Fétis' Esquisse, a chronicle of the theoretical tenets of harmony from Franco of Cologne (1230-50) to 1840, is the first known history of harmonic theory. This work predates Hugo Riemann's impressive Geschichte der Musiktheorie im IX.-XIX. Jahrhundert by more than fifty years, yet little is known about Fétis' Esquisse and few copies are extant. As one of the most lucid musicologists of this time and one of the first to consider the past with an artistic interest, Fétis knew and understood the historical aspects of the art. As a composer and teacher of composition, he appreciated the need for a systematic presentation of musical materials. As a theorist, he had examined and studied the writings of theorists throughout the ages.
Mary I. Arlin: