Fétis, François Joseph

Fétis, François Joseph

(fräNswä` zhôzĕf` fātēs`), 1784–1871, Belgian music theorist, historian, and composer. A teacher and librarian at the Paris Conservatory, he became (1833) director of the conservatory at Brussels. He wrote two theoretical works (1824, 1844). His Biographie universelle des musiciens (8 vol., 1835–44) and Histoire général de la musique (1869–76), despite inaccuracies, are of great value to music historians. In Paris in 1827 he founded Revue musicale. He wrote biographies of Paganini and Stradivarius and composed two symphonies, four operas, piano music, chamber music, and some church music.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fétis, François Joseph


Born Mar. 25, 1784, in Mons; died Mar. 26, 1871, in Brussels. Belgian musicologist and composer.

Fétis studied under L. Cherubini and F. A. Boieldieu at the Paris Conservatory. From 1827 to 1835 he published the newspaper Revue musicale, which he had founded in Paris. In 1833 he became director of the Brussels conservatory and chorus master at the Belgian court.

Head of the Belgian and the French schools of musicology, Fétis was the author of fundamental works on the history and theory of music and on musical lexicography. Especially noteworthy are his biographic dictionary of musicians (vols. 1–8, 1837–44) and General History of Music (vols. 1–5, 1869–76), which are valuable study sources despite Fétis’s occasional conservatism. Fétis is also the composer of operas, symphonies, quartets, and other musical compositions.


Wangermée, R. F. J. Fétis: Musicologue et compositeur. Brussels, 1951.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.