The Frances Densmore Prize
Each year the American Musical Instrument Society awards a prize for the most distinguished article-length work in English that best furthers the Society’s goal of promoting "the study of the history, design, and use of musical instruments in all cultures and from all periods.” The $500 prize is named to honor Frances Densmore (1867–1957), the pioneering ethnographer who recorded musical practices of Native Americans on hundreds of wax cylinders and in important books.
Nominations (including self-nominations) of articles published in 2020 are invited by this year’s committee, consisting of Allison Alcorn (chair), Stephen Cottrell, and Harrison Powley. Eligible publications may come from journals, conference publications, festschriften, or other similar sources. Nominations should be sent by January 25 toaalcorn@IllinoisState.edu. The winner will be announced at the Society's annual meeting, which will be held in summer 2022 (date TBD), and in the AMIS Newsletter.
One of two publication prizes, the Frances Densmore Prize is awarded for the most distinguished article-length work in English which best furthers the Society's goal "to promote study of the history, design, and use of musical instruments in all cultures and from all periods." The first award in this category was given in 1988 and has been awarded in even-numbered years thereafter. In 2009, the Board of Governors voted to make the award annually.
The 2022 Densmore Prize is awarded to Amine Beyhom for his article “Was the Early Arabian ‘Ūd 'Fretted'?" published in Near-Eastern Musicology Online 5, no. 9 (November 2020).
Rachel Beckles Willson
“Orientation through Instruments: The ‘Ūd, the Palestinian Home, and Kamīlyā Jubrān,” The World of Music, new series 8, no. 1 (2019)
Jaime E. Oliver La Rosa
"Theramin in the Press: Instrument Remediation and Code-Instrument Transduction," Organised Sound 23, no. 3 (December 2018): 256–69.
“‘A Museum of Its Own’ – The Musical Instrument Collection of Antonio Guatier (1825-1904) in Nice," Galpin Society Journal LXX (2017):5–44
“Typological Analysis of the Chinese Qin in the Late Bronze Age,” in the Galpin Society Journal LXIX (2016): 137–151
“The Tabla Past and Present: Analysis of Materials in India’s Most Iconic Drums,” The Galpin Society Journal LXVIII (2015): 193–214
Lance Whitehead and Jenny Nex
“The Insurance of Musical London and the Sun Fire Office 1710-1779” The Galpin Society Journal LXVII (2014): 181–216
“The Musical Instrument as National Archive: A Case Study of the Kazakh Qyl-qobyz,” Ethnomusicology 58, no. 3 (Fall 2014): 379–404
“The Death and Second Life of the Harpsichord” Journal of Musicology 30/2, (Spring 2013), 180-214.
"How Different are Cornets and Trumpets?" Historic Brass Society Journal 24 (2012), 113-128.
“A Harpsichord by Diego Fernandez?”, The Galpin Society Journal LXIV (March 2011), pp. 5-48.
"New Light on the History of the Keyed Bugle." Historic Brass Society Journal 21:11-50 (2009) and 22:19-54 (2010).
George S. Bozart and Margaret Debenham, with collaborator David Cripps
"Piano Wars: the Legal Machinations of London Pianoforte Makers, 1795-1806," Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle XLII (2009), 45-108.
“Viennese Woodwind Makers in the Classical Era, with Emphasis on Friedrich Lempp’s Request for Protection in 1768,” Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society XXXIV (2008), 26-73.
“Roman and Neapolitan Gut Strings 1550-1950.” Galpin Society Journal 59 (2006):147-182.
"The Boehm Système Oboe and its Role in the Development of the Modern Oboe." The Galpin Society Journal 56 (2003): 27-60.
"The Gütter Family: Wind Instrument Makers and Dealers to the Moravian Brethren in America." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 27 (2001): 48-83.
"The Double-Bass Class at the Paris Conservatory, 1826-1832,"Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 26 (2000): 83-140.
Sabine K. Klaus
"German Square Pianos with Prellmechanik in Major American Museum Collections: Distinguishing Characteristics of Regional Schools in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries," Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, 25 (1998): 27-80.
"The Raffles Gamelan at Claydon House," Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society,22 (1996): 5-41.
Philip F. Gura
"Manufacturing Guitars for the American Parlor: James Ashborn's Wolcottville, Connecticut, Factory, 1851-56," Journal of the American Antiquarian Society (1994): 117-56
"The Musical Instruments of Benjamin Crehore," Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 4 (1992): 52-77.
"Oboes Beyond Compare: The Instruments of Hendrik and Fredrik Richters," Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, 16 (1990): 42-117.
Robert S. Winter
"The Significance of Striking Points in the Evolution of the Romantic Piano," Journal of Musicology 6, No. 3 (1988): 267-92.
"Questions of Tonality in Bach's Cantatas: The Woodwind Perspective," Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 12 (1986): 40-67.