Brother Francis Publishers

  Music-woodwind history-miscellanea

An introductory word

​​​Years ago, a university professor told me, “One has to be biased to write a book.” In a sense that may be true.  I heard Edward Teller say in a speech a few years later, “Mozart was not a genius.” The world-renowned physicist believed Wolfgang was able to produce masterpieces because he was intensely interested in music!

From my early years, I delighted in analyzing the “intractable” and usually found novel ways of solving conundrums and mathematical problems. Music became a part of my life at age ten and remains an integral facet of my existence. 
                                                                            In my teens, I arranged music for vocal groups and
later arranged and composed music for flute, violin & cello trio, piano, solo wind and piano, woodwind ensemble, brass quintet and choral works. Music performance on woodwinds filled 

my spare time. But …

                                         with a degree in physics and the equivalent of a master’s in mechanical engineering, I followed a career in geophysical exploration and ​design of process systems. Here too, my mind returned often to the matter of creativity.

    Is this why we research, compose, publish and perform?

           These concepts fascinated me, and I devoured works on patent theory and invention. Max Wertheimer’s Productive Thinking seemed to confirm my observations. I hold four mechanical design patents, one (jointly) for an improved guitar fretboard, and have lectured occasionally on patent philosophy.

       Ingenuity and inventivity

              Opus magnum

     For years I had an avid interest in early musical instruments, particularly winds, and finally American woodwinds. This led to a ten-year dedication to the subject, resulting in Woodwinds in Early America (2015).
                                               This was no dilettantish fancy. Extant instruments, from colonial
times to 1860, received careful attention. Early records were hunted down: those dealing with
the makers and notices of contemporary performances on these instruments. Manufacturing
methods, major fairs and exhibits, early orchestras, period preceptors and music, woodwinds
in brass ensembles and pitch in America were all investigated.
                                                                                           This encyclopedic book of 752 pages and
more than 400 illustrations will no doubt prove to be the defining work in this field. 

I will appreciate hearing from you.                                                     
Doug Koeppe                             

  ​ Starting out