Curt Sachs

Curt Sachs ( born June 29, 1881 in Berlin, † February 5, 1959 in New York) was an ethnomusicologist and founder of scientific musical instrument customer.

Life and work

Curt Sachs was in his youth, piano lessons, learned music theory and composition. Later, at the University of Berlin, he took music history in his studies. He wrote his dissertation on Art History ( 1904). After several years as an art critic and historian, he was appointed as the successor Oskar Fleischer as director of the " Collection of Ancient Instruments at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Berlin " in December 1919. He made ​​intensive efforts to make available to the extensive collection of the public and the scientific community. Here also began his career as a musical instrument experts ( Organologe ). 1933 Sachs was dismissed as a Jew by the Nazis after the occupation Civil Service Act of his office. He was then forced to flee to Paris and later to the United States, where he settled down in New York. There he taught from 1937 to 1953 at New York University and also worked in the Public Library. Sachs died in 1959 in New York.

Sachs wrote books about rhythm, dance and musical instruments. In 1913 his Reallexicon of musical instruments, in 1914 he published with Erich von Hornbostel essay classification of musical instruments: An experiment in the Journal of Ethnology, were famous for both. The article contained a new system for the classification of musical instruments. This has been revised several times over the years and is now known as the Hornbostel -Sachs classification. His book The history of musical instruments (1940 ) is one of the most important works on the subject.

1956 honorary doctorate from the Free University of Berlin awarded him. The Concert Hall of the Music Instrument Museum Berlin is named after Curt Sachs. Since 1983, the American Musical Instrument Society gives "The Curt Sachs Award".

Works (selection)

  • Reallexicon of musical instruments. Berlin 1913
  • The musical instruments of India and Indonesia. At the same time an introduction to the instrument customer. Berlin 1915, 2nd edition 1923
  • The musical instruments. Wroclaw 1923
  • Music of antiquity. Wroclaw 1924
  • Spirit and Will of musical instruments. Berlin 1929
  • Comparative musicology in its basic features. Leipzig 1930
  • World History of the Dance. New York 1937
  • Les Instruments de musique de Madagascar. Paris 1938
  • The history of musical instruments. New York 1940
  • The rise of music in the Ancient world: East and West. New York 1943
  • Rhythm and Tempo: A Study in Music History. New York 1953
  • The Wellsprings of Music. Edited by Jaap Kunst. The Hague 1962