Haack [Haacke, Haak, Haake], Friedrich Wilhelm

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Huw, Robert ap.

See Robert ap Huw.

Huwet, Gregorio.

See Huet, Gregorio.

Huybrechts, Albert

(b Dinant, 12 Feb 1899; d Brussels, 21 Feb 1938). Belgian composer. He studied at the Brussels Conservatory with Marchand, Du Bois and Joseph Jongen. In 1926 he won the Coolidge Prize for his Sonata for violin and piano and his First String Quartet took first prize at the Ojai Valley Festival. He was put in charge of the harmony course at the Brussels Conservatory in 1937. Reacting against his Franckian training, he at first followed Debussy and, more particularly, Ravel: these influences are evident in the Quartet no.1. At the Pro Arte concerts in Brussels he encountered the music of Berg, Stravinsky and Bartok; the vehemence of their work led him to make his music an open proclamation against injustice, adopting a polytonal style with the aim of delivering a blow to bourgeois conformism. The cadenza of the Cello Concertino (1932) expresses his anger, although some pieces have a tender delicacy (e.g. the Second Quartet, 1927) and a feeling of joy bursts through in the neo-Classical Serenade (1929). Other works include the orchestral Chant d’angoisse (1930), a Wind Quintet (1936) and other instrumental music, mélodies and incidental scores. His works are published by CeBeDeM, Sénart and Schott (Brussels).


CeBeDeM Directory

C. van den Borren: Geschiedenis van de muziek in de Nederlanden, ii (Antwerp, 1951), 380–81

Catalogue des oeuvres de compositeurs belges: Albert Huybrechts (Brussels, 1954) [CeBeDeM publication]

R. Wangermée and P. Mercier, eds.: La musique en Wallonie et à Bruxelles (Brussels, 1982), ii, 404–6


Huygens, Christiaan

(b The Hague, 14 April 1629; d The Hague, 8 July 1695). Dutch mathematician, physicist, astronomer and music theorist, second son of Constantijn Huygens. He received a broad education in languages, mathematics and music and learnt to play the viola da gamba, lute and harpsichord. He attended the University of Leiden from 1645 to 1647 and the Collegium Auriacum in Breda from 1647 to 1649, by which time he was well known as a mathematician. He visited Paris in 1655, 1660–61 and 1663–4, and London in 1661 and 1663. He invented the pendulum clock and discovered the rings round Saturn. In 1663 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, London, and in 1666 he was one of the founder-members of the Académie des Sciences, Paris. He stayed in Paris on an annuity from Louis XIV from 1666 to 1670, 1671 to 1676 and 1678 to 1681. When not in France, he lived in The Hague with his father. His Traité de la lumière (1690) and the posthumous Cosmotheoros (1698) are the most important scientific works of the later period.

During his travels to Paris and London Huygens became familiar with musical life there and came into contact with various important musicians, among them Chambonnières, Pierre de La Barre (v), Du Mont and Gobert. He attended performances of stage works such as Cavalli's Xerse, the ballet L'impatience (1661) and the Lully–Molière comédies-ballets Le mariage forcé (1664) and Le sicilien, ou L'amour peintre (1667). During his later years in The Hague he was in contact with Quirinus van Blankenburg. His relationships with musicians were often more congenial than those of his father, who could never forget the social gap between the musician and the gentleman. Many notes, drafts and scribbles about music are to be found among his manuscripts, which were donated to the University of Leiden in 1697. Among these papers there is one musical composition, a brief courante for harpsichord (ed. in Rasch, 1986).

Huygens developed a scientific interest in music in summer 1661, when his father brought home the tuning instructions for the Antwerp carillon, which described the then current mean-tone tuning system. He developed a mathematical description of the system, including the calculation of string lengths and tuning instructions, entitled Divisio monochordi. This was complemented by the development of logarithmic measurements of intervals and the analogy between mean-tone tuning and the equal division of the octave into 31 parts. During the period 1676–8 he studied intensely the theories of Mersenne, Zarlino, Salinas, Kircher and others, especially with regard to tonal systems, scales, intervals etc. His Lettre touchant le cycle harmonique (1691) summarizes the ideas he had already formed 30 years earlier. It includes a description of an imaginary transposing harpsichord, with 31 strings to the octave and a 12-note, shifting keyboard which could call on various selections from the full 31-note set. Transposing instruments are referred to more often in his letters and miscellaneous manuscript notes which also include remarks on solmization, a letter-based form of notation, the determination of frequency, soprano recorder fingerings and rules for continuo realization.

Huygens was the first to use logarithms as a means of working out the mathematical basis of the old theory of the division of the octave into 31 equal parts. 18th-century theorists such as Saveur, Mattheson, Blankenburg (Elementa musica, 1739/R) and Robert Smith (Harmonics, 1749/R) paid tribute to his work. In the 20th century his ideas were taken up by the Dutch physicist Fokker (and after him by several others) and used as the basis for observations on microtonal intervals and systems.


Divisio monochordi (MS, 1661, NL-Lu), ed. in Oeuvres complètes de Christiaan Huygens, xx (The Hague, 1940); Eng. trans. in Rasch (1986)

‘Lettre touchant le cycle harmonique’, Histoire des ouvrages des sçavans (Oct 1691), 78–88; ed. in Oeuvres complètes, x (The Hague, 1905); facs., Eng. and Dutch trans. in Rasch (1986)

Miscellaneous notes on music (MS, Lu Hug.27)


H.L. Brugmans: Le séjour de Christian Huygens à Paris (Paris, 1935)

A.D. Fokker: ‘“Christiaan Huygens” oktaafverdeling in 31 gelijke diëzen’, Caecilia en De muziek, xcviii (1941), 149–52

Ll. P. Farrar: Christiaan Huygens: his Musical Contributions to Seventeenth Century Science (diss., U. of Texas, 1962)

H. Bots and others, eds.: Studies on Christiaan Huygens (Lisse, 1980) [incl. H.F. Cohen: ‘Christiaan Huygens on Consonance and the Division of the Octave’, 271–301]

H.F. Cohen: Quantifying Music (Dordrecht, c1984), esp. 208–30

R.A. Rasch: introduction to facs. of Lettre touchant le cycle harmonique (Utrecht, 1986); see also review by H.F. Cohen, TVNM, xxxix (1989), 73–7

R.A. Rasch: ‘Six Seventeenth-Century Dutch Scientists and their Knowledge of Music’, Music and Science in the Age of Galileo, ed. V. Coelho (Dordrecht, 1992), 185–210

C.D. Andriessen: Titan kan niet slapen (Amsterdam, 1993) [biography of Christiaan Huygens]

R.A. Rasch: ‘“Constantijn en Christiaan Huygens” relatie tot de muziek: overeenkomsten en verschillen’, De zeventiende eeuw, xii (1996), 52–63


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