Gottfried Weber (musician)

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Gottfried Weber

Jacob Gottfried Weber (born March 1, 1779 in Freinsheim , Palatinate ; † September 21, 1839 in Bad Kreuznach ) was a German music theorist , composer , lawyer and member of the 2nd Chamber of the Estates of the Grand Duchy of Hesse .


Gottfried Weber was the son of the fiscal procurator and court judge Friedrich Ludwig Weber (1735-1818) and his wife Katharina, née Jordan. Weber, who was of Catholic faith, married Therese, née von Edel (1786–1808) in Mannheim on February 13, 1806, and Auguste Elisabeth Katharina née von Dusch (* 1787), sister of the politician Alexander von , on January 7, 1810 Shower . The couple had 10 children.

Education, profession and politics

At the age of 12, Weber came to his grandfather in Mannheim after completing a school education by the local priest in his place of birth during the turmoil of the French Revolution . After graduating from high school there in 1796, he began to study law. After 2 semesters in Heidelberg , he interrupted his studies to visit relatives in Vienna and then an “année de stage” with a respected Mannheim lawyer. Then he resumed law studies for another 2 semesters. From April 1800 Weber studied for 3 semesters in Göttingen . After completing his internship at the Imperial Court of Justice in Wetzlar , Weber took his final exam in Heidelberg in 1802. He worked as an attorney at the court in Mannheim and entered the civil service there in 1805. Weber was from 1818/1818 court judge at the court in Darmstadt . In 1832 he became General State Procurator there.

From 1838 to 1839 he was a member of the Second Chamber of the Estates. He was elected for the constituency Rheinhessen 2 / Ober-Ingelheim-Gau-Algesheim .

Musical development

He received practical training on the flute and the cello at an early age, but his lack of theoretical and musical training made him want to catch up on it. He studied the systems of Kirnberger , Marpurg , Vogler and Knecht . He even set up his own sound system: an attempt at an orderly theory of the art of composing music . Here he introduces (German) letters for the chord designation for the first time (the Latin means single notes), with large letters for the major and small letters for the minor chord . Weber also designated the triads and the seventh chords on the steps of the scale using large and small (Roman) numbers, which was adopted by Friedrich Schneider and became generally applicable. Hugo Riemann 's job title is also based on Weber's number of stages. Weber's designation system often contradicts the theoretical explanations.

Stations of his life

The stations of his full-time legal life were also places of his musical work. Weber was fiscal procurator in Mannheim from 1802–1814 and the establishment of the musical association Conservatorium (later a museum ), the restoration of church music in the Jesuit church, the conduct of the lovers' concerts , the cooperation with the new national theater and the foundation are significant for the city of Mannheim a vocal and instrumental quartet in the house music sector. His friendship with Carl Maria von Weber , who escaped to Gottfried Weber's Mannheim house in 1810, lasted a lifetime. During his professional activity in Mainz from 1814 to 1818 as a judge at the tribunal, Weber worked at the local museum , worked on the theater's executive committee and published his compositions and theoretical works in the Schott publishing house. In Mainz he joined the Masonic Lodge "Les amis réunis". As Procurator General of the State in Darmstadt from 1819 to 1839 Weber hardly composed because of excessive workload. His great creative power is shown in his further preoccupation with theoretical penetration, critical work, the founding of the magazine Cäcilia, the planning of a lexicon and an aesthetic of music. Here he was appointed Grand Ducal General Procurator of the State in 1832 in recognition of his services in drafting the new civil and criminal law. Weber died unexpectedly in Bad Kreuznach on a visit to his brother-in-law on September 21, 1839 at the age of 60.


The musical merits, which Hugo Riemann also paid tribute to, for Jacob Gottfried Weber are primarily in the theoretical field. He was the first to consistently systematize the level designations (I, II, III, etc.) and to combine them with general principles of harmonic progressions. The stages harmony Heinrich Schenker is indirectly influenced by Weber. Although Weber was one of the first in the Middle Rhine region to switch to fully composed songs, his position in early romantic music is less well known. In the field of church music, he wrote masses with orchestra, but tried to detach them from the liturgical framework. Particularly noteworthy are his contributions to the science of instruments, such as the construction of a double trombone (trombone with double slide). In Weber's dispute about the authenticity of Mozart's Requiem , he took the view that Süssmayr had executed the work on the basis of mere sketches by Mozart, and believed that he could find evidence of this in the musical invoices of all movements.


The dates of creation of all works lie between 1803 and 1814, the edition dates between 1806 and 1828.


  • Theme con variazioni for guitar, violoncello or flute, op. 1, Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel, 2nd edition Mainz Schott
  • A work of the same cast, op. 2, Paris, Richault, cannot be found
  • cannot be determined op. 3–14
  • Sonata per il harpsichord op.15, dedicata al suo amico CMvWeber , Bonn, Simrock
  • Twelve four-part chants for soprano, alto, tenor, bass, op.16, 3 volumes, Augsburg, Johann Carl Gombart ( dedicated to Abbé Vogler )
  • Twelve chants for 1 voice with piano or guitar accompaniment, op.17, Bonn, Simrock (dedicated to the Queen of Bavaria)
  • Te deum, Dedicated to Germany's victorious armies op. 18, Offenbach, André
  • Songs by Goethe, Jean Paul and others for a voice and piano and guitar, op. 19, Bonn, Simrock
  • Triumphmarsch for full field music in F or Eb op. 20, Mainz, Schott
  • Lyre and sword , chants with piano or guitar, op. 21, 4 booklets, Bonn, Simrock
  • Sacred children's songs for soprano and alto, op. 22, Leipzig, Hofmeister
  • 4 chants for 1 and 2 deep voices with piano or guitar, op. 23, Leipzig, Hofmeister
  • Requiem for male voice, consecrated to the winners at Leipzig and Belle Alliance , op. 24, Offenbach, André
  • Songs by Schiller, Goethe and others for a voice with guitar or piano, op.25, Augsburg, Gombart
  • Trio No. 1 for violin, viola and violoncello, op.26, Augsburg, Gombart
  • Missa I F for choir and solo part with accompaniment of violin, alto viols, bass, obligatory organ, trumpet and timpani, op. 27, Mainz, Schott
  • Missa II G for voice with accompaniment of violin, alto viols, bass, oboe, bassoon, “arbitrary” flute and trombone, op. 28, Bonn, Simrock
  • Wreath of songs for one or more voices, with and without accompaniment by guitar or piano, op. 31, Mainz, Schott
  • 3 serenades for a voice with piano or guitar, op. 32, Leipzig, Peters
  • Missa III e for choir and solo part, accompanied by violin, alto viols, bass, flute, oboe or clarinet, bassoon, horn and organ, op. 33, Leipzig, Probst
  • Chants for a voice with guitar or pianoforte, op. 34, Leipzig, Peters
  • Chants for four male voices without accompaniment, op. 35, Berlin, Schlesinger
  • Love, lust and suffering for a voice with guitar or pianoforte, op. 36, Mainz, Schott
  • Theme from the Freischütz with variations for flute with guitar ad libitum, op. 37, Bonn, Simrock
  • Barcarole venétienne variée for flute with guitar, op. 38, Bonn, Simrock
  • Etude de Flûte en dix variations with guitar ad libitum on a Norwegian theme, op. 39, Bonn, Simrock
  • Festgesang for male voice and general choir, op. 40, Mainz, Schott
  • Polyphonic chants for large singing events and smaller groups , op. 41, 4 booklets, Mainz, Schott
  • Table songs for two and three male voices with choir and guitar or pianoforte, op. 42, Mainz, Schott
  • Alexandrina, New Year's present for friends of singing , solo singing of one to two-part songs with accompaniment of the pianoforte or the guitar, op. 43, Darmstadt, Alisky

The following works can still be documented:

  • Deucalion , melodrama
  • Cain and Abel , melodrama
  • Cantata for the reception of Ludewig I in the Museum in Mainz , cantata
  • Cantata for the reception of our lovable Grand Duchess , cantata
  • French cantata , cantata
  • 1 string quartet
  • 13 single songs and 20 newly discovered songs
  • 1 Triumphal March D to the final scene of the opera Tancred by G. Rossini


  • Theoretical writings
    • Attempt of an orderly theory of the art of composition
      • 1st edition in 3 volumes, Mainz 1817 to 1821
      • 2nd edition in 4 volumes, 1824 ( digitized volume 1 , volume 2 , volume 3 , volume 4 )
      • 3rd edition 1830-1832
      • English translation in 2 volumes by JF Warner, 1846
      • French translation by G. Kastner, 1837
      • Danish translation, Dutch translation
      • The thorough bass lesson for self-teaching (extended excerpt from vol. 4), Mainz: Schott 1833, English translation by JF Warner, Boston 1842
    • General music teaching for self-teaching for teachers and learners , Darmstadt: Leske 1822, 2nd edition / 1825 and 3rd edition / 1831 Mainz: Schott, Dutch translation Leiden 1829
    • About chronometric tempo designation, which can be understood and used everywhere immediately without a chronometer machine , Mainz 1817, Schott
  • Musicological writings



  • Johann August Ritter von EisenhartWeber, Gottfried . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 41, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1896, pp. 303-305.
  • W. Altmann: From Gottfried Weber's letter papers . 1908-1909
  • W. Serauky: The musical imitation aesthetic in the period from 1750-1850 . Munster 1929
  • A. Fleury: The music magazine "Cäcilia" (1824-48) . Dissertation, University of Frankfurt / Main 1953
  • A. Lemke: Jacob Gottfried Weber. Life and work. A contribution to the music history of the Middle Rhine area . Mainz 1968
  • LU Abraham: Gottfried Weber's general music theory in the light of today's didactics. Festschrift for Arno Volk . Cologne 1974
  • C. Heyter-Rauland (Hrsg.): Studies on Gottfried Weber's work and his view of music . Mainz 1993
  • Hans Georg Ruppel, Birgit Groß: Hessian MPs 1820–1933. Biographical evidence for the estates of the Grand Duchy of Hesse (2nd Chamber) and the Landtag of the People's State of Hesse (= Darmstädter Archivschriften. Vol. 5). Verlag des Historisches Verein für Hessen, Darmstadt 1980, ISBN 3-922316-14-X , pp. 262–263.
  • Jochen Lengemann : MdL Hessen. 1808-1996. Biographical index (= political and parliamentary history of the state of Hesse. Vol. 14 = publications of the Historical Commission for Hesse. Vol. 48, 7). Elwert, Marburg 1996, ISBN 3-7708-1071-6 , p. 402.
  • Weber, Gottfried. Hessian biography. In: Landesgeschichtliches Informationssystem Hessen (LAGIS).

Web links

Wikisource: Gottfried Weber  - sources and full texts