Andreas Werckmeister's Cribrum musicum (1700) is one of the earliest examples of German music criticism. Written in the form of an epistle, it undertakes scathing criticism of an erroneous fugue by an unknown author. A primary focus is what Werckmeister saw as the improper use of the modes. It is appended with a part of Johann Kuhnau's Musicalischer Quack-Salber (1700) entitled The True Virtuoso and Blissful Musician , which Johann Georg Carl, a Halberstadt town musician who facilitated the treatise’s publication, felt fortified Werckmeister's commentary.
Harmonologia musica (1702) begins with a letter of dedication detailing the divine significance of music. After a brief foreword to the reader, Werckmeister then introduces four categories of chords and various rules for the realization of basso continuo. In a second section, he then discusses progressions and various errors that can occur. It concludes with an appendix in which he reveals a technique of his own invention for composing or improvising double, triple and quadruple counterpoint using three chords.
This book features the original German treatises with parallel English translations. These first translations of Cribrum musicum and Harmonologia musica are annotated and also include a significant number of definitions from Johann Gottfried Walther’s Musicalisches Lexicon (1732) to further clarify various terms.
December 9, 2013
Mongoven (German, Slavic, and Semitic studies; U. of California-Santa Barbara) presents facsimiles of the two works of musical criticism by German Baroque composer, music theorist, and organist Werckmeister (1645-1706) with facing pages of his English translation. Cribum musicum harshly criticizes a fugue that was part of a larger composition sent to him, which has never been identified. Harmonologia musical (sic) is primarily concerned with chords and progressions, and was clearly written for beginning students of composition who already had some knowledge. There is no index.
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Holds a BM in Classical Composition from New England Conservatory, where he studied under Alan Fletcher. In 2009, he completed an Ergänzungsstudium in Electroacoustic Composition at the Hochschule für Musik FRANZ LISZT Weimar, where he studied under Robin Minard. He completed a PhD in Media Arts and Technology in 2013 at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he currently holds an appointment as Lecturer in the Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies. In addition to his work in translation and music theory, Dr. Mongoven is active as a composer. His official website can be viewed at www.caseymongoven.com.