Discussion Essays

www.townwaits.org.uk / essays_index.shtml / essays_quantz.shtml


“… his first music lessons, in 1708, were with an uncle who was a town musician in Merseburg.” Duffin, Ross W. (2007). How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony. Norton, New York. ISBN 13: 978-0-393-06227-9/ISBN 10: 0-393-06227-9.

Having read this I decided to try and find out more from the internet. As expected, there’s a lot of misinterpretation and error to work through, but of certain facts - and conclusion 10 - below we can be reasonably confident:

  1. Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)
  2. Quanz’s uncle Johann Justus Quantz was his first teacher from 1708.
  3. Justus Quanz was a town musician (stadtpfeiffer) in Merseburg.
  4. Justus Quanz died just three months into Quantz’s apprenticeship.
  5. Quantz continued his apprenticeship with J.A. Fleischhack [Johann? Ambrosius? Butcher?].
  6. Apprenticeship completed in 1713, Quantz remained in the service of his master, Fleischhack, until 1716.
  7. ergo Johann Joachim Quantz was a fully trained stadtpfeiffer in Merseburg 1713-1716.
  8. In 1716 he moved to Dresden to take up a post as musician there.
  9. Although some sources state that he was a member of the town band, others call it the town orchestra or the court ensemble. On balance, it seems he was not a stadtpfeiffer in Dresden. However, further research might reveal otherwise.
  10. We may add Johann Joachim Quantz to the top category in our list of town bandsmen who became, begat or were otherwise related to famous musicians.

James Merryweather, 9 April 2007


Quantz was one of the first professional flute players in 18th-century Europe. He began as a town musician, trained to play all instruments, but after gaining a post as an oboist in the presitgious Dresden court ensemble, he began to specialise in the flute in 1719. he traveled to Italy, France, and England to broaden his musical education, then returned to Dresden. In 1741 he entered the service of Frederick the Great of Prussia, where he remained until his death, composing, performing, and making flutes for the king. His Essay on flute-playing (1752) made his famous throughout Europe and attracted pupils who formed a "school" of flute-playing which remained influential for another hundred years.


German source for most of what we know today about French performance practice, particularly the French overture style, Quantz is remembered also as the flute teacher of Frederick the Great. Student of Fux, Gasparini, and Zelenka, Quantz began his career as member of the Dresden orchestra in 1716. Two years later he became member of the royal Polish orchestra. In 1728 Quantz began instructing crown prince Frederick. When the latter ascended to the throne of Prussia, Quantz was appointed Hofmusicus and composer to the king. Quantz wrote mainly concerti for flute; he is also remembered for his Versuch einer Anweisung, die Flöte traversière zu spielen (1751), an important commentary on technique, ornamentation, and performance practice.


Flutist and composer. He was apprenticed to his uncle Justus Quantz and served J. A. Fleischhack as a journeyman until 1716, studying many string and wind instruments and taking harpsichord lessons from Kiesewetter. He joined the Dresden town band in 1716, studied counterpoint in Vienna under Jan Dismas Zelenka the following year, and in 1718 was appointed oboist in the Polish chapel of Augustus II; he also continued to play in Dresden. Finding little opportunity for advancement as an oboist, he took up the flute, studying for four months with P. G. Buffardin.


[What follows in this entry is entirely sic! Either the author had an odd grasp of English or the text has been Babel Fished.]

Born in Hanover on January 30th of 1697, Quantz is one of the figures the more attaching of the musical eighteen century. Son of a modest blacksmith, his destiny was to follow the traces of his father, though he came very young to the music while being initiated to the double bass. But his father died when he is ten and he is sent to his uncle Julius [very sic] Quantz who was a town musician in Mersebourg. With him he will study successively the violin, the oboe, the trumpet and the harpsichord. During this period he also comes to know the works of the major Baroque composers of the preceeding and present generations.

In 1716, he is nineteen and becomes a member of the Orchestra of Dresden, the most famous orchestra of all Septentrional EuropeQuantz moved to Dresden.. Widening his musical and geographical horizons, he studies the counterpoint in Vienna and the composition with Johann Georg Pisendel. In 1718, he settles in Dresden where he is appointed as oboist, by the Orchestra of the King of Poland, Augustus II, from 1718 to 1723.



After the death of his father, a blacksmith, Quantz began his musical training under his uncle, a town musician in Merseburg.

He studied string and wind instruments and also took lessons on the harpsichord.

During this period he came to know the works of the major Baroque composers of the preceeding and present generations.

Quantz moved to Dresden and became a member of the town band in 1716.


Oberscheden (Göttingen) Basse-Saxe, 30 janvier 1697 — †Potsdam 12 juillet 1773. compositeur, flûtiste et théoricien de la musique.

Quantz a écrit son autobiographie, publiée en  1754-1755 dans le Historisch-kritische Beyträge de Marpurg.

Fils de forgeron, il commence ses études musicales en 1708 avec son oncle Justus Quantz, musicien de l'orchestre municipal de Merseburg. Quand il décède, son gendre J. A. Fleischhack, lui succède à l'orchestre et reprend Quantz comme élève. En 1713, à la fin de son apprentissage, Quantz reste au service de son maître. Il a appris à jouer des principaux instruments à cordes, le hautbois et la trompette. En 1714 il séjourne à Pirna où il entend des concertos pour violon de Vivaldi qui marqueront ses choix esthétiques ultérieurs.

En mars 1716, il s'engage à l'orchestre de la ville de Dresde à l'invitation de Gottfried Heyne.


Johann Joachim Quantz was born on January 30, 1697, in Oberscheden, Germany.  The son of a blacksmith, he began his musical training in 1708 with his uncle, Justus Quantz, a town musician in Merseburg. After Justus’s death three months later, Quantz continued his apprenticeship with his uncle’s successor and son-in-law, J.A. Fleischhack, whom he served as a journeyman after the completion of the apprenticeship in 1713. During his apprenticeship, Quantz achieved proficiency on most of the principal string instruments, the oboe and the trumpet. Taking advantage of a period of mourning for the reigning duke’s brother in 1714, he visited Pirna where he came across some of Vivaldi’s violin concertos, which were to have a decisive influence on his artistic development. In 1716, he is nineteen and becomes a member of the Orchestra of Dresden, the most famous orchestra of all 17th century Europe.

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