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Cecil Effinger manuscripts and personal papers

Identifier: CoU-AMRC-35

Scope and Contents

Papers of Cecil Effinger (1914-1990), composer, inventor, professor of Music at Colorado College (1936-41, 1946-48) and the University of Colorado (1948-1981), Denver Post music editor (1946-1948), Denver Symphony principal oboist (1938-1941), director of 506th Army Band (1941-1945), including manuscript and published scores and parts; unpublished works, especially three operas; music sketchbooks; photographs; programs; correspondence; finanical and army records; publications; two MusicWriters; and audio recordings of the works of Cecil Effinger. Includes papers and compositions of Effinger's father, Stanley S. Effinger.


  • Creation: 1914-1990


The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the American Music Research Center.

Biography of Cecil Effinger

Cecil Effinger was a noted choral composer, music professor and inventor. Mr. Effinger was born in Colorado Springs, Co., July 22, 1914. His father, Stanley S. Effinger, was also a composer and teacher. As a child Cecil studied the violin and the oboe. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Colorado College in mathematics, although music composition was his consuming interest during his college years.

He studied music privately with Bernard Wagenaar in Colorado in 1937, and with Nadia Boulanger at the American Conservatory, in Fontainebleau, France. He later taught composition at the American University in Biarritz, France, from 1945 to 1946. He taught composition and theory at Colorado College and the Colorado School for the Blind in 1930’s and 1940’s. He was oboist in the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra from 1932 to 1941 and was first oboe of the Denver Symphony from 1938 to 1941. During World War II, Effinger directed the 506th Army band.

After World War II, Mr. Effinger returned to Colorado College and was the music editor for the Denver Post from 1946 to 1948. In 1948, he became the chairman of the composition and theory department at the University of Colorado, in Boulder. He retired in 1981, but remained the university’s composer in residence until 1984 and continued as a member of its advisory board.

Cecil Effinger was also a renowned inventor. In 1954, he invented the Music writer, or musical typewriter which sold around the world. The most widely used invention was the tempo watch in 1969. Essentially a stopwatch, it allows musicians to determine the tempo during rehearsal or performance. Also, in 19174, Mr. Effinger produced an open-ended typewriter to be used for architectural drawings and other large documents.

He died in Boulder, Co., on December 22, 1990.


116 linear feet

Language of Materials



Music is arranged by genre and then alphabetically; correspondence, programs, reviews are organized alphabetically; tapes and recordings are arranged by title.

Physical Location

Housed in the American Music Research Center

The Cecil Effinger music and personal papers, 1914-1990
An inventory of holdings at the American Music Research Center
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written inEnglish.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States