The Frances Densmore Prize
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 prize consists of the sum of $500 and a certificate, and the winner is announced at the Society's annual meeting and in the Society's Newsletter. Nominations (including self-nominations) and copies of the publication nominated should be submitted by November 15.
Rachel Beckles Willson
The 2021 Densmore Prize goes to Rachel Beckles Willson for the article "Orientation through Instruments: The ʿūd, the Palestinian Home, and Kamīlyā Jubrān" in the world of music (new series), vol. 8, no. 1, 2019.
This article is a compelling and sophisticated account of the role played by the ‘ūd in constructing and complicating notions of home. The author provides a richly nuanced consideration, from multiple perspectives, of this most iconic of Arab instruments, demonstrating how it becomes an ‘orientation device’ both for herself and others in relation to conceptions of place and space, and how these become infused – or not – with notions of home.
Jaime E. Oliver La Rosa
“‘A Museum of Its Own’ – The Musical Instrument Collection of Antonio Guatier (1825-1904) in Nice," Galpin Society Journal, Volume LXX, 2017
“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, March 2015
“The Musical Instrument as National Archive: A Case Study of the Kazakh Qyl-qobyz” Ethnomusicology, Fall 2014 (58/3)
Lance Whitehead and Jenny Nex
“The Insurance of Musical London and the Sun Fire Office 1710-1779” The Galpin Society Journal LXVII (2014)
“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.