Hickmann, Hans (1908-1968)

Hickmann, a German musicologist, was known primarily as an authority on the musical instruments of ancient Egypt. He devoted much study to the music of the Coptic church, which he felt was a living link between the past and the present (for more details of his research into the Coptic musical tradition, see Oral Tradition, History, and Musical Instruments, above, and Transcriptions in Western Notation, below).

Born 19 May, 1908, in Rosslau bei Dessau, Germany, he received his early education in Halle and continued his studies in musicology at the University of Berlin under the direction of some of the most distinguished scholars of the time, including Erich M. von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs. After his graduation in 1934, he studied at the Staatliche für Kirchen- und Schulmusik (Berlin-Charlottenberg) and the Berliner Hochschule fur Musik. His interest in Eastern music was first aroused by a field trip to the Siwa Oasis (1932-1933), sponsored by the Berliner Phonogrammarchiv. In 1933, he settled in Cairo, and from here he conducted investigations into the music of Egypt for more than two decades.

From 1949 to 1952, he lectured in many countries of Western Europe. In 1957 he left Egypt because of political conditions and returned to Germany to head the department of Ethnomusicology at the University of Hamburg (see Transcriptions in Western Notation, below). In 1958, as the new director of the Musikhistorisches Studio (Archiv-Produktion) of the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft in Hamburg, he produced many recordings of ancient music, all of great scholarship and authenticity. He died 4 September 1968, in Blandford Forum, Dorset, England.

His published works cover more than three decades (1934-1968, plus articles published posthumously). A comprehensive bibliography, comprising some 198 entries, is listed in the Journal of the Society of Ethnomusicology, vol. IX, no. 1 (January 1965), pp. 45-53, and vol. XII, no. 2 (May 1969), pp. 317-19.