Michael Morawski

DRAEGER, HANS-HEINZ (1909–1968). Musicologist Hans-Heinz Draeger was born in Stralsund, Germany, on December 6, 1909. Draeger, a pioneer in the study of music, was one of the most influential musicologists in Texas. He came from a long musical tradition and studied under some of Europe's most influential composers. He exerted his greatest influence in Texas as a faculty member at the University of Texas in Austin.

He attended the Oberreal Schule in Stralsund from 1920 to 1931. From 1931 to 1937 he studied musicology at the University of Berlin under such giants in German musical scholarship as Friedrich Blume, Erich Moritz von Hornbostel, Curt Sachs, and Georg Schünemann. In 1937 Draeger received his doctorate with a dissertation on the development of the bow and its use in Europe. He subsequently served as an assistant in the history department at the State Institute for German Music Research in Berlin. In 1938 he was an assistant at the State Museum of Musical Instruments, where, in 1939, he was named administrative director. That same year, he was also appointed lecturer of organology at the Hochschule für Musik.

Draeger's career in music continued to grow after the end of World War II. In 1946 he completed his Habilitation (appointment as university lecturer) at Kiel, where he wrote an important work on the classification of musical instruments. From 1947 to 1949 he served as professor of musicology at the University of Greiswald and at the University of Rostock. He went on to work at other key universities, such as Humboldt University (1949–53) and Free University (1953–61). For a brief period in 1955 he taught at Stanford University as a Fulbright scholar and visiting professor. In 1961 he made his way to the Lone Star State to work as a visiting professor of musicology at the University of Texas.

Draeger soon distinguished himself as a member of the UT faculty. During his career he published two books and more than thirty articles. In addition to his many other publications, he wrote the program notes for the Fine Arts Booklet, published by the University of Texas Department of Music from 1961 to 1963, and for the Austin Symphony Orchestra from 1963 to 1968. He concentrated his research on the theoretical and mathematical aspects of intonation and pitch in music. He was also interested in the relation between words and notes. Draeger's background in art history and philosophy led him to explore other avenues in musical research extending into such areas as psychology and computers. In 1966 he became an American citizen.

After his death, in Austin on November 9, 1968, he was remembered by many in both Germany and the United States as a giant in the study of musicology. He was survived by his wife, Mrs. Helen B. Draeger; a son, Udo-Heyber Vetter; his father; and two brothers and three sisters.


Austin American–Statesman, November 10, 1968. Bruno Nettl, Theory and Method in Ethnomusicology (New York, Free Press of Glencoe, 1964). Bruno Nettl and Philip Bohlman, eds., Comparative Musicology and Anthropology of Music: Essays on the History of Ethnomusicology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990). Stanley Sadie, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Washington: Grove's Dictionaries of Music, 1980; 2d ed., New York: Grove, 2001). Vertical files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Michael Morawski, "DRAEGER, HANS-HEINZ," accessed August 26, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdr17.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on September 24, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox