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Andreas Werckmeister
German organist, music theorist, and composer

Andreas Werckmeister

Andreas Werckmeister
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German organist, music theorist, and composer
Is Musician Composer Musicologist Music theorist Organist
From Germany
Field Academia Music
Gender male
Birth Benneckenstein
Death 26 October 1706, Halberstadt
The details (from wikipedia)


Andreas Werckmeister (November 30, 1645 – October 26, 1706) was a German organist, music theorist, and composer of the Baroque era.


Born in Benneckenstein, Werckmeister attended schools in Nordhausen and Quedlinburg. He received his musical training from his uncles Heinrich Christian Werckmeister and Heinrich Victor Werckmeister. In 1664 he became an organist in Hasselfelde; ten years later in Elbingerode; and in 1696 of the Martinskirche in Halberstadt.

Musical compositions

Of his compositions only a booklet remains: pieces for violin with basso continuo, with the title Musikalische Privatlust (1689).

Theoretical works

Werckmeister is best known today as a theorist, in particular through his writings Musicae mathematicae hodegus curiosus... (1687) and Musikalische Temperatur (1691), in which he coined the term well temperament (a tuning system for keyboards) and described a system of well temperament now known as Werckmeister temperament.

Title page of Andreas Werckmeister, Orgelprobe (1698).

Werckmeister's writings were well known to Johann Sebastian Bach, in particular his writings on counterpoint. Werckmeister believed that well-crafted counterpoint, in particular invertible counterpoint [1], was tied to the orderly movements of the planets, reminiscent of Kepler's view in Harmonice Mundi. According to George Buelow, "No other writer of the period regarded music so unequivocally as the end result of God’s work," [2] a view harmonious with that of Bach. Yet in spite of his focus on counterpoint, Werckmeister's work emphasized underlying harmonic principles.

List of works

  • Musicae mathematicae hodegus curiosus... (1687)
  • Musikalische Temperatur, oder... (1691)
  • Der Edlen Music-Kunst... (1691)
  • Hypomnemata musica (1697)
  • Erweierte und verbesserte Orgel-Probe (1698)
  • Die nothwendigsten Anmerckungen und Reglen, wie der Bassus continuus... (1698)
  • Cribrum musicum (1700)
  • Harmonologia musica (1702)
  • Musikalische Paradoxal-Discourse (1707)

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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