Goodrich, Alfred John


American musical theorist and teacher of music; of Scottish ancestry on his mother's side; born in Chilo, Ohio. Studied piano and harmony for a year with his father, and afterward studied music alone. His general education was received in the public schools of San Francisco and Sacramento, California. In 1876 he was teacher of singing, piano and theory at the Fort Wayne Conservatory of Music, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, succeeding the well-known instructor, A. K. Virgil, in the two latter branches. Was for some time, from 1881, director of the vocal department and teacher of theory at the Beethoven Conservatory, St. Louis, Missouri, and for two years director of the musical department of Martha Washington College at Abingdon, Virginia. He moved to Chicago in 1888, where he taught music and wrote regularly for several leading periodicals, particularly the t New York Musical Courier, to which he has contributed important articles on the theory, practise, and aesthetics of musical art. He now conducts, with Mrs. Goodrich, a private music school in New York City. He has also published the following works: Music as a Language; The Art of Song; Complete Music Analysis; Analytical Harmony; Theory of Interpretation; Guide to Memorizing; Guide to Practical Musicianship; and Synthetic Counterpoint. He also has a work in manuscript entitled System of Strict Counterpoint, and still contributes to the leading musical journals. A series of articles entitled Musical Terminology ran through the entire twelve numbers of The Musician for 1900. Elson considers his Analytical Harmony Goodrich's chief work. His published books have been praised by prominent musicians both in America and Europe, and have won him recognition from scholars abroad as one of the leading spirits of his time.

Goodrich composed much in his youth in large musical forms, but the success of his technical works has to some extent thrown his compositions into the background. After hearing for the first time Tschaikowsky's Fifth Symphony, he burned his early compositions, and a piano suite alone was left. He has written a patriotic cantata, many songs, fugues, and chamber-music in his mature years, and arranged for orchestra various works of other composers. His orchestral arrangement of Rheinberger's Tarantella was performed with considerable success at the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. That Mr. Goodrich is recognized in larger executive capacities is evident from the fact that he has been president of the Indiana Music Teachers' Association, chairman of the Music Committee of the New York Manuscript Society, editor of Brainard's Musical World, Chicago, and conductor of the Mexican Opera Company.