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Archiv für Musikwissenschaft

(Leipzig, 1918-1926)

Prepared by Peter Sühring
Online only (2024)

The Archiv für Musikwissenschaft (RIPM code AMW)[1] published on behalf of and under the patronage of the Fürstliches Institut für Musikwissenschaftliche Forschung (Princely Institute for Musicological Research) in Bückeburg appeared quarterly. Only the first volume officially exceeded the two calendar years 1918 and 1919 (the first issue having appeared in October 1918, the three others in the course of 1919). In the last year of 1926, the completion of the issues was delayed; as such the first issue appeared in October 1926 and the remaining three issues in the course of 1927. Due to the lack of funding from the publisher and the institute, and despite an offer of a price reduction from the publisher, the publication of the journal then had to be discontinued. The first two volumes were published by Breitkopf & Härtel, the rest by Kistner & Siegel, both publishers based in Leipzig. Each issue contained between 100 and 150 pages. From the seventh year (1925) onwards, the magazine was no longer printed in German Fraktur but in Latin letters. The lines were always printed full-page, there were no columns.

With the second issue of the third year, a section with book reviews concluding the issues began to appear, initially sporadically, then from the fourth year as a regular institution, including short collective and detailed individual discussions, sorted by publishers who had sent in their titles for review. Registers of persons and subjects appeared for each year with the last issue. Reports on the general meetings and foundation days of the institute were also published annually. Occasionally, reports from the university scientific community, corrections and additions to individual articles, and minor controversies appeared. Extensive use was made of the possibility of reproducing music examples in articles or of documenting longer pieces as supplements, probably with the help of the institute's photographic workshop. In some later issues there were full-page advertisements from several music publishers with presentations of parts of the publishing program or separate listings for individual composers or genres.


Short biographical sketches of the main editors and important collaborators of the journal


Max Seiffert (1868‑1948)

A music researcher trained by Philipp Spitta, Seiffert was a collaborator on the Denkmäler-Edition, co-founder of the International Musik Gesellschaft (International Music Society, IMG) and co-editor of its anthologies (“Sammelbände”, SIMG), professor at the Berlin Conservatory (Department of Church and School Music), head of the Bückeburg Research Institute. He longed for a replacement of the International Music Society, which had been destroyed from abroad by the Bückeburg Institute, which he saw as a continuation of regional princely traditions and as the germ of a new national movement to connect "intellectuals" with the people and practical musicians. He headed the "expanded" institute after it was moved to Berlin in 1934 and promoted the programmatic centralization of musicology in Germany under National Socialist auspices. For the AMW he wrote longer articles based on his own research only in the earlier volumes, including: Bildzeugnisse des 16. Jahrhunderts für die instrumentale Begleitung des Gesangs und den Ursprung des Musikkupferstichs (I,1,49‑67), J. A. P. Schulz’ dänische Oper (I,3,422‑31), Das Mylauer Tabulaturbuch von 1750 (I,4,607‑32), Zur Biographie Delphin Struncks (II,1,79‑84), Das Plauener Orgelbuch von 1708 (II,3,371‑93), and several reviews.[2]


Johannes Wolf (1869‑1947)

Wolf was a music historian and medieval specialist, trained in Berlin by Spitta and Bellermann, with a humanistic attitude who worked in Berlin as a professor and music librarian. He was also secretary of the International Music Society and edited its anthologies (“Sammelbände”), co-founder of the Deutsche Musikgesellschaft (DMG) in 1917, he was its Berlin local group chairman from 1926 to 1933, member of the Bückeburg Institute for Music Research and retired in 1934, resigning in protest from his position as head of the music department of the Berlin State Library and as chairman of the Berlin local group of the DMG. Within the editorial team of the AMW, he was responsible for the review section, wrote a large part of the reviews himself and also the following articles: Die Tänze des Mittelalters. Eine Untersuchung des Wesens der ältesten Instrumentalmusik (I,1,10‑42), Ein Breslauer Mensuraltraktat des 15. Jahrhunderts (I,3,329‑45), Lieder aus der Reformationszeit (VII,1,53‑64), Carl Maria von Weber (VIII,1,120‑30).


Max Schneider (1875‑1967)

As a pupil of Kretzschmar and Riemann (musicology) and Jadassohn (composition), Schneider gained assistant, lecturer and professor positions in Berlin, Breslau and Halle (where he finally taught continuously from 1928 to 1952 as the successor to Schering). His main areas of research were Protestant church music and secular music from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. He gave up his position as dean of the Philosophical Faculty in 1936 because of his rejection of the aggressive ideological orientation of the universities in the spirit of National Socialism by the Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg, appointed by Hitler in 1938, but remained a member of several Nazi educational organizations. He distinguished himself particularly as a Bach and Handel researcher and worked significantly for the societies dedicated to these two composers as the editor of their publications. He assumed editorship of the Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft after Alfred Einstein's dismissal in the summer of 1933 and was able to save the journal from the worst effects of National Socialist harmonization for some time. At the meeting of the DMG in June 1935 he stood up for an independent scholarly society of musicology. In addition to his editorial work, he published only a few articles, reviews and internal organizational reports at the AMW, including: Die Besetzung der vielstimmigen Musik des 17. und 16. Jahrhunderts (I,2,205‑34).



Hermann Abert (1871‑1927)

Albert was the son of the composer and conductor Johann Joseph Abert in Stuttgart and father of the musicologist Anna Amalie Abert. He was a music historian, but began his academic training as a classical philologist and later, after working on antiquity and the Middle Ages, concentrated on the history of opera. He taught in Halle, Heidelberg and Berlin. For the AMW he wrote: Das neue griechische Papyrus mit Musiknoten (I,2,313‑28), Paisiello’s Buffokunst und ihre Beziehungen zu Mozart (I,3,402‑21), Über Aufgaben und Ziele der musikalischen Biographie (II,3,417‑33), W. A. Mozart. Ein Selbstbericht (IV,4,484‑88), Wort und Ton in der Musik des 18. Jahrhunderts (V,1,31‑70), and several reviews.


Heinrich Besseler (1900‑69)

A musicologist, trained in Vienna (with Gàl and Adler), Freiburg (with Gurlitt) and Göttingen (with Ludwig), Besseler was appointed professor in Heidelberg at the age of 28 and taught in Jena and Leipzig, In the AMW he published his large-scale synthetic résumés: Studien zur Musik des Mittelalters. I. Neue Quellen des 14. und beginnenden 15. Jahrhunderts (VII,2,167‑252) und II. Die Motette von Franko von Köln bis Philipp von Vitry (VIII,2,137‑258).


Lotte Kallenbach-Greller (1893‑1968)

She was born as Karoline Greller in a German-speaking Jewish family in Bukowina, trained in Czernowiz and Vienna to become a literary scholar and in Berlin (1916-20) as a musicologist. She married and lived in Berlin in the 1920s and 30s, where she was on the board of the Berlin branch of the Internationale Gesellschaft für Neue Musik (International Society for Contemporary Music, IGNM). In her Berlin apartment she ran a salon with house concerts for new music, had relationships with Schönberg, Josef Matthias Hauer and Alois Hába and published books and articles on the intellectual history of contemporary music during the Weimar Republic. In 1933 she fell silent, divorced in 1938 for the benefit of her non-Jewish husband and survived the Nazi dictatorship in Germany, half submerged on her own, without being caught. After 1945 she fought for her status as persecuted by the Nazi regime and hardly published any more and died lonely. In the last issue of the AMW (September 1927) she published: Die historische Grundlage der Vierteltöne (VIII,4,473‑85).


Friedrich Ludwig (1872‑1930)

He was a medieval researcher who was initially trained as a historian in Strasbourg and then switched to music history. He taught as a collector, systematizing interpreter and editor of medieval music traditions, first in Strasbourg, and after 1919 in Göttingen. In the AMW he published: Perotinus Magnus (III,4,361‑70), Die Quellen der Motetten ältesten Stils (V,3,185‑222 und V,4,273‑315), Die mehrstimmige Messe des 14. Jahrhunderts (VII,4,417‑35).


Hans Mersmann (1891‑1971)

Mersmann was a musicologist with a penchant for fundamental aesthetic issues, was still entrusted with the establishment of a folk song archive during the Empire. He taught at the Technical University in Berlin during the Weimar period, was a fighter for the recognition of new music, headed the journal Melos from 1924 to 1933, whereafter he was relieved of his functions after 1933 and branded as “cultural Bolshevik.” He survived the Third Reich as a private music teacher; after the Second World War he was director of the Cologne University of Music for ten years. In the AMW he published: Ein Weihnachtsspiel des Görlitzer Gymnasiums 1668 (I,2,244‑66), Beiträge zur Aufführungspraxis der vorklassischen Kammermusik in Deutschland (II,1,99‑143), Grundlagen einer musikalischen Volksliederforschung. I. Bibliographische Vorfragen (IV,2,140‑54), II. Die Probleme (IV,3,289-321), III. Vergleichende Melodienbetrachtung (V,2,81‑135), und IV. Der Organismus des Volkslieds (VI,2,127‑64), and several reviews.


Elisabeth Noack (1895‑1974)

She was a musical reform pedagogue trained at Berlin University, who worked and taught at Hessian schools and at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Kiel. As a representative of the Tonika-Do teaching, she also headed the publishing house of this movement and collaborated with Elisabeth Selver-Paul and Maria Leo. In the AMW she published: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der älteren deutschen Suite (II,2,275‑79), Georg Christoph Strattner (ca. 1645‑1704). Ein Beitrag zur Entwicklung der süddeutschen Barockmusik (III,4,447‑83), Die Bibliothek der Michaelskirche zu Erfurt. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der musikalischen Formen und der Aufführungspraxis in der zweiten Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts (VII,1,65‑116).


Curt Sachs (1881‑1959)

He was an instrument scientist and music ethnographer trained in art history, headed the musical instrument collection at the Berlin University of Music and was a professor at the Berlin University. In addition to numerous reviews, he wrote for the AMW: Die Streichbogenfrage (I,1,3‑9), Kunstgeschichtliche Wege zur Musikwissenschaft (I,3,451‑64), Die Tonkunst der alten Ägypter (II,1,9‑17), Das neue Wiener Instrumenten-Museum (III,2,128‑34), Die Musik im Rahmen der allgemeinen Kunstgeschichte (VI,3,256‑61), Ein babylonischer Hymnus (VII,1,1‑22).


Arnold Schering (1877‑1941)

He was a musicologist trained in Berlin, first for violin (with Joseph Joachim) and composition, then in musicology (with Fleischer) as well as in Munich (with Sandberger) and Leipzig (with Kretzschmar). Schering diligently researched and published in the German Empire, in the Weimar Republic and in the Third Reich and held several key functions in the university sector (professorships in Leipzig and Berlin). In addition to two reviews, he wrote for the AMW: Die alte Chorbibliothek der Thomasschule in Leipzig (I,2,275‑88), Takt und Sinngliederung in der Musik des 16. Jahrhunderts. Ein Beitrag zur Stilgeschichte des Frühbarock (II,4,465‑98), Die Leipziger Ratsmusik von 1650 bis 1775 (III,1,17‑53).


Georg Schünemann (1884‑1945)

He was a multi-faceted and educated music historian and educator, professor and director of the Berlin University of Music and head of the music department of the Berlin State Library (as successor to Johannes Wolf). He directed the instrument collection of the University of Music (as successor to Sachs). He published in the AMW: Die Bewerber um das Freiberger Kantorat (1556‑1798), Breitkopf & Härtel (I,2,179‑204), (I,3, 465‑76), Kasantatarische Lieder (I,4,499‑515), Über die Beziehungen der vergleichenden Musikwissenschaft zur Musikgeschichte (II,2,175‑94), Matthaeus Hertels theoretische Schriften (IV,3,336‑58).


Peter Wagner (1865‑1931)

Wagner was a music historian trained by Jacobsthal in Strasbourg with a focus on Catholic church music and the Middle Ages, and later taught in Fribourg and became famous as a neume theorist. In addition to a number of controversies, he wrote for the AMW: Ein bedeutsamer Fund zur Neumengeschichte (I,4,516‑34), Zur Musikgeschichte der Universität (III,1,1‑16), Einführung in die gregorianischen Melodien. Ein Selbstbericht (IV,1,109‑16), Zu den liturgischen Organa (VI,1,54-57), Zum Organum Crucifixum in carne (VI,4,401‑06), Aus der Frühzeit des Liniensystems (VIII,2,259‑76).


Overview of contents and major topics treated on the journal

On the one hand, the thematic orientation of the AMW was a reflection of the focus of the research program, namely, the departments and specialist committees of the Institute in Bückeburg; on the other hand, there were a number of longer free contributions, likely related to the fact that significant progress had been achieved in musical research of the Middle Ages, owing to a number of active researchers such as Friedrich Ludwig, Heinrich Besseler, Johannes Wolf, Peter Wagner and Jacques Handschin. The program of the institute set the following thematic priorities: indexing of archival material on German music history (especially on the early modern period, fifteenth to seventeenth century), experimental music knowledge (physical-mathematical, acoustic, physiological and psychological test series on sound systems, spatial effects and subjective music perception), state or regional affairs (regional research within Germany, indexing of courtly, church and city archives), research into musical time periods (antiquity, middle ages, the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries), research into musical genres (song, opera, oratorio), Catholic and Protestant church music, aesthetics, comparative musicology (early research in ethnomusicology), instrument studies, and bibliographical matters. In addition, the special fields of individual outstanding researchers and their summary on epochs or genres as well as their elaborations specially dedicated to a single composer were printed. Research specializing in the history of music in Bückeburg was also documented.

Increasingly over the years of publication, longer treatises with an overall presentation of the life and work of musical personalities or entire genres in larger periods of time came into play. They were an expression of the endeavor to arrive at synthetic judgments. Great emphasis was also placed on the empirical recording of historically relevant new material; there was also a series of source descriptions from church, court and city libraries. In addition to the appointed and renowned researchers, commissioned and sponsored young scientists can be identified, who were left to evaluate entire bundles of sources for verification and profiling. There was hardly any discussion of the problems of contemporary music.


The journal's relative importance and historical place

From 1918 to 1927, the Archiv für Musikwisenschaft was part of the journalistic activities of the Institute in Bückeburg, along with other series of publications. This, in turn, was based on a local music tradition, to which from 1913 plans for the establishment of a theoretical and practical music training facility belonged, and ideas and financial investments of the Schaumburg-Lippe Princely House, especially Prince Adolf II von Schaumburg-Lippe as the founder, were involved in the establishment. The Institute could then be founded in the middle of the First World War with a different, purely scientific objective, and saw itself as a replacement for the International Music Society (IMG), which had disbanded, and with the Institute’s organ, the AMW, as a replacement for the quarterly Sammelbände der Internationalen Musikgesellschaft (SIMG) which was discontinued in 1914. At the national level, not wholly isolated from “non-German” musicologists (who could become extraordinary members), an inventory and further centralization of the archiving and evaluation of music historical sources could take place with the cooperation of prominent specialist representatives. Other departments of the Institute served the maintenance of a library (with a collection of scores and university papers), a photography workshop and a collegium musicum. Two further departments were devoted to country-specific regional and local research and the performance of music-theoretical experiments. All these projects found their journalistic expression and echo in the years of the AMW.

As noted by Falk Hartwig in his history of the Institute:

“In December 1917, Carl August Rau [the director elected by the members] reported to Count von Reischach [the court marshal and curator of the institute appointed by the prince] that the institute had won Johannes Wolf, Max Seiffert and Max Schneider to edit the planned quarterly publication of the Institute, the Archiv für Musikwissenschaft. Rau emphasized that the Deutsche Musikgesellschaft had also advertised these gentlemen for their planned magazine [Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft, edited by Alfred Einstein from 1918] and had to be content with their rejection. An agreement was reached with the renowned Breitkopf & Härtel company for the publishing house of the Archiv für Musikwissenschaft. The establishment and publication of this specialist journal must be regarded as one of the outstanding achievements of the Princely Institute for Musicological Research in Bückeburg. After the Sammelbände der Internationalen Musikgesellschaft, founded by Oskar Fleischer, discontinued due to the war, the Archiv für Musikwissenschaft was supposed to close this gap again in 1918. However, there was no longer any question of the internationality as reflected in the contributions in the Sammelbände. The selection of authors and contributions for the Archiv für Musikwissenschaft as well as the monographic publications of the institute corresponded to the declared priority of national music history research."[3]

A certain competition with the Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft persisted throughout the 1920s. The DMG could not and did not want to achieve the centralization of source research and storage programmed by the Bückeburg Institute, since it was only a loose association of mostly university-bound professional colleagues, while the Bückeburg Institute as a free research institute (the first of its kind in Germany) could set its own goals for common research, binding for all members. Especially with regard to the examination, indexing and evaluation of medieval sources, it can be said that Institute’s intention was unmistakable: to achieve a binding typification and periodization of ecclesiastical and secular sources. It is also noticeable that Fr. Ludwig and his school (especially Heinrich Besseler) began here for the first time to move away from certain classifications that were established in Ludwig's repertory of motets from 1910, even if the thesis of the unconditional development of polyphony within the Western Church was not questioned.

The repeatedly translucent nationalistic background of the music-historical tasks on the part of the institute's management and some of its members, which did not start from interrelationships and mixtures between the nations of Europe, but from the phantom of an autochthonous inner-German development, can be read from the article by Robert Geutebrück, Vienna, “Form und Rhythmus des Deutschen Volksgesangs” (VII, 3, p. 337 411) in which he produces adjusted versions of folk song variants in which the non-German influence that eliminates foreign elements and through which a hypothetical, purely German original form could be created. These isolated tendencies anticipate the later fate of the journal when it was re-established as Archiv für Musikforschung in 1935 and the Bückeburg Institute had been transferred to the Staatliches Institut für deutsche Musikforschung in Belin as part of the centralization measures of the National Socialist state.


Table of identified pseudonyms and/or initials

B.: Gustav Beckman

Ch. v. d. B: Charles van den Borren

E.: Alfred Einstein

F.: Max Friedlaender

H.: Jacques Handschin

L.: Albert Leitzmann

M.-Bl.: Joseph Müller-Blattau

O.z.N.: Otto zur Nedden

Sch.: Georg Schünemann

W.: Johannes Wolf


This RIPM Index was produced from a reprint of the journal issued by Georg Olms Verlag in 1964.


[1] Not to be confused with the postwar journal of the same name, founded in 1952. This later Archiv für Musikwissenschaft was institutionally independent and functioned with new management and objectives, however the questionable the designation of “9th Year” for its first volume tied it to the older Archiv.  It was published in three generations by Wilibald Gurlitt, Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht and Albrecht Riethmüller.

[2] The short references to the articles in the AMW are given in the following order: year number, issue number, page number.

[3] See