An Austrian ethnomusicologist and, with Curt Sachs, the co-author of the Hornbostel-Sachs musical instrument classification system. Erich Moritz von Hornbostel was born on February 25, 1877 in Vienna into a musical family. He received a PhD in chemistry from the University of Vienna, and after moving to Berlin, he began working with musical psychology and psychoacoustics. He then became the first director for the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv and began his work with Curt Sachs on the Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification.
In 1933, he lost his job because the Nazi Party discoverd that his mother was a Jew. He left Berlin, living in Switzerland and the United States, before ending up in Cambridge in England. He worked on an archive of non-European folk music recordings, specializing in African and Asian music. He made numerous recording, and developed a system allowing the transcription of non-Western music from recordings to paper. He died in Cambridge, England in November 28, 1935.
See also Hornbostel-Sachs; Curt Sachs; Organology.