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Gumpert or Gumbert?

How did the famous teacher spell his name?

John Ericson

This article is based on materials published in The Horn Call 27, no. 2 (February, 1997) and The Horn Call 28, no. 2 (February, 1998).

It is a most curious fact that every published work of the famous Leipzig horn teacher Friedrich Gumpert (1841-1906) misspells his name as Gumbert with a "B." Norman Schweikert in his article "Gumpert, not Gumbert!" (The Horn Call 1, no. 2 [May, 1971], 45-46) relates that his former students theorized "that there was a well-known song-writer, poet or the like" named Friedrich Gumbert, and that "he did not seem to mind being mistaken for him." As a refinement of the theory as to why this presumably intentional misspelling occurred, an examination of a typical nineteenth-century musical handbook (such as Fr. Pazdírek, The Universal Handbook of Musical Literature [Vienna: Pazdírek, n.d.], vol. 11, 657-664) will find an entry and many published works by Ferdinand Gumbert (1818-1896)--perhaps Gumpert's publisher was banking on this name recognition to help sell music?

Gumpert is mentioned in the articles Later Editions of the Kopprasch Etudes, Henri Kling and the Valved Horn in the Late Nineteenth Century, and The Double Horn and Its Invention in 1897. An extended article on Gumpert by Dr. Ericson was also published in Brass Scholarship in Review: Proceedings of the Historic Brass Society Conference at the Cité de la Musique, Paris, 1999 (Pendragon Press).

Copyright John Ericson. All rights reserved.


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