Papers of Professor Frederick Niecks (1845-1924)

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of a variety of typescript and manuscript material. This includes:

  • Lectures on the history of music
  • Lectures in counterpoint and harmony
  • Contrapuntal compositions for analysis
  • Compositions, loose sheet music
  • Note-books
  • Notes on history and form
  • Lectures on accompaniment, modulation and tonality
  • Minute book of the Faculty of Music, 1894-
  • Address by Niecks, 31 January 1900, to a meeting of Edinburgh music teachers
  • Introductory lecture, 14 October 1901: A music school for Scotland
  • Talk: The place of music in education
  • Talk: General culture and musicians
  • Laureation address: For Hon.Degrees of Doctor of Music 1910
  • Testimonials and additional testimonials in favour of Niecks, candidacy for the Chair of Music, 1891
  • Extracts from the Proceedings of the Musical Association, 16th Session, 1889-1890
  • Extracts from the Proceedings of the Musical Association, 26th Session, 1899-1900

Administrative / Biographical History

Friedrich (Frederick) Niecks - son of an orchestral musician, teacher and conductor - was born in Duesseldorf, Germany, on 3 February 1845. He was educated privately in Duesseldorf and at the age of thirteen he made his first appearance as a violinist at a concert of the Musikverein in the city. Until 1868 he was a violinist and teacher of music, still in his home city, and then on the encouragement of the Scottish composer and conductor Alexander Mackenzie (1847-1935) he settled in Scotland where he played viola in Mackenzie's Edinburgh quartet. Niecks was also an organist and teacher of music in Dumfries. By 1875 he had begun writing music and contributing to music journals and between 1877 and 1878 he studied at Leipzig University. In 1880 he took British nationality. In 1891 Niecks became Reid Professor of Music, and Dean of the Faculty of Music, at Edinburgh University. In 1907 he married Christina Struthers. His publications include A Concise Dictionary of musical terms (1884), Chopin as a man and musician (1888), and Programme music in the last four centuries (1907), and Struthers edited his Robert Schumann for posthumous publication in 1925. He retired in 1914. Professor Frederick Niecks died on 24 June 1924.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance. In poor condition.

We strongly encourage you to contact us before your visit as special access conditions and restrictions apply to some collections. Please see our information on requesting material

Acquisition Information

Accession no: E2006.10, March 2006.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Who was who 1916-1928. 3rd edition. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1962. (2) Niecks, Friedrich [Frederick] - Grove Music Online. Full-text [online subscription]. [Accessed by subscription 24 March 2006].

Other Finding Aids

None prepared for this collection

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Material re-packaged from previous storage. Re-wrapped but still requires conservation work. Poor soiled condition. (at 24/03/06)

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University, Special Collections

Custodial History

To Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections, from the Reid Music Library, April 2001. Was EUA accession Acc 01/018.

Corporate Names