organisandi by Conrad Paumann, etc., edited critically from the original, in posthumous adaptation by Bellermann and Chrysander.

Heinrich Bellermann (1832 1903), high school teacher, then professor of music, music researcher and composer, and head of the Berlin vocal school. For the first volume of the Jahrbücher he contributed a German translation of, and the notes to, Johannes Tinctoris, Terminorum musicae diffinitorium. In the second volume, he translated and annotated Conrad Paumann’s Fundamentum organisandi, in the context of Arnold's portrayal of the Locheimer Liederbuch, as well as together with Chrysander the epilogue. In Volume 2 he reviewed the music history of August Reissmann.

Friedrich Chrysander (1826-1901). He contributed articles on the following topics: the Preface and Introduction; German folk song in the sixteenth century; a complete narration of the poetic-musical part of the Limburg Chronicle of John, together with Fritschen Closener's report on the journeys of the Geislers; history of the Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel chapel and opera from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century; Henry Carey and the origin of the royal anthem "God save the King"; Handel's organ accompaniment to Saul, and the latest English edition of this oratorio; Beethoven's connection with Birchall and Stumpff in London; Participation with Bellermann in the epilogue of the Locheimer Liederbuch article; Johann Sebastian Bach and his son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach in Halle 1713‑1768; Mendelssohn's organ accompaniment to Israel in Egypt; a review of books by Rudolph Westphal, E. de Coussemaker, Philipp Wackernagel, Friedrich Hommel, Friedrich Riegel, Rochus von Liliencron, Alexander W. Thayer, C.H. Bittner. M. Rudhart, Arrey von Dommer and Eduard Krüger; and statistics of the singing clubs and concert institutes in Germany and Switzerland.

Moritz Hauptmann (1792‑1868), composer and music theorist, music director of Leipzig, Thomas Kantor and professor at the Leipzig Conservatory, friend of and collaborator with Louis Spohr and Felix Mendelssohn. In the first volume of the yearbooks he published two essays on the theory of music: Sound (pp. 17‑27) and Temperature (pp. 28‑54).

The indexing of the yearbooks was based on facsimiles from the Sibley Library, Eastman School of Music, and Stanford University Library.

A number of peculiarities of the not yet DUDEN-regulated orthography have been retained in the documented titles of the contributions, e.g. the Th in words like Theil or the genitive apostrophe, but were adapted within the commentary inside the square brackets to today's spelling.

Peter Sühring

Bornheim, April 2018