Hugo Riemann

Karl Wilhelm Julius Hugo Riemann ( born July 18, 1849 in United - Mehlra for special (Thuringia ), † July 10, 1919 in Leipzig ) was a German music theorist, musicologist, music educator and Musiklexikograph. His most famous work, the Riemann music encyclopedia, today is a recognized standard work on music theory and history.

  • 3.1 Books and journals
  • 3.2 Factory explanations in the music leader
  • 3.3 Arrangements and Translations
  • 3.4 editions



His first musical training received Hugo Riemann of his father, the lords of the manor and chief official Robert Riemann, who was a music lover and of the Sondershausen some songs, choral pieces, and opera Bianca Siffredi were listed. His first teacher was the special theory Hausener Kapellmeister Heinrich Frankenberger. He also received lessons with Ratzenberger August Bartel, Hartleb and the pupil of Liszt, Theodore. Riemann attended high school in Sondershausen and Arnstadt and the convent school in Roßleben, where he received a thorough academic intellectual culture with the knowledge of the classical languages ​​and literatures. 1868 laid Hugo Riemann at the high school in Arnstadt his school leaving examination. After graduating humanistic schooling and knowledge in the field of music, as well as his training on the piano, Riemann saw his future career as a writer or composer.

Study time

Riemann studied law in Berlin from 1868, German and history. From the cultural historian William Scherer Riemann received the important impulse to devote himself to the art scientific work. He continued his studies in 1869 in Tübingen, continue with the fields of philosophy at Christoph von Sigwart, history with Julius Weizsäcker, art history and aesthetics at B. Kugler with Karl Reinhold von Köstlin. Riemann studied in Tübingen two formative for him basic books know, the system of harmony of Moritz Hauptmann and Helmholtz ' theory of the sensations of tone. Ever since the age of nine, Riemann was devoted to poetry. However, the attempt to publish a two-volume book of poems by Cotta failed. 1870 appeared first strongly theoretically applied music literary works about Richard Wagner and Gaspare Spontini, which were published under a pseudonym in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, which was followed by 1872 more articles in the field of music theory, which appeared under the name Hugibert Ries. After his participation in the German -Prussian War 1870/71 he opted exclusively for music. He studied at the Conservatory and the University of Leipzig, among other music theory at Ernst Friedrich Richter, composition with Carl Reinecke and music history with Paul Oscar. In Leipzig his thesis was rejected by the Hegelian Oskar Paul. In the same year handed Riemann dissertation About the musical listening at the University of Göttingen in the philosopher Rudolf Hermann Lotze and the music scholar Edward Kruger and received on 30 November 1873, the Göttingen philosophical doctorate.

Since 1870 he was a member of the Corps Suevia Tübingen.

Professional career

From 1874 worked Hugo Riemann as a piano teacher and conductor in Bielefeld, where he also published writings to piano lessons, to musical syntax and harmony. Here Riemann married in 1876 coming from a family of industrialists Elizabeth Bertelsmann, with whom he had five children. Under the expert Philipp Spitta, who was trying to promote it in the subsequent period, Riemann habilitated in the fall of 1878 at the University of Leipzig with the studies of the history of musical notation. A professional consolidation and the desired high school career did not occur even after his habilitation and his compositional projects. Then Riemann was in 1880 briefly active in Bydgoszcz, where he took over the mixed choir Club as a conductor and also worked as a music teacher. At the same Riemann 1878-1880 lecturer in Leipzig. Riemann worked as a teacher for all theoretical subjects and the piano from 1881 to 1890 at the Conservatory in Hamburg, where he met, among others, Johannes Brahms. At the royal conservatory in Sondershausen, at which he was employed in 1890, three months Max Reger was his pupil, who succeeded him to Wiesbaden, where Riemann was hired the next five years to 1895 as a piano and theory teacher at the conservatory. Hans Pfitzner took there with Riemann short lessons. Then Riemann finally returned to Leipzig. In 1901 he was appointed associate, in 1905 associate professor at the University of Leipzig. Eventually, he became in 1908 director and founder of the musicological Institute ( Collegium Musicum ). 1911 Riemann was in Leipzig honorary professor in 1914, and finally director and founder of the "State- Saxon Research Institute of Musicology ". Riemann was an honorary member of the St. Cecilia Academy in Rome since 1887, at the Royal Academy in Florence since 1894 and the Musical Association in London since 1900. Leipzig, he was also a member of the Masonic Lodge Phoenix. The University of Edinburgh appointed Riemann in 1899 an honorary professor. In 1905 there were performances by own arrangements of late Baroque and Classical chamber music initiated by him Collegium Musicum first time. Although Riemann also in Berlin, Prague and Vienna endeavored next to Leipzig a musicological Chair, remained from such a call, although even in Berlin Hermann Kretzschmar began for him who initially personally and objectively declined sharply Riemann. On the occasion of his 60th birthday in 1909 Riemann was presented a commemorative of his students, who included music researcher, and performer. His compositional activities reduced Riemann in 1903 strongly, however, remained his writing and editorial line work for a long time constant. In his last years, Riemann was confined to a wheelchair due to two suffered strokes and died at 69 years.

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Labor productivity

Until 1905, Riemann had to support his family financially, in addition to the low income from his teaching activities, working as a private piano, voice and theory teacher. Moreover, there was from Riemann numerous and diversified publications in the form of meetings, miscellanea, glosses, dictionary articles, music leaders, adaptations and translations of musicological writings of other authors and music editions. This quantity unprecedented productivity is no longer exactly reconstructed today. She was made ​​possible by a 18-hour working day, the morning began at 4 and Riemann high self- discipline demanded that brought him into the role of an outsider and a life distant meant that denied him an academic career. Through an accurate view of history of the subject Riemann compensated for this and beyond through his humorous sarcastic commentary on his idiosyncrasies. Riemann published in 1898, for example, a fictional medieval treatise including pseudo-scientific comment.

Teaching method

Hugo Riemann was of a high quality musical instruction view. He understood the piano lessons as a piano education. In addition to pure technique comprised of piano lessons and ear training, syntax, phrasing and the training of the sense of play polyphonically. Riemann composition lessons put on the analysis of masterpieces. This was followed by progressive attempts at imitating ideal role models and finally the exercise and development of the musical imagination, so the creative imagination.


The estate of Hugo Riemann remained mostly family owned. By an air raid in 1943 this was destroyed. Only parts of Riemann correspondence, and personal notes of his eldest son, the literary historian Robert Riemann, have been preserved. Letters from Hugo Riemann from the period 1873-1916 are held by the Leipzig music publisher CF Peters in Leipzig State Archives.

Street Name

After Hugo Riemann a street in Leipzig music district is named. He lived in the immediate vicinity thereof, in today's Riemannstraße (formerly Albert Street ), which is also partly runs in the quarter.


Hugo Riemann is one of the most distinctive and important personalities among musicologists. He has his greatest achievements gained in the field of music theory, which he renewed from scratch. Although for him the Viennese classical style was secretly the basis of the music, he was still open to the new. He looked into all that is new with his own theories of harmony and metrics that everything was based on findings of the phenomenological psychology of his time. Also in the field of music history, he has led the way, but he gave her in a comprehensive manner their stilkundliche orientation.

To almost all areas of musicology, he has made ​​a significant contribution.

The Riemann music lexicon ( " The Riemann " ), Riemann's most famous work, has retained its prominent place to this day. He has also written articles for Meyers encyclopedia.

With its harmonious dualism pledged the theory of " functions" Riemann laid the basic concept of today's harmony. In modified form, it is still taught today in all musical training centers. Many musical terms in his treatises are now a technical vocabulary, such as " rubato ", " design" or " phrasing ".

Books and writings

  • Musical logic. Main features of the physiological and psychological justification of our music system (Leipzig, 1873); at the same time as a dissertation about the musical listening (1874 )
  • The expedients of modulation ( Kassel, 1875)
  • The objective existence of overtones in the sound wave (Kassel, 1875)
  • Vademecum for his first piano lessons (Leipzig, 1876)
  • Studies in the History of Music Notation ( Leipzig, 1878)
  • Sketch of a new method of harmony (Leipzig, 1880); from the second edition of 1887 as a manual of harmony
  • The development of our notation (Leipzig, 1881)
  • Music Lexicon (Leipzig, 1882); completed and edited by Alfred Einstein ( Berlin, 9th edition 1919, 11th edition 1929); as Riemann music encyclopedia, 5 volumes, edited by Wilibald Gurlitt, Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht and Carl Dahlhaus (Mainz, 12th edition 1959-1975 ); 13, first edition, 5 vols, ed. by Wolfgang reputation in connection with Annette van Dyck Hemming (Mainz 2012)
  • The nature of the harmonies (Leipzig, 1882)
  • Elementary Music Education ( Hamburg, 1883)
  • Comparative theoretical and practical piano school, 3 parts (Hamburg / St. Petersburg, 1883), fourth edition, 1912, in Leipzig as Comparative Piano School
  • The expression in music ( Leipzig, 1883)
  • Musical dynamics and rubato (Hamburg / St. Petersburg / Leipzig, 1884)
  • Practical Guide to phrasing (Leipzig, 1886), with C. Fuchs
  • Opera Guide (Leipzig, 1887 - )
  • Systematic modulation theory as the basis of musical morphology (Hamburg, 1887)
  • Catechism of Music ( general music theory ) (Leipzig, 1888), from the 5th edition as general music theory (Handbook of Music )
  • Catechism of the History of Music, 2 parts (Leipzig 1888, 1889), from the 5th edition in 1914 as a sketch of the history of music
  • Catechism of Musical Instruments ( Instrumentationslehre ) (Leipzig, 1888), from the 5th edition as a handbook of musical instruments
  • Catechism of the Organ ( Leipzig, 1888), from the 4th edition as a handbook of the organ
  • Catechism of piano playing (Leipzig, 1888), from the 5th edition in 1916 as a manual of piano playing
  • Textbook of single, double and imitative counterpoint ( Leipzig, 1888)
  • As we listen to music? Three lectures (Leipzig, 1888)
  • Catechism of the theory of composition, 2 parts (Leipzig, 1889), from the 2nd edition in 1897 as a plan view of the theory of composition
  • Catechism of the basso continuo - playing game ( Leipzig, 1889), from the 2nd edition 1903 as guidance for basso games
  • Catechism of the music dictation (Leipzig, 1889), from the 4th edition in 1916 as a manual of music dictation
  • Catechism of the joint composition, 3 parts, parts 1 and 2: Analysis of Johann Sebastian Bach's " Well-Tempered Clavier " (Leipzig, 1890 /91), from the 3rd edition from 1914 to 1916 as a handbook of joint composition, Part 3: Analysis by Johann Sebastian Bach's " Art of Fugue " (Leipzig, 1894), from the 2nd edition in 1917 as the same
  • Catechism of the theory of harmony (Leipzig, 1890), from the 2nd edition in 1900 as the catechism of harmony and modulation theory, from the 5th edition of 1913 as a manual of harmony and modulation theory
  • Catechism of music aesthetics ( How we listen to music? ) (Leipzig, 1890), from the 2nd edition in 1903 as How do we listen to music? Basic lines of music aesthetics
  • Catechism of the phrasing (Leipzig, 1890) with C. Fuchs, from the 2nd edition in 1900 as Vademecum of phrasing, in the 8th edition as a handbook of phrasing
  • Catechism of Acoustics ( Musicology ) (Leipzig, 1891), from the 2nd edition in 1914 as a handbook of acoustics
  • Catechism of the vocal composition (Leipzig, 1891), the 3rd edition in 1921 as a manual of vocal composition
  • Preludes and studies, 5 volumes, Volume 1 (Frankfurt / Main, 1895), Volume 2 /3 ( Leipzig, 1900/1901 ), Volume 4/5 pressure in preparation ( edited by Robert Stephan Schmitt-Scheubel/Rudolph / Helga de la Motte -Haber )
  • Notation and score printing (Leipzig, 1896)
  • History of Music Theory in the IX -XIX. Century (Berlin, 1898)
  • The elements of musical aesthetics ( Berlin / Stuttgart, 1900)
  • Epochs and heroes of music history, in: Spemann's golden book of music, edited, composed of K. Grunsky et al (Berlin / Stuttgart, 1900)
  • History of music since Beethoven (1800-1900) (Berlin / Stuttgart, 1900)
  • Instructions to score game ( Leipzig, 1902)
  • Great composition teaching, 3 volumes, Volume 1: The homophone set ( Berlin / Stuttgart, 1902), Volume 2: The polyphonic rate ( Berlin / Stuttgart, 1903), Volume 3: The orchestral movement and the dramatic vocal style (Stuttgart, 1913)
  • Catechism of the orchestration (Leipzig, 1902), from the 3rd edition 1919, Handbook of orchestration
  • System of musical rhythm and meter (Leipzig, 1903)
  • Handbook of the History of Music, 2 vols in 5 parts, part 1.1: The music of classical antiquity (Leipzig, 1904), Part 1.2: The music of the Middle Ages (Leipzig, 1905), Part 2.1: The Age of the Renaissance (Leipzig 1907), Part 2.2: the basso age (Leipzig, 1912), Part 2.3: the music of the 18th and 19th centuries (Leipzig, 1913)
  • Elementary textbook of harmony (Leipzig, 1906)
  • Normal piano school for beginners (Leipzig, 1906)
  • Lost self-evident in the music of the 15th - 16th Century ( Langensalza, 1907)
  • Outline of Musicology (Leipzig, 1908)
  • Little Handbook of Music History ( Leipzig, 1908)
  • Johannes Brahms and the theory of music (Munich, 1909)
  • Spontaneous activity of imagination and intellectual work in the tonkünstlerischen production (Leipzig, 1909)
  • Studies on Byzantine music, 2 parts, Part 1: The Byzantine notation in the 10th to 15th century ( Leipzig, 1909), Part 2: New contributions to solving the problems of Byzantine Music Notation ( Leipzig 1915)
  • The Beck- Aubry'sche " modal interpretation " of the Troubadourmelodien in SIMG 11, 1909/1910
  • Beethoven's Prometheus music. A set of variations, in: The Music 9, 1909/10
  • " Basso ostinato " and " Basso ostinato quasi ", in: Festschrift R. Liliencron, 1910
  • Beethoven String Quartets ( Berlin / Vienna, 1910)
  • Johann Stamitzs melody, in: New Musik-Zeitung 31, 1910
  • Compendium of musical notation customer ( Regensburg, 1910)
  • 6 String Quartets of Franz Xaver Richter, in: Sheets for home and church music 15, 1910/1911
  • John Playford 's Division Violin and Michel Farinelli 's Folies d' Espagne, in: The Music 10 1910/1911
  • When Handel made ​​the acquaintance of Steffani, in: flags 2, 1910/1911
  • Is there a double harmonies, in: Festschrift F. Pedrellian Tortosa, 1911
  • Stumpf 's " Concordance and Dikordanz ," in zimg 13, 1911/1912
  • Awareness and pitch interval judgment, in: zimg 13, 1911/1912
  • Music history in examples ( Leipzig, 1912)
  • The rhythmic structure of the bass dances of the manuscript 9085 of the Brussels Royal. Library, in: SIMG 14, 1912/1913
  • A siebensätzige dance suite from Monteverdi from J.1607, in: SIMG 14, 1912/1913
  • The clock Freedoms in Brahms's songs, in: The Music 12 1912/1913
  • Γιγνόμενον and Γεγονός when listening to music. A aristoxenischer contribution to modern aesthetics of music (Berlin, 1913)
  • The accompanied art song in the 14th century, 1914/1915
  • Ideas for a " theory of Tonvorstellungen ," in JBP 21/22, 1914/15
  • Ethnic studies tonality, Part 1: Pentatonic and tetrachordale melody (Leipzig, 1916)
  • New contributions to a theory of Tonvorstellungen, in: JBP 23, 1916
  • L. van Beethoven's complete piano solo sonatas, 3 parts (Berlin, 1918, 1919, 1919)
  • The phrasing in the light of a theory of Tonvorstellungen, in: ZfMw 1, 1918/19,

Factory explanations in the music leader

  • Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet in F major op.135
  • Johannes Brahms, Symphony No. 3 in F major op.90
  • PIČajkovskij, 6.Symphonie " Pathétique " in B minor op.74
  • Robert Schumann, Symphony No. 4 in D minor, op.120
  • Robert Volkmann, Symphony No. 2 in B flat major op.53
  • Richard Wagner, " Imperial March " WWV 104

Adaptations and translations

  • AF Christiani, The Principles of Expression in Pianoforte Playing (New York, 1885), as: Understanding the piano (Leipzig, 1886)
  • FA Gevaert, Nouveau traité d'Instrumentation (Paris / Brussels, 1885), as: New Instrument Teaching (Leipzig, 1887)
  • AB Marx, The doctrine of the musical composition, 4 parts, edited by Hugo Riemann
  • G. Morphy, Les Luthistes espagnols you XVIe siècle ( The Spanish champions According to the 16th century) (French - German ), 2 parts, 1902
  • Ch.-M. Widor, Technique de l' orchester modern (Paris / Brussels, 1904), as: The technology of the modern orchestra (Leipzig, 1904)


  • Symphonies of the Bavarian Palatinate school ( Mannheim symphonic ), 3 parts, 1902, 1906, 1907
  • J. Schobert, Selected Works, 1909
  • A. Steffani, Selected Works, Part 2/3, 1911/1912
  • Mannheim chamber music of the 18th century, 2 parts, 1914/1915