The Symphony as Described by J. A. P. Schulz (1774): A Commentary and Translation

Churgin, Bathia

In recent years we have come to recognize more and more the significance of Classic theoretical sources for our understanding of the Classic style. J. Schulz definition is often recognized as the most well known. The symphony article in volume 2 was written by J. A. P. Schulz (1747-1800), probably in 1773 when he was twenty-six. Although the great Berlin theorist J. P. Kirnberger had been responsible for all the music articles in Sulzer's Theorie up to the one on "Modulation," Schulz furnished material for this and succeeding articles, becoming the sole author of all articles starting with the letter "S" to the end of the alphabet. Sulzer's Theorie had remarkable success. Especially striking in Schulz's definition is his enumeration of textural contrasts that include both homophonic and imitative settings, unison passages, and independent bass and middle voices. These comments underscore the great importance of textural diversification in Classic music, a still neglected trait of Classic style.



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Columbia University
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April 7, 2015