Sigmund G. Spaeth was born on April 10th, 1885. Dr. Sigmund Spaeth was a
Sigmund G. Spaeth was born on April 10th, 1885.
Dr. Sigmund Spaeth was a charter member of the Iota Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha at Northwestern University in 1910. His name as a composer and musicologist was interwoven with American music for several decades from the early 1920s through the late 1940s. After attending Haverford College (where he would compose the alma mater) he earned a doctorate degree from Princeton University. Spaeth was a well-known music critic on several newspapers including the “New York Times” and “The Boston Evening Transcript.” He would also compose music for the movies “Show Boat” and “The Trespasser.”
Spaeth was the author of several books such as “A History of Popular Music in America” and “The Common Sense of Music.” These works helped show the ties between popular songs of the time and old American folk songs. His vast knowledge of musical heritages led to the premiere of his NBC programs “Keys to Happiness” and “The Tune Detective.” On many occasions, he was sought out as an expert witness in the courtroom testifying against musical plagiarism. As a passionate supporter of barbershop quartet singing, he would spend much time outside of his profession organizing musical groups for the blind and arranging to have records sent to servicemen overseas.
In 1958, Brother Spaeth was named Phi Mu Alpha’s 4th “Man of Music” at the 35th National Convention for his contributions to American art and culture as well as his study of the origins of American popular music.
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