Simon Sixth

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Simon Sixth; Lithograph by Joseph Kriehuber 1840

Simon Sechter (born October 11, 1788 in Friedberg in Bohemia ; † September 10, 1867 in Vienna ) was an Austrian music theorist , music teacher , organist , conductor and composer .


Simon Sechter came to Vienna in 1804 to study with Antonio Salieri . In 1824 he took over the post of court organist from Jan Václav Voříšek . From 1810 he taught piano and singing at a school for the blind. In 1828 he had Franz Schubert, who was already terminally ill, as a counterpoint student. In 1851, Sechter was appointed professor of composition at the Conservatory of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde , where he was followed by his former student Anton Bruckner , applying the teaching methods he had learned under Sechter. Since Sechter spent more money than he earned in the last years of his life, he died in great poverty. He is buried in the Vienna Central Cemetery in an honorary grave dedicated by the municipal council in 1898 (group 0, row 1, number 23). In 1894 the Sechtergasse in Vienna- Meidling was named after him.


Sixth had strict teaching methods. For example, he forbade Anton Bruckner to write original compositions while he was learning counterpoint from him. The composer and Bruckner connoisseur Robert Simpson believed that "Sechter unconsciously brought out Bruckner's originality by suppressing it until it was no longer possible". Bruckner taught sixth from 1855 to 1861 by mail and considered him his best student. When Bruckner graduated, Sechter wrote a fugue dedicated to him .

With The Principles of Musical Composition , his three-volume treatise on compositional principles from the years 1853 and 1854, Sechter wrote a work that had a great influence on many later theorists. Sixth's thoughts are derived from Jean-Philippe Rameau's fundamental bass theory. Sechter propagated the pure versus the well-tempered mood .

Sechter was also a composer, and he is known for writing more than 8,000 works, including a musical diary of 4,000 compositions from November 9, 1849 to April 1867, mostly fugues - one every day if possible. Constantin von Wurzbach writes about Sechter's estate: “In addition, there are still 30 volumes of piano, organ and vocal music available, along with six operas, including Grillparzer's 'Melusine'. - The compositions go back to 1810 and 1811; these earliest are cozy 'Germans'. A volume from the years 1818 and 1819 contains a collection of 'German folk melodies', which Sechter worked on contrapunctically with great preference. The year 1833 provides a peculiar work, an example of tenacious perseverance, but also of astonishing knowledge. The task was: 104 variations on an original theme of 104 bars. This self-flagellation must have become embarrassing to the man himself, because the last variation on October 27th closes with the exclamation: 'Thank God!' "

He also composed masses and oratorios , although only his organ and piano pieces and two string quartets (including The Four Temperaments , opus 6) - a total of 91 pieces - appeared in print .


In addition to those mentioned below, Sechter's students included: Princes Georg and Constantin Czartoryski , Fedrigotti, Theodor Döhler , Carl Ferdinand Pohl , Otto Bach , Derffl, Carl Filtsch , Hoven , Selmar Bagge , Leopold Bibl, Julius Benoni, Eugenio Galli and Franz Grillparzer .



  1. see Music in Past and Present , Vol. 12. Kassel 1989 p. 450.
  2. Constantin von Wurzbach: Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich , Volume 33, p. 259.

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