Monthly Archives: October 2011

Emeritus Professor Fred Crane (1927-2011)

The School of Music mourns the death of Professor Emeritus of Musicology Frederick B. Crane on September 2, 2011 in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Professor Crane was born March 4, 1927 in Mt. Pleasant. After service in the U.S. Navy he earned his B.A. degree from Carleton College and his M.A. (1956) and Ph.D. (1960) from the University of Iowa, where he studied with Professor Albert Luper, founder of the musicology program in the School of Music. Dr. Crane joined the musicology faculty in 1968. During his tenure he taught 32 different courses, including Medieval Music, History of Musical Instruments, American Music, World Musics, Music in the Nineteenth Century, and Music in the Twentieth Century. He was advisor and mentor to dozens of graduate students and director of nine doctoral dissertations. After retiring in 1994 he returned to his boyhood home in Mt. Pleasant.

Professor Crane’s early research focused on medieval and early Renaissance music, theory, and performance. His M.A. thesis was an edition and translation of the section on musical instruments in the 1650 treatise Musurgia Universalis by Athanasius Kircher, and his Ph.D. dissertation was “A Study of the Theoretical Writings on Musical Form to ca. 1460.” He published numerous articles and reviews in such journals as Acta Musicologica, the Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, Early Music, the Journal of Band Research, Black Music Research Journal, and American Music. His publications include a study of 14th-century dances, “On Performing the ‘Lo Estampies” (Early Music, vol. 7, 1979); Materials for the Study of the Fifteenth-Century Basse Danse (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Institute of Mediaeval Music, 1968); and Extant Medieval Musical Instruments: A Provisional Catalogue by Types (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1972).

Always fascinated by more recent music, especially in the United States, Professor Crane explored some lesser known developments such as American melodramas and the 19th-early 20th-century Chautauqua and Lyceum movements. He achieved international renown through his founding of the International Jew’s Harp Society, which he served as its first President. He inaugurated, edited, published, and contributed numerous significant articles to the journal Vierundzwanzigsteljahrsschrift der Internationalen Maultrommelvirtuosengenossenschaft (VIM), whose whimsical title was changed in 2004 to the Journal of the International Jew’s Harp Society. He organized the first International Jew’s Harp Congress in Iowa City in 1984. In 2003 he published his magnificent A History of the Trump in Pictures: Europe and America (“trump” is one of many names for the instrument and was the one that Professor Crane preferred). He held the distinguished title of Honorary President of the International Jew’s Harp Society upon his death.

Prof. Crane is survived by his wife of 40 years, Lois, two daughters, three sons, and two grandsons. He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister. A private family memorial service will be held in Mt. Pleasant, and burial of his ashes will be in the Forest Home Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant. A memorial has been established in his name for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

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