This section is from "The American Cyclopaedia", by George Ripley And Charles A. Dana. Also available from Amazon: The New American Cyclopędia. 16 volumes complete..
Johana Nikolans Forkel, a German composer and author, born at Meeder, near Coburg, Feb. 22, 1749, died in Gottingen, March 17, 1818. He was more distinguished as a writer upon musical subjects than as a composer. His musical works were numerous, and chiefly valuable in that they have preserved many excellent compositions of the older masters, carefully edited and enriched with added vocal and orchestral parts. At the age of 20 he devoted himself to an exhaustive study of the history of music in various nations and from the earliest times, visiting for that purpose the great libraries of Leipsic, Dresden, Berlin, Halle, and Prague, and collecting many works. The results of these studies were given to the world from time to time in a se-r ries of volumes treating of the theory of music, the general history of music, the music of the Hebrews and Egyptians, a life of Johann Sebastian Bach with a critical notice of his works, etc. Forkel left a great mass of valuable material. He was for nearly 40 years director of music at the university of Gottingen.