Johann Philipp Kirnberger (also Kernberg, 24 April 1721, Saalfeld - 27 July 1783, Berlin) was a musician, composer (primarily of fugues), and music theorist. A pupil of Johann Sebastian Bach, he became a violinist at the court of Frederick II of Prussia in 1751. He was the music director to the Prussian Princess Anna Amalia from 1758 until his death. Kirnberger greatly admired J.S. Bach, and sought to secure the publication of all of Bach's chorale settings, which finally appeared after Kirnberger's death; see Kirnberger chorale preludes (BWV 690–713). Many of Bach's manuscripts have been preserved in Kirnberger's library (the "Kirnberger collection").
He is known today primarily for his theoretical work Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik (The Art of Strict Composition in Music, 1774, 1779). The well-tempered tuning systems known as "Kirnberger II" and "Kirnberger III" are associated with his name (see Kirnberger temperament), as is a rational version of equal temperament (see schisma).
More information, including full text, of Kirnberger's Grundsätze des Generalbasses (178?) in the University of North Texas Music Library Virtual Rare Book Room
- Free scores by Johann Kirnberger at the International Music Score Library Project
- Larry Schou: The Kirnberger Chorales, The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance
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