(b Prague, 21 Aug 1922). Czech musicologist. While still at secondary school he graduated as a pianist from Prague Conservatory and later attended the master classes of Václav Štěpán (1943) and Ilona Štěpánová-Kurzová (1947). After the reopening of the Czech universities, he studied philosophy and aesthetics at Prague University (1945–8), where he obtained the doctorate with a dissertation on Masaryk and historical materialism. During his university studies he abandoned his piano career and devoted himself to cultural-political activity and to music criticism. After 1948 he helped to re-establish Czech musical life according to Marxist cultural-political principles: he acted as temporary head of the Czech radio programme department (1950–52), and then as one of the leading personalities of the Czechoslovak Composers’ Union became chief editor of the union’s journal, Hudební rozhledy (1953–60). About the same time he devoted more of his time to musicology, first in the Cabinet for the Study of the Works of Zdeněk Nejedlý and later (after 1962) in the newly formed musicology institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences. He was head of this institute until 1972, when he returned to the Nejedlý Cabinet. From 1961 to 1971 he was chief editor of the academy’s journal, Hudební věda, and was a part-time lecturer at the musicology department of Prague University. His teaching was limited by the fall of Dubček and its political consequences: he worked at the Institute for Czech Literature from 1972, and only in 1982 was he allowed to return to music teaching and musicological work, at the Institute for the Theory and History of Music (1982–4). He also became lecturer (1982) and professor (1990) at the Academy of Musical Arts, and in 1992 he was made professor of musicology at Olomouc University.
Jiranek established himself as a leading Czechoslovak Marxist-orientated musicologist, specializing in the methodology of musicology and in the history of Czech music of the 19th and 20th centuries. He has studied the music of composers including Fibich, Janáček and Smetana; he is editor-in-chief of the series Dílo a život Bedřicha Smetany (Prague, 1978–) and has contributed to the complete edition of Fibich’s works. He has also worked intensively on semantics and semiotics, and the development and systemization of the Intonatsiya theory of the Soviet scholar Boris Asaf'yev and in 1966 he obtained the DSc, with a work on the genesis and significance of Asaf'yev’s theory.