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Willi Apel

Willi Apel

Tenure at the School of Music: 1950-1964

Biography  |  Writings   |  Editions
Selective Bibliography

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Born in Konitz, West Prussia (now Chojnice, Poland) in October 1893, Willi Apel became a leading American musicologist. He began his career with the study of mathematics at the Universities of Bonn and Munich (1912-1914) and the University of Berlin (1918-1922). During his mathematical studies, Apel continued to pursue his interest in music, studying piano and giving lessons. He became involved in musicology during his time at the Freie Schulgemeinde at Wickersdorf (1922-1928), receiving his doctorate in 1936 with a dissertation on 15th and 16th century tonality. That same year Apel immigrated to the US and began lecturing at Harvard University in 1938. In 1950 Apel became a professor of musicology at Indiana University. Among his numerous publications from this time are Harvard Dictionary of Music (1969), The Notation of Polyphonic Music: 900–1600 (1970), and Corpus of Early Keyboard Music (1963-1975). In 1963 Apel was named professor emeritus yet continued teaching until 1970. In 1972 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Indiana University. Apel died in Bloomington, Indiana, March 1988.

Slonimsky, Nicolas, Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians vol. 1. New York: Schirmer Books, 2001.

White, John Reeves and John Caldwell: Apel, Willi, Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed [24 July 2007]),

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Die Fuge, Berlin, 1932.

"Early Spanish Music for Lute and Keyboard Instruments," Musical Quarterly, 20(1934), 289-301.

"Die Tabalatur des Adam Ileborgh," in Zeitschrift fur Musikwissenschaft, xvi (1934), 193-212.

Accidentien und Tonalitat in den Musikdenkmalern des 15. und 16. Jarhunderts, (diss., U. of Berlin, 1936; Strasbourg, 1937).

"The Importance of Notation in Solving Problems of Early Music," Papers of the American Musicological Society, 1938, 40-42.

"The Partial Signatures in the Sources up to 1450," Acta Musicologica, 10(1938), 1-13.

Harvard Dictionary of Music (Cambridge, MA, 1944, enlarged 2/1969).

"A Remark about the Basse Danse," Journal of Renaissance and Baroque Music, i(1946), 139-143.

Masters of the Keyboard, (Cambridge, MA, 1947).

The Notation of Polyphonic Music: 900-1600, (Cambridge, MA, 1942).

"The Collection of Photographic Reproductions at the Isham Memorial Library, Harvard University." Journal of Renaissance and Baroque Music, i(1946-7), 68-80, 144-58, 235-54.

"The French Secular Music of the Late Fourteenth Century," Acta , xviii-xix (1946-7), 17-29.

"From St. Martial to Notre Dame," Journal of the American Musicological Society, ii (1949), 145-158.

"Die menschliche Stimme als Instrument," Stimmen 15 (1949), 404-410.

"Imitation Canons on L'Homme arme," Speculum, 25(1950), 367-373.

"Anent a Ritornello in Monteverdi's Orfeo," Musica Disciplina, 5(1951), 213-222.

"Rondeaux, Virelais, and Ballades in French 13th-Century Song," Journal of the American Musicological Society, 7(1954), 121-130.

"Remarks about the Isorhythmic Motet," L'Ars Nova, Wegimont II (1955), 139-148.

"The Central Problem of Gregorian Chant," Journal of the American Musicological Society 9(1956), 118-127.

"The Earliest Polyphonic Composition and its Theoretical Background" in Revue Belge de Musicologie, 10(1956), 129-137.

"Imitation in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries," Essays on the Music in Honor of Archibald Thompson Davison (Cambridge, MA, 1957), 25-38.

"Bemerkungen zu den Organa von St Martial," Miscelanea en Homenaje a Monsenor Higinio Angles, i(Barcelona, 1958), 61-70.

Gregorian Chant, (Bloomington, IN, 1958).

Medieval Music: Collected Articles and Reviews (Stuttgart, 1986).

"Drei plus Dri plus Zwei = Vier plus Vier," Acta Musicologica, 32(1960), 29-33.

with R.T. Daniel, The Harvard Brief Dictionary of Music (Cambridge, MA, 1960).

"Die handschriftliche Uberlieferung der Klavierwerke Frescobaldis," Festschrift Karl Gustav Fellerer zum sechzigsten Geburtstag, ed. by H. Huschen (Regensburg, 1962), 40-45.

"Die Celler Orgeltabulature von 1601," Die Musikforschung, 19(1966), 142-151.

Geschichte der Orgel- und Klaviermusik bis 1700 (Kassel, 1967; Eng. trans., rev., 1972).

"Probleme der Alternierung in der liturgischen Orgelmusik bis 1600," Claudio Monteverdi e il suo tempo (Venice, 1968), 171-186.

"Solo Instrumental Music," The Age of Humanism 1540-1630, The New Oxford History of Music, vol. 4 (1968), 602-708.

"Bach erede della tradizione," Nuova revista musicale Italiana, 3(1969), 3-12.

"Der deutsche Orgelchoral um 1600," Musa - mens - musici: im Gedenken an Walther Vetter (Leipzig, 1969), 67-66.

"Mathematics and Music in the Middle Ages," Musica e arte figurativa nei secoli X-XII (Todi, 1972), 133-166.

"La harpe de melodie," Scritti in onore di Luigi Ronga (Milan and Naples, 1973), 27-32.

"French, Italian and Latin Poems in 14th-Century Music," Journal of the Plainsong and Mediaeval Music Society, i(1978), 39-56.

Early European Keyboard Music (Stuttgart, 1989).

Renaissance and Baroque Music: Composers, Musicology, and Music Theory (Stuttgart, 1989).

Die italienische Violinmusik im 17. Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden, 1983).

"Renaissance und baroque music," Musik und Bildung 22(Sept-Oct 1990), 567.

"Il canto gregoriano: Liturgia, storia, notazione, modalita e techniche compositive," Rivista Italiana de Musicologia 33(1), (1998), 183-185.

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Musik aus fruher Zeit fur Klavier (1350-1650), (Mainz and New York, 1934).

Concord Classics for the Piano, (Boston, 1938).

with A.T. Davison, Historical Anthology of Music, (Cambridge, MA, 1964).

French Secular Music of the Late Fourteenth Century, (Cambridge, MA, 1950).

Corpus of Early Keyboard Music, i
: Keyboard Music of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (1963); ii: Marco Facoli: Collected Works (1963); ix: Costanzo Antegnati: L'Antegnata intavolatura (1965); xvii: The Tablature of Celle, c.1600 (1967); xvi: Adam Reincken: Collected Keyboard Works (1967); xiii: Johann Ulrich Steigleder: Compositions for Keyboard (1968–9); xxvi: Pieter Cornet: Collected Keyboard Works (1969); liii: French Secular Compositions of the Fourteenth Century (1970–71); xiv: Spanish Organ Masters after Antonio de Cabezón (1971); xxiii: Delphin Strungk and Peter Mohrhardt: Original Compositions for Organ (1973); xxxi: Joseph Jimenez: Collected Organ Compositions (1975).

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Selective Bibliography

Slonimsky, Nicolas. The Concise Edition of Baker's Biographical Dictioanry of Musicians, 8th edition. New York: Schirmer Books, 1994.

Steinzor, Curt Efram. American Musicologists c. 1890-1945; A Bio-bibliographical Sourcebook to the Formative Period. New York: Greenwood Press, 1989.

Tischler, Hans, editor. Essays in Musicology; A Birthday Offering for Willi Apel. Bloomington, IN: School of Music, Indiana University Publications, 1968.

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Updated 9 Aug. 2007 / Lisa H.
Copyright 1999-2007, The Trustees of Indiana University

last updated: 4/20/2012