"Johann Josef Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum: Missing Chapters of a Neo-Latin Treatise"
Collaborative Research Project
Dr. Amy Norgard and student J. Alexander Lynn of Truman State University (MO)
Johann Joseph Fux’s "Gradus ad Parnassum" (1725) was used to teach famous 18th-century composers like Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Bach. Fux’s "Gradus" is even used today in music programs to provide students with a better understanding of 16th-century musical style. However, only selections of Fux’s work have been translated from the original Latin into English (Mann 1943, 1958; Wollenberg 1992; and a paraphrase in the "Practical Rules for Learning Composition," 1760), leaving parts of this critical treatise inaccessible to English-speaking students and teachers. This project proposes a collaboration between Dr. Amy Norgard (Asst. Professor, Classics) and J. Alexander Lynn (undergraduate student, Music and Music Education) to translate Fux’s "Gradus" into an English edition (including modernized musical exempla), provide a Latin edition, and analyze the text within their respective disciplinary expertise. By re-contextualizing the later chapters of the "Gradus" with the rest of the text, music scholars can reevaluate the work as a whole and its contribution to the study of counterpoint. Furthermore, by making a Latin edition accessible and identifying its place in the Classical tradition, we hope the "Gradus" will be read with more frequency and ease by students and scholars with a background in Classics, contributing to the growing field of Neo-Latin studies.