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Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenschaft

(Leipzig, 1885-1894)

Prepared by Peter Sühring
Online only (2021)

The Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenschaft [Quarterly Journal for Musicology, RIPM code VJM] was published in Leipzig from 1885 to 1894 as single issues and a few exceptional cases as double issues. At the beginning of the publication, Friedrich Chrysander and Philipp Spitta are named as publishers (“Herausgeber”), while Guido Adler is named as editor (“Redakteur”). From the second year, all three are ranked as publishers. Editorial notes by Chrysander on the occasion of Spitta's death in April 1894 indicate that Spitta had made the relevant editorial decisions regarding the selection and processing of the contributions. In addition, the discontinuation of the journal in the same year seems to have been related to Spitta's death. Spitta was able to engage a relatively stable staff and to attract competent researchers who were specialized in specific research areas, even for one-time contributions. Few authors from Chrysander's previous journalistic activities and from Spitta's immediate Berlin environment were retained. The main authors include representatives from natural and cultural scientific research directions; denominational preferences or disadvantages cannot be identified.

The main structural emphasis of each issue of the journal is on lengthy scholarly essays, which sometimes claims the greatest space and is qualitatively superior in that it achieves a special, new opening-of-horizons level in music research in a particular field. Another focus is on the review section entitled "Kritiken und Referate" [reviews and presentations] or "Referate und Kritiken" [presentations and critiques]), which also require and provide accuracy in the argumentation of documentary evidence and music examples. In addition, with the help of a "Musikalische Bibliographie" [musical bibliography] in the form of lists, and the rubrics "Notizen" [notes] or later "Kleine Mitteilungen" [small communications] are provided for the purpose of keeping the readers up to date about new publications and current scientific events and findings. A table of contents with name and subject index concludes each respective year. The number of pages in an issue often reaches a small book format of between 120 and 200 pages, while a single year always tallies about 600 pages. All years of the journal were published by Verlag Breitkopf & Härtel. The few advertisements in individual issues are by the publishing company.

Priorities were systematically set to the findings of a newly developed tone psychology following Helmholtz's physiological studies, as well as the question of the natural or tempered scale in the context of medieval modality or modern tonality. In the field of historical research prominent are studies on music culture in the Middle Ages and on Italian theory and practice in the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque periods, respectively from the contrapuntal to the harmonically dominated technique of composition on the basis of composer portraits and work monographs. With regard to German music history, for the first time research on folk and art songs receives special attention. In all contributions the source study, as well as the support of empirical and sonic experiments as methodical guidelines, are in the foreground, accordingly generous space is given for music examples and longer quotations from primary and secondary sources.

The journal is one of the most important testimonials, if not the most significant and most effective record of the efforts of German musicologists to consolidate institutionally (at the universities) and to allow journalism to emerge as a diligent cultural science. A permanent circle of authors was charged with providing a solution to burning questions of systematic and historical music research, or advancing their solutions decisively through profitable partial results. Noteworthy is the unit of systematic and historical musicology practiced in the journal, concerning the continuum of periods, styles and techniques, as well as the equality of scientific and aesthetic questions. The beginnings of music-ethnological questions are also documented. The introductory article of the editor Guido Adler, which embodied the spirit of the journal as well of the entire discipline, gives the signal for the diversity within a disciplinary unity, which would be universally valid. Although Adler divided his subjects into different areas, objects of investigation, questions and methods, at the end of this basic article he emphasizes the unity and interdependence of the individual departments. The journal recognizes Adler's demand for the unity of the discipline and is shown in his presentation of articles and research results from all the areas named by him. This was only possible because the members of the three-person editorial board were in agreement with one another and collected and published contributions about the most diverse issues of natural and cultural-scientific observance.

The initiative for the establishment of the quarterly journal seems to have emanated from Friedrich Chrysander (1826-1901). He found, after a long period searching, the Bach researcher and Berlin professor of music Spitta and the Prague musicologist Adler, as appropriate partners with whom it was possible to establish a strictly scientific periodical and to meet the needs and requirements of such. In the Vierteljahrsschrift he publishes the following articles: “Über altindische Opfermusik” [About ancient Indian sacrificial music]; “Händels Instrumentalkompositionen für großes Orchester” [Handel's instrumental compositions for large orchestra]; “Eduard Grell als Gegner der Instrumentalmusik, der Orgel, der Temperatur und der Virtuosität” [Eduard Grell as opponent of instrumental music, the organ, the temperature and the virtuosity]; “Die Oper Don Giovanni von Gazzaniga und von Mozart” [The operas Don Giovanni of Gazzaniga and Mozart]; “Lodovico Zacconi als Lehrer des Kunstgesangs” [Lodovico Zacconi as a teacher of art singing]; “Der Bestand der königlichen Privatmusik und Kirchenkapelle in London von 1710 bis 1755” [The stock of royal private music and church chapel in London from 1710 to 1755].

Philipp Spitta (1841-94) publishes “Sperontes Singende Muse an der Pleiße. Zur Geschichte des deutschen Hausgesangs im achtzehnten Jahrhundert” [Speronte’s “Singing Muse at the Pleiße”. On the history of German house singing in the eighteenth century]; “Rinaldo di Capua”; “Die Musica enchiriadis und ihr Zeitalter” [the Musica enchiriadis and its age]; “Ein Weihnachtsgesang des Heinrich Baryphonus” [A Christmas song of Heinrich Baryphonus]; and “Eine neugefundene altgriechische Melodie” [A newly found ancient Greek melody].

Guido Adler (1855-1941) contributes “Umfang, Methode und Ziel der Musikwissenschaft” [Scope, method and goal of musicology]; “Die Wiederholung und Nachahmung in der Mehrstimmigkeit. Eine Studie zur Geschichte der Harmonie” [The repetition and imitation in polyphony. A study on the history of harmony]; “Ein Satz eines unbekannten Klavierkonzerts von Beethoven” [A movement of an unknown piano concerto by Beethoven]; and “Die Kaiser Ferdinand III., Leopold I., Joseph I. und Karl VI. als Tonsetzer und Förderer der Musik” [The emperors Ferdinand III, Leopold I, Joseph I and Charles VI. as composers and promoters of music].

Other significant authors provided groundbreaking historical contributions and pioneering achievements in their journal contributions. Among them are Oskar Fleischer (1856-1933), Max Friedländer (1852-1934), Franz Xaver Haberl (1840-1910), Heinrich von Herzogenberg (1843-1900), Reinhard Kade (1859-1936), Oswald Koller (1852-1910), Hermann Kretzschmar (1848-1924), Jan Pieter Nicolaas Land (1834-97), Hans Müller (1854-97), Max Planck (1858-1947), Heinrich Reimann (1850-1906), Hugo Riemann (1849-1919)., Max Seiffert (1868-1948), Carl Stumpf (1848-1936), Emil Vogel (1859-1908) and Peter Wagner (1865-1931).

This RIPM publication is based mainly on a copy from the Library of the University of Maryland. For the missing pages and issues other sources were used. A number of peculiarities of spelling, found in the not yet Duden-regulated spelling of the nineteenth century, have been retained in the documented titles of the contributions.