Hugo Riemann

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Riemann, Hugo


(full name, Karl Wilhelm Julius Hugo Riemann). Born July 18, 1849, in Grossmehlra, near Sondershausen; died July 10, 1919, in Leipzig. German musicologist.

Riemann became a professor at the University of Leipzig in 1901. He founded the Institute of Musical Science (Collegium Musicum), of which he served as director from 1908, and the Staatliches Forschungsinstitut für Musikwissenschaft, which he directed from 1914.

Riemann’s work touched on every field of music theory, as well as the history of music, aesthetics, and criticism. In analyzing musical compositions he used natural scientific data to elucidate harmony, rhythm, form, and agogics. Riemann is associated with the development of functional theory in musicology. Drawing on J.-P. Rameau’s views, he worked out the functional relationship between chords.

Among Riemann’s many works are the Dictionary of Music (Musiklexikon, 1882), which has gone through 12 editions and has been translated into many languages, including Russian (1901), and the Handbook of the History of Music (vols. 1–5, 1901–13). Riemann enriched musicology with major theoretical conclusions. However, his contributions revealed the limitations of his positivist methodology, which often lacked a genuinely historical approach.

Riemann was an honorary member of the Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome (1887), the Royal Academy in Florence (1894), and the Royal Musical Association in London (1900). He also received an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Edinburgh (1899).


Mazel’, L. “Funktsional’naia shkola.” In I. Ryzhkin and L. Mazel’, Ocherki po istorii teoreticheskogo muzykoznaniia, fase. 1. Moscow. 1934.
Istoriia evropeiskogo iskusstvoznaniia, vol. 4, books 1–2: Vtoraia polovina XIX v.–nach. XX v. Moscow, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
13-96 in this volume)--Tenney was able to critique and transform the parametric conception and organization of sound of his nearly contemporaneous Darmstadt peers, utilize and suppress the influence of Hugo Riemann in his conception of the "clang" as the foundation of the perceptual unit of music, absorb and apply Gestalt psychological principles to music, and conceive a robust theory of music.
Stamic's works were duly included in these music-history editions owing to Hugo Riemann (1849-1919), one of the most influential German music theorists of the time.
During the 1990s several strands of music theoretical and analytical thought coalesced under the rubric "neo-Riemannian theory." This sparked a renewed interest in the actual theories of Hugo Riemann (1849-1919).
The reputation of music in Sonderhausen was quite strong and the conservatory boasted a number of important musical figures (including Philipp Spitta and Hugo Riemann).
Hook points out that a conventional musical score is itself a kind of "graph whose vertical axis represents pitch and whose horizontal axis represents time." Plotting the positions of those tones, he says, and their internal relations to one another reveals something fundamental about the structure of music- Hugo Riemann (1849-1919) invented one such map, called a Tonnetz, based on the work of mathematician Leonard Euler.
This has been authenticated by the in-person and recorded performances of artists who subscribe to the theory of phrasing systematized by Hugo Riemann nearly 125 years ago.
As summarized in Rob Wegman's introductory paper on `Research on medieval and Renaissance listening in 1920s Germany', Heinrich Besseler's and Hugo Riemann's sharply differing positions on the question of listening seemed surprisingly to echo their 14th-century predecessors: whereas Riemann, like Jacques, explained listening in universal terms, barely allowing for cultural and historical differences, Besseler, like Boen, stressed the social context in which the act of listening takes place.
This puts David Daniels in an illustrious group of eponymous lexicographers along with Sir George Grove, Theodore Baker, and Hugo Riemann. It is the opinion of this reviewer--who also had the privilege of reviewing the fourth edition (Notes 62, no.4 [June 2006]: 949-50)--that this title change merely institutionalizes a fact that has been in evidence for almost the entire life of "Daniels." The orchestra world has come to rely increasingly on Daniels and his ever-growing corpus of orchestral data.
Historically, the field of listener-oriented analysis dates back to Hugo Riemann, whose doctoral dissertation, entitled Ueber das musikalische Horen (Leipzig, 1874), was later complemented by Wie horen wir Musik?
The rediscovery of the Mannheim School was initiated by Hugo Riemann: while working on the major edition Denkmaler der Tonkunst in Bayern (DTB) he discovered important markers of that missing link in the instrumental work of the Mannheim composers (specifically the first generation represented above all by the threesome Jan Vaclav Stamic, Franz Xaver Richter and Anton Fils).
Said discussion and interaction is long overdue, for ever since the middle of the twentieth century North America and England (and, one might mention, Finland) adopted Viennese theorist Heinrich Schenker as the flag-bearer for tonal analysis, while Germany remained wedded to the writings of its native son, Hugo Riemann, and other countries like France and Italy reworked time-honored traditions based on practical methods like partimenti.
331/i has served as an analytic paradigm for numerous music theorists, including Heinrich Schenker and Hugo Riemann. Allanbrook posits that theorists have fundamentally misunderstood the work because they have overlooked its historical setting.