Johann Joseph Fux

Austrian composer

Johann Joseph Fux (German: [ˈfʊks]; c. 1660 – 13 February 1741) was an Austrian composer, music theorist and pedagogue. He is remembered as the writer of Gradus ad Parnassum, a book about counterpoint.

Johann Joseph Fux

Fux was born in Hirtenfeld, Austria. His birthday is not known. His parents were peasants. He probably went to the nearby city of Graz to study music. In 1680 he was accepted to the Ferdinandeum, a Jesuit college. He ran away from the Ferdinandeum before he graduated. He ran away to Ingolstadt. In 1683, he entered the Jesuit University in Ingolstadt. He was the organist at St. Moritz in Ingolstadt from 1685 to 1688.[1]

Fux married in 1696. At this time he was the organist of the Schottenkirche in Vienna. He became the court composer for Emperor Leopold I in 1698.[2] He composed church and chamber music. In 1700 he was sent to Rome to study composition. He might have been influenced by the music of Palestrina while studying in Rome.

Fux became the Hofkapellmeister in 1715. He was in charge of the music for the Holy Roman Emperor. He worked for Leopold I, Joseph I, and Charles VI. Fux served as Hofkapellmeister for the rest of his life. He had to write masses for churches. He also wrote operas and oratorios for special events.[1]

Fux taught music. His students include Jan Dismas Zelenka, Gottlieb Muffat, and Georg Christoph Wagenseil.[3] He published Gradus ad Parnassum in 1725. The name means "Steps to Parnassus" in English.

Fux died in Vienna on February 13, 1741.

Gradus ad Parnassum


Fux's book about counterpoint, Gradus ad Parnassum, is his most important work. The book was written in Latin. It was translated to German by Lorenz Christoph Mizler in 1742. The book teaches the reader how to write correct counterpoint. Many composers learned counterpoint from the book, including Mozart and Haydn.[2] Johann Sebastian Bach owned a copy of the book.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hochradner, Thomas; White, Harry (2001). "Fux, Johann Joseph". Grove Music Online (8th ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.49235. ISBN 978-1-56159-263-0.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Johann Joseph Fux". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  3. Slonimsky, Nicolas; Kuhn, Laura; McIntire, Dennis. "Fux, Johann Joseph". Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Retrieved 3 October 2020 – via
  4. Beisswenger, Kirsten (1992). Johann Sebastian Bachs Notenbibliothek. Bärenreiter.