Johann Bernhard Logier

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Portrait of Johann Bernhard Logier, 19th century

Johann Bernhard Logier (born February 9, 1777 in Kassel ; † July 27, 1846 in Dublin ) was a German musician , composer and music teacher .


Johann Bernhard Logier received his first music lessons ( flute and music theory ) from his father. He lived in Marburg from 1784 and in England from 1791, where he first worked as a flautist in a military band and later became its music director. For a short time he worked as an organist, then (1809/1810) as music director at the Private Royal Hibernian Theater in Dublin.

Then he stopped his activities as a musician, became a music dealer and gave piano lessons on the side. He summarized the experience gained here into a method ( System of Musical Education ), which he had patented in 1814 and only knew how to publish through clever propaganda in Ireland, Scotland and England. His publications were also known in the USA, where his method was used until 1959. Logier's method of instrumental group lessons in piano playing and music theory found numerous advocates and imitators. During his apprenticeship between 1822 and 1826, his method quickly spread throughout Germany , partly to neighboring countries. In 1817 he joined forces with Friedrich Kalkbrenner and Samuel Webbe Junior (1770–1843) and taught together with them. The introduction of the system in France failed.

Many other famous personalities learned from Logier, some of them from the beginning to play the piano and music theory, others later came for study purposes in order to make his system their own. Among them Jonathan Blewitt (1782–1853), Christian Friedrich Johann Girschner (1794–1860) and Josef Proksch (1794–1864). Richard Wagner writes in his autobiography that, as a teenager, he began to learn the basics with Logier's book System der Musikwissenschaft und practical composition , and, curiously, his accumulated lending fees soon exceeded the actual purchase value of the book.

In 1822, Dutch music lovers founded the Zuid Afrikaans Muziek Gezelschap in Cape Town, the first music school in 1826 , headed by JB Logier's son Friedrich Logier. This introduced both chiroplasty and group lessons; the exams were held in public.

After his stay in Berlin from 1822 to 1826, where he supported the introduction of his method, Logier returned to London and became an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music . In 1829 he went to Dublin, where he again worked as a music dealer and piano teacher, and died there at the age of 69.

An essential feature of his system was the chiroplast, a hand sculptor who was supposed to optimize the hand position of the students. There are different information about the inventor of this device in historical sources, some refer to him, others Gottfried Finger (around 1700) as the inventor.

His compositions only played a subordinate role.

Works (selection)

  • Fare Well, Sweet Maid, Glee for 4 strings
  • Believe me, I never can rove
  • The Jubilee Ode , overture and music to the melodrama Brian Boroihma
  • The Battle of Trafalgar , Great Character Piece for Military Music op.6
  • A Grand Concerto , for piano and orchestra op.13
  • Sonata for piano, flute and violoncello op.7
  • Sonata for piano and flute with variations op.8
  • A Grand Sonate for piano, violin (flute) and violoncello op.23
  • Admiral Benbow, Air with variations for piano
  • An English Military Air with variations for piano
  • The Celebrated Spanish Bolero , arranged as a rondo for piano
  • Trio for piano 6 hands No. 1 op. 16 a. No. 2 op.17
  • Une Introduction, Fugue et 2 Canons for piano 4 hands op.18

Fonts (selection)

  • An Explanation and Description of the Royal Patent Chiroplast or Hand-Director, London 1816
  • An Authentic Account of the Examination of Pupils, London 1818
  • A Refutation of the Fallacies and Misrepresentations, London 1818
  • A Short Account of the Progress of JB Logier's 'System of Musical Education' in Berlin, London 1824
  • Program of a Public Examination of Mr. Logier's Pupils in the Theory and Practice of Music, Dublin 1834
  • System of musicology and practical composition. (also French and English), Berlin 1827
  • Subsequent collection of exercises and examples on JB Logier's system of musicology and practical composition. Berlin 1827
  • A Companion to the Royal Patent Chiroplast, London (1815?)
  • Sequel to the Chiroplast Companion, London (1815?)
  • The First Companion to the Royal Patent Chiroplast, London 1820

Contemporary discussion about Logier's method

In 1821 Franz Stoepel (1794–1836) traveled on behalf of the “Königigl. Prussian Ministry of Cultus in Berlin ”to London to examine the teaching method published there by Logier under the title System of musical Education and“ where possible to acquire ”. Here he received instruction from Logier in his method, according to his own account he traveled back to Berlin in August 1821 and opened music schools there and in Potsdam "in the spirit and spirit of Logier". He translated its system into German and published it under the title New System of Harmony and Teaching in Pianoforte by D. Franz Stoepel , divided into three “main departments: I. Art, twenty and several students at the same time in piano and theory to teach harmony. II. Exercises for the pianoforte by and after Logier. III New system of harmony theory or the art of pure sentence in music, etc. "

In the article, Streit über die Logier's method , published in 1826 , Logier sharply attacks this translation. On the one hand, the translation would depict some topics completely, others "in an entirely inappropriate order", on the other hand, he criticizes the inadequate identification of the inventor of the system. He accuses Stoepel of attending classes on his visit to London in 1821, but of having, due to his inadequate knowledge of the English language, only made a poor impression of Logier's method and of having prematurely emptied it of meaning and translated it into German without in-depth knowledge. Stoepel had also returned to Berlin too early to learn more than just incomplete basic knowledge, let alone "form a sufficient representation" of what "was peculiar to his teaching style". The Prussian government invited Logier to Berlin in 1822 to “help Stoepel open an academy”. Logier accepted this invitation in 1822. According to his own account in the article in the Allgemeine Schulzeitung , he traveled to Berlin for a short stay in September 1821 where he saw Stoepel unable to “give some account of his systems”. Thereupon he asked Minister von Altenstein for approval to introduce this system himself in Berlin, which he gave him. Logier then returned to Berlin in 1822, whereupon Stoepel's “effectiveness went out” and took over teaching, but could not prevent Franz Stoepel from continuing to teach in Frankfurt am Main and Erfurt .

According to Logier's account, the reason for the critical article was neither the teaching style he borrowed nor the misuse of the name, which Stoepel, in his opinion, was engaged in, but rather both the translation into German, which Logier saw, and the inadequate labeling of his name. In 1826, however, Stoepel countered with the fact that he had offered him 100 guineas during his stay to study Logier's method in London in 1821 if he should set up an academy in Berlin, which Stoepel refused with thanks. Logier also always applauded him on his visits for the implementation and results of his lessons and encouraged him to train music teachers in his favor.

Another student of Logier was the later music teacher Ernst Julius Hentschel (1804-1875), who at the age of 18 worked as an assistant teacher at the teachers' college in Weißenfels before completing his training and was sent to Logier by the ministry in 1823 for study purposes. The latter offered him to “keep in constant contact” with him, which Hentschel refused. In 1826, Hentschel published the article in the Allgemeine Schulzeitung about the Logier method , in which he defended Logier's statements against Franz Stoepel ( About Logier's musical teaching ). Stoepel criticized Logier on the basis of scientific concerns, but his work had no philosophical, but rather an educational basis, so it was not the system but his method that should be criticized. Stoepel assumed that Logier's work was trying to present a philosophical science from which the teaching method developed by itself. It was no longer and no less developed from scientific principles like other systems and was developed by Logier to “train his students to become good musicians in the shortest possible and even way; and by this task their true peculiarities are conditioned ”. He goes on to write that this system is based on the knowledge that training both on the piano and in music theory are interdependent and mutually dependent; the one is inconceivable without the other. This is nothing new, but Logier's method deviates from the usual and is better than others: both reading notes and playing the piano at the same time are learned with the greatest of ease, since the range is first in the fifth space and both are done with a hand-maker ( Chiroplast) and music board. The group lessons, in which up to twenty students play at the same time and count the beat out loud, would learn to keep the beat faster than any other method. The motivation to practice at home would be increased by the obligation to present the learned tasks to the entire class at least once per lesson in order to avoid public censure; in addition, they would enter into a competition so that they would work even more diligently.


Individual evidence

  1. Franz D. Stoepel: About Logiersche Musiklehrweise. In: Allgemeine Schulzeitung 2 (1825) 81, pp. 641–645.
  2. NN In: Allgemeine Schulzeitung 3 (1826) 27, pp. 213–215.
  3. Controversy over Logier's music teaching
  4. Ernst Hentschel: About the Logier method. In: Allgemeine Schulzeitung 3 (1826) 9, pp. 65–70.

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