1st Edition

Instruments in the History of Western Music

By Karl Geiringer Copyright 1978
    384 Pages
    by Routledge

    Originally published in 1943 and subsequently as a revised and enlarged edition in 1978, Musical Instruments has long been held in high regard, not only for its erudition, but for its originality of approach. By relating the instruments to their time and each other, epoch by epoch, the author sheds fresh light on their evolution and enables the reader to follow their ups and downs against the changing background of taste and fashion. Each chapter is introduced with an account of the musical forms and artistic trends of the period, before considering in detail the instruments that gave them expression. The reader is carried along, from the magical-sacred beginnings of music, through the instruments of antiquity, the experiments of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the refined instruments of the Baroque and classical periods, down to those of the Romantic age and its aftermath, including the modern era with its electronic synthesizers. The book is completed by an Appendix on the acoustics of music and amply illustrated by nearly 100 pictures and diagrams.

    1.Prehistory and Antiquity 2. The Middle Ages (to 1300) 3. Ars Nova and Early Renaissance (1300-1500) 4. High Renaissance (Sixteenth Century) 5. The Baroque Era (1600-1750) 6. The Classical Period (1750-1810) 7. From Romanticism to Avant-Garde (1810-1960). Appendix: Rudiments of the Acoustics of Musical Instruments. 


    Karl Geiringer (1899-1989) was an Austrian-American musicologist, prolific author and Professor of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

    Original review of Instruments in the History of Western Music:

    ‘…a work of reference without parallel in the English language…Indeed, one is left with a doubt which to admire more, the extent of Dr. Geiringer’s learning or the sense of proportion which controls it.’ Times Literary Supplement.