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German-Austrian musicologist, specialist in medieval polyphony.

Career Summary

Ficker studied musicology with Guido Adler (1855–1941) in Vienna, and composition with Ludwig Thuille (1861–1907) and Walter Courvoisier in Munich. He earned his doctorate under Adler with a dissertation entitled Die Chromatik im italienischen Madrigal des 16. Jahrhunderts in 1913. After war service 1914–18, he was appointed lecturer at the University of Innsbruck in 1920, where he founded a Musicological Seminar, and was promoted to professor in 1923. In 1927, the year that Adler retired, he was appointed co-director with Robert Lachs (1874–1978) of the Musicological Seminar of the University of Vienna. In 1931 he moved to the Munich, where he was appointed professor at the University and director of its Musical Seminar. He published extensively on the polyphonic music of the late middle ages, notably that of the Trent Codices, and its notation, and edited several volumes of the series Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich, and also on organum.

Ficker and Schenker

While vacationing in Igls (Tyrol), where Ficker was also staying, Schenker wrote to him on July 27, 1932 (FIBA 13/M01) suggesting that they meet, because the latter had expressed an interest in the Octet of his pupil Hans Weisse. There is no evidence that Ficker responded, and the two men appear to have remained unaquainted.


  • Ian Bent

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