About Arthur J. Ness, Ph.D.

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To contact me: arthurjness@verizon.net


Born: Chicago, Illinois. Parents Martin  and Rosetta Ness.


Married: Charlotte A. Kolczynski (a music reference librarian).


Professional Memberships:


American Federation of Musicians, Local 6 (San Francisco).  Free lance musician at age 17.


American Musicological Society (elected Secretary-Treasurer, Southern California Chapter).


International Musicological Society.

Member, IMS Study Group for Tablatures 


Music Library Association.


International Association of Music Libraries.


Lute Society of America


Lute Society (U.K.)


Nederlandse Luitvereniging


Deutsche Lautengesellschaft


Private study (clarinet) with Frank Fragale, clarinetist, San Francisco Symphony and Opera Orchestras.


Eastman School of Music (clarinet major)


Private study in Bernhard Ziehn music theory with Julius Gold (Hollywood)


School of Music, University of Southern California (Bachelor of Music in Music Theory cum laude). Studies with Halsey Stevens, Ingolf Dahl, Ernest Kanitz, Ellis B. Kohs, Raymond Kendall, Mitchel Lurie, Kalman Bloch. Senior paper: "An Analysis of Beethoven's Op. 135 and the Question, 'Muß es sein?'" (advisor: Ellis B. Kohs). Senior composition: Three Poems of Kenneth Patchen for alto and piano (advisor: Halsey Stevens).


Music Academy of the West. Studies with Mitchell Lurie (clarinet), Simon Kovar (woodwind ensemble), Maurice Abravanel (orchestra). Participant as clarinetist in the voice master class with Lotte Lehmann.


Harvard University (Master of Arts in Music). Studies with A. Tillman Merritt, Walter Piston, John M. Ward, Nino Pirrotta (thesis advisor), Luise Vosgershian.  Teaching assistant to G. Wallace Woodworth ("Music One"). Thesis: "The Original Text of Mozart's Concerto, K.V. 622."  The thesis formed the basis for Pamel Weston's edition of the concerto for Universal Editions, and several articles by Rob Adelson (done with my cooperation),  in the Performance Practice Review 10 (1997): 152-91, and The Clarinet 25 (Feb.-Mar. 1998): 50-2.  See bottom of page for LINK to Rob's article.


Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New York University.  Studies with Gustave Reese (served as Reese's research assistant), Martin Bernstein, and Jan LaRue.  Dissertatation: "The Herwarth Lute Manuscripts at the Bavarian State Library, Munich: A Bibliographical Study with Emphasis on the Works of Marco dall'Aquila and Melchior Newsidler." xiii, 440 + 331 pp.  UMI No. 8411428; RILM 84/1263dd.  Advisors: Gustave Reese and Stanley Boorman.


The dissertation received the annual James C. Cleary Award as the outstanding dissertation in the humanities and social sciences.


Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich,u

on a Fulbright Fellowship (2 1/2 years).  Dissertation research; studies with Theodore Göllner and Thrasybulos Georgiades.

Papers delivered at International Conferences:

  • Tours, Centre d'Études Supériores de la Reaissance, 15-18 Septembre 1980: "Domenico Bianchini: Some Recent Findings." and "A Descriptive Catalogue of Lute Sources." Publ. Le Luth et sa musique II, ed. Jean-Michael Vaccaro (Paris: CNRS, 1984): 97-111, 93-6 (resp.).
  • International Lute Symposium Utrecht 1986, sponsored by STIMU Foundation for Historical Performance Practice: "The Siena Lute Book and its Arrangements of Vocal and Instrumental Part-Music."  Publ. Proceedings of the International Lute Symposium Utrecht 1986, ed. L. P. Grijp and Willem Mook (Utrecht: STIMU 1988): 30-49.
  • Freiburg i/B, Weiß Akademie & University of Freiburg: International Conference of the Lute Music of S. L. Weiß.  Paper: "The Rostock Tablatures and their Lautengalanterien for Princess Luisse of Württemburg."
  • Francesco da Milano International Symposium on the 500th Anniversary of his Birth (October 1997), sponsored by the University of Milan and the Marco Fodella Foundation. Paper: "Sources of Francesco da Milano's Music."
  • Marco dall'Aquila e il suo Tempo: Convegno Internazionale di Studi (October 1998). Paper: "Marco dall'Aquila: An Introduction to his Musical Works."
    • Papers at National Meetings of the American Musicological Society:
  • "Right-Hand Technique and Style Change in Early Cinquecento Lute Music," Los Angeles, 1964.
  • "Lute Music: Tablatures, Textures and Transcription," Study Session panelist, Chicago, 1973.
  • "Dissertation Topics in Lute Music," panelist, Vancouver, 1980.
  • "The Rostock Tablatures," Cleveland, 1983.
  • "Marco dall'Aquila and Style Change in Lute Music around 1520," Philadelphia, 1984.

Articles, Reviews and Papers:

  • "A Letter from Melchior Newsidler," Music and Context: Essays for John M. Ward,  ed. Anne Dhu Shapiro (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985): pp. 352-69.

James Tyler: The Early Guitar: A History and Handbook (London: Oxford University Press, 1980), Lute & Guitar 20 (Jan. 1982): 37.

  • Rev. Wolfgang Boetticher: Handschriftlich überlieferte Lauten- und Gitarrentabulaturen des 15. bis 18 Jahrhunderts, RISM Bvii (Munich 1979), Journal of the American MusicologicalSociety, 34 (1981): 339-45 (featured review). 
  • Rev. Istvan Homoloya and Gyula Gulyas: Valentine Bakfark: Lutenist from Transylvania (Budapest, 1984), MLA Notes, 44 (1988): pp. 479-9.
  • Rev. Vladimir Ivanoff: Das Pesaro-Manuskript: Ein Beitrag zur fruhgeschichte der Lautentabultur (Tutzing, 1988) and Idem., Eine zentrale Quelle der fruhen italienischen Lautenpraxis (Tutzing, 1988), Notes, 46 (1990): pp. 939-41.
  • Rev. C. Howell Almonte and Warren E. Hultberg, eds., Fray Thomas de Sancta Maria: Arte de Tañer Fantasia (Pittsburgh, 1991), Notes, 51 (1995): pp. 919-20.

"A Lautenbuch for Princess C. A. A. d'A. from Wilhelm Tappert's Collection," Celebremus: 1984. XII. 14 (Birthday Offering for Martin Bernstein)  NYU Music Department. Re: Canzoni devotti . . . da me J. M. Sciurius. Mus Ms 40151 in Cracow (ex-Berlin)

  • Jean-Michel Vaccaro, ed.: Guillaume Morlaye: Oeuvres pour le luth, II: Manuscrits d'Uppsala (Paris 1989), and Andre Souris, et al., eds.:  Nicolas Vallet: Oeuvres pour luth seule: Le Secret des Muses Paris 1989), Notes, 49 (1992): pp. 795-7.

Review, Thysius Lute Book (Dutch Lute Society, 2010), Journal of the Lute Society of America  40 (2007 issued 2010), 78-9.


"Briefly Noted: A Physician's Lute Book," Ibid., 81. Re: the Donauseschingen MS (now in Stuttgart)

Articles for The New Grove of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmilan, 1980): 

  • Albuzio (Giovanni Giacopo)
  • Balletti (Bernadino)--rev.
  • Barberiis (Melchiore de)
  • Becchi (Angonio di)--rev.
  • Bendusi, Francesco)--rev.
  • Bianchini (Domenico)
  • Bianchini (Francescho)--rev.
  • Capirola (Vincenzo)
  • Francesco Canova da Milano
  • Giovanni Maria da Crema
  • Hofstetter (Georg)
  • Panhormitano (Bartolomeo lieto)
  • Marco dall'Aquila
  • Testagrossa (Giovanni)
  • Sources of Lute Music (ca. 1490-1800)--37 cols.

Articles for The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, ed. Don Randel (Cambridge:Harvard University Press, 1986):

Canzona    Capriccio       Fantasia        

Prelude      Ricercar     Tablature  Tiento    Toccata

Toccata di durezze e ligature      Intabulation      

Inganno            Tuck               Tusch            Tocatin

Rasgueado      Sennet            Toc                Glosa


The Lute Works of Francesco Canova da Milano (1497-1543), Harvard Publications in Music, 3 & 4 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press), 2-vols.in one; xxxii + 474 pp.


Tablature de luth italienne, dit Siena Manuscrit . . . fac-simile du Ms. 28.B.39, La Haye, Gemeentemuseum, Geneva. Minkoff 1988, 18 pp. + 113 fols.


(with J. M. Ward), The Königsberg Manuscript: A Facsimile of Ms 285-MF-LXXIX, . . . Vilnius (Columbus [Ohio], Editions Orphee, 1989), 52 + 183 pp. [I researched and penned the preface, "The Manucript and its Context."  John Ward only provided concordances for the English pieces, and accordingly does not even include this work in the bibliography of editions in his biographical article in New Grove.]


Teaching and Research Positions:


·        Harvard University, Teaching Assistant (G. Wallace Woodworth): “Music One.”

·        New York University, Research Assistant to Gustave Reese

·        University of Southern California (Los Angeles), School, of Music, Instructor/Assistant Professor of Music History and Literature.  Courses: Bibliography and Research Methods, Music before/after 1750, Music Appreciation, Music in Middle Ages, Music in Renaissance, Music in Classical Period, The Bach Cantatas, History of Lute Music, thesis and dissertation advisement, etc.

·        Daemen College (Buffalo, N.Y.). Chairman, Department of Music, and Associate Professor of Music.  Courses: History of Music, Chamber Music Literature, Research Methods, Music Appreciation, etc. Juried all student recitals.  Supervised professional recital series, and wrote press releases for same.

·        State University of New York at Buffalo, State University College at Fredonia.  Adjunct Professor of Music.  Courses: Music History, Music of Bach, History of Lute Music, thesis and dissertation advisement,  etc.


Click here for Rob Adelson's article on the Mozart Concerto and the basset clarinet (based in part on my master's thesis):

Here are some examples of my musical engravings.  Surprisingly the most difficult one was not the Bloch Schelomo, but rather the Albeniz.  It took some special tricks to get the inner lines.  (If the example is illegible, small, scroll down to the right lower corner, and click on the orange pillow when it appears.)

click here to download ALBENIZ65

click here to download TANGO

click here to download BLOCH65

click here to download BERG65.PDF

click here to download tablature example

Some scores here on my web pages

Essays in Celebration of Arthur J. Ness's 75th Birthday,
in Journal of the Lute Society of America 41 (2008): passim.  Michael Fink, Editor. Articles by Thomas J. Mathiesen, Hiroyuki Minamino, Otto Gombosi, and Robert X. Rodriguez; 42-3 (2009-10): François-Pierre Goy and Andreas Schlegel; 44 (2011): Richard Falkenstein, John Griffiths, Joachim Lüdtke and Michael Fink