Dissertation Index

Author: Dobbs, Benjamin M.

Title: A Seventeenth-century Musiklehrbuch in Context: Heinrich Baryphonus and Heinrich Grimm’s Pleiades Musicae

Institution: University of North Texas

Begun: June 2011

Completed: August 2015


Heinrich Baryphonus (1581-1655) and Heinrich Grimm’s (1592/3-1637) didactic treatise, Pleiades musicae (1615/1630), provides a vivid testimony to the state of music education and music theory pedagogy in Protestant Germany in the early seventeenth century. Published initially by Baryphonus for use at the Gymnasium in Quedlinburg and reissued in an expanded format by Grimm for use at the Gymnasium in Magdeburg, the text examines the fundamentals of pitch, intervals, counterpoint, and, in the second edition, triadic theory and composition. Throughout the remainder of the seventeenth century and into the eighteenth century, music theorists including Johann Andreas Herbst (1588-1666), Otto Gibel (1612-1682), and Andreas Werckmeister (1645-1706), used the document as a source for their own musical writings, solidifying its status as a significant contribution to the field of music theory. Recently, scholars such as Carl Dahlhaus, Benito Rivera, and Joel Lester have found value in Pleiades musicae for its role in the early stages of the development of triadic theory and the emergence of harmonic tonality. However, with the exception of the passages on triadic theory, the treatise continues to be relatively unknown. In order to understand the full extent of Baryphonus and Grimm’s contributions to the history of music theory, and to provide a multifaceted context for situating Pleiades musicae in the culture of its time and place of origin, the present study examines both editions of the text from biographical, cultural, educational, philosophical, music-theoretical, and historical perspectives, and includes modern Latin editions and English translations of the two editions of the treatise.

Keywords: Baryphonus, Grimm, History of theory, counterpoint, triad, triadic theory


1. Pleiades musicae: Theory in Context
2. The Author and Editor and their Musical Environments
3. Pleiades musicae from Three Perspectives
4. Reception of Pleiades musicae
5. Approach to the Editions and Translations
6. Pleiades musicae, 1615
7. Pleiades musicae, 1630



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