In the history of brass instruments few developments can rival the early nineteenth-century invention of the valve for enduring significance. Nevertheless the acceptance of valved brass instruments proved controversial as newspapers and other documents repeatedly attest. Christian Ahrens (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) in his important monograph Eine Erfindung und ihre Folgen: Blechblasinstrumente mit Ventilen (1986) devotes considerable attention to this heated controversy as he traces the early use of valved brass instruments in the realms of art music military music and Volksmusik. Stressing social and aesthetic issues over the more familiar mechanical aspects the author draws on a rich body of journalistic source material to detail a compelling reception history.
Christian Ahrens was born in Berlin in 1943 and studied musicology and French literature at Free University of Berlin, receiving his Ph. D. in 1970. He has published in the fields of the history of musical instruments and musical practice (mainly wind and keyed instruments), music of the 18th and 19th centuries, including Bach, Roemhildt, Stoelzel, Schubert, Schumann and Bruckner. He has also contributed to dictionaries of musical instruments.
From 1999 to 2009, Dr. Ahrens served as leader of the organological symposia during the Tage Alter Musik (Festival of Ancient Music) in Herne and as editor of the proceedings (10 published, 1 in preparation).