Born in Benneckenstein, Werckmeister attended schools in Nordhausen and Quedlinburg. He received his musical training from his uncles Heinrich Christian Werckmeister and Heinrich Victor Werckmeister. In 1664 he became an organist in Hasselfelde; ten years later in Elbingerode; and in 1696 of the Martinskirche in Halberstadt.
Of his compositions only a booklet remains: pieces for violin with basso continuo, with the title Musikalische Privatlust (1689).
Werckmeister is best known today as a theorist, in particular through his writings Musicae mathematicae hodegus curiosus... (1687) and Musikalische Temperatur (1691), in which he coined the term well temperament (a tuning system for keyboards) and described a system of well temperament now known as Werckmeister temperament.
Werckmeister's writings were well known to Johann Sebastian Bach, in particular his writings on counterpoint. Werckmeister believed that well-crafted counterpoint, in particular invertible counterpoint , was tied to the orderly movements of the planets, reminiscent of Kepler's view in Harmonice Mundi. According to George Buelow, "No other writer of the period regarded music so unequivocally as the end result of God’s work,"  a view harmonious with that of Bach. Yet in spite of his focus on counterpoint, Werckmeister's work emphasized underlying harmonic principles.
List of works
- Musicae mathematicae hodegus curiosus... (1687)
- Musikalische Temperatur, oder... (1691)
- Der Edlen Music-Kunst... (1691)
- Hypomnemata musica (1697)
- Erweierte und verbesserte Orgel-Probe (1698)
- Die nothwendigsten Anmerckungen und Reglen, wie der Bassus continuus... (1698)
- Cribrum musicum (1700)
- Harmonologia musica (1702)
- Musikalische Paradoxal-Discourse (1707)
- ^ George B. Stauffer, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Fall 2005, p. 711.
- ^ George J. Buelow, "Andreas Werckmeister," Grove Music Online
- David Yearsley, Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint. New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
- George J. Buelow: "Andreas Werckmeister", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (Accessed May 7, 2006), (subscription access)
- Free scores by Andreas Werckmeister at the International Music Score Library Project
- "Well Tempering based on the Werckmeister Definition"
- Bio (in French) which contains details of locations of surviving copies of Werckmeister's publications
- Well Tempered based on Werckmeisters last book Musikalische Paradoxal-Discourse (1707) is Equal Temperament see: http://www.academia.edu/5210832/18th_Century_Quotes_on_J.S._Bachs_Temperament