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Michael Praetorius

Michael Praetorius

Michael Praetorius (probably February 15, 1571 – February 15, 1621) was a German

  • Free scores by Michael Praetorius in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
  • Free scores by Michael Praetorius at the International Music Score Library Project
  • Michael Praetorius, biography on Goldberg, the Early Music Portal.
  • Michael Pratorius - facsimiles in The Royal Library, Copenhagen
  • Listen to free Vocal Evangelical Church Music by Michael Praetorius at "Early Vocal Music Map" from Umeå Akademiska Kör.
  • More free scores
  • Works by or about Michael Praetorius at Internet Archive
  • Works by Michael Praetorius at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)

External links

  • Denis Arnold (editor), (1983), New Oxford Companion to Music, Oxford University Press. (Article by editor.)
  • Quentin Faulkner (translator and editor), (2014) Syntagma Musicum II: De Organographia, Parts III – V with Index (Wolfenbüttel, 1619) Zea Books
  • Jeffery T. Kite-Powell (translator and editor), (2004) Syntagma Musicum III: Termini musici (Wolfenbüttel, 1619) Oxford University Press.
  • Stephan Perreau (1996). Liner notes to Praetorius: Dances from Terpsichore. Naxos 8.553865.
  1. ^ Walter Blankenburg and Clytus Gottwald. "Praetorius, Michael." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed September 11, 2011)
  2. ^ a b c "Michael Praetorius", The Kennedy Center
  3. ^
  4. ^ Historical Notes, and additional English versions, from The Hymns and Carols of Christmas
  5. ^ George J. Buelow, “Symposium on Seventeenth-Century Music Theory: Germany”, Journal of Music Theory16 (1972): 36–49.
  6. ^ Hermann Keller, Schule des Generalbass-Spiels (1931); appeared in English translation, by Carl Parrish, as Thoroughbass Method (1965).
  7. ^ Facsimile edition, edited by Wilibald Gurlitt, published by Bärenreiter in 1959.
  8. ^ See the translation of the first two parts of this volume, by David Z. Crookes, published by Oxford University Press in 1986.


Praetorius wrote in a florid style, replete with long asides, polemics, and word-puzzles – all typical of 17th-century scholarly prose. As a lifelong committed Christian, he often regretted not taking holy orders but did write several theological tracts, which are now lost. As a Lutheran from a militantly Protestant family, he contributed greatly to the development of the vernacular liturgy, but also favored Italian compositional methods, performance practice and figured-bass notation.

, 1620) consisted of 42 beautifully drawn woodcuts, depicting instruments of the early 17th century, all grouped in families and shown to scale. A fourth volume on composition was planned, with the help of Baryphonus, but was left incomplete at his death. Theatrum Instrumentorum seu Sciagraphia, 1618), also in German, regarded the genres of composition and the technical essentials for professional musicians. An appendix to the second volume (Termini Musicali The third ([8] His expansive but incomplete treatise,

Praetorius was the greatest musical academic of his day and the Germanic writer of music best known to other 17th-century musicians.[5] Although his original theoretical contributions were relatively few, with nowhere near the long-range impact of other 17th-century German writers, like Johannes Lippius, Christoph Bernhard or Joachim Burmeister, he compiled an encyclopedic record of contemporary musical practices. While Praetorius made some refinements to figured-bass practice[6] and to tuning practice, his importance to scholars of the 17th century derives from his discussions of the normal use of instruments and voices in ensembles, the standard pitch of the time, and the state of modal, metrical, and fugal theory. His meticulous documentation of 17th-century practice was of inestimable value to the early-music revival of the 20th century.

Musical writings

The familiar harmonization of Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming) was written by Praetorius in 1609.[4]

Many of Praetorius' choral compositions were scored for several mini-choirs situated in several locations in the church for multi-phonic effect, with the conductor standing in the center of the church, visible to all the mini-choirs.[3]

Praetorius was a prolific composer; his compositions show the influence of Italian composers and his younger contemporary Heinrich Schütz. His works include the nine volume Musae Sioniae (1605–10), a collection of more than twelve hundred (ca. 1244) chorale and song arrangements; many other works for the Lutheran church; and Terpsichore (1612), a compendium of more than 300 instrumental dances, which is both his most widely known work, and his sole surviving secular work.

An illustration of several musical instruments from Syntagma Musicum


His family name in German appears in various forms including Schultze, Schulte, Schultheiss, Schulz and Schulteis. Praetorius was the conventional Latinized form of this family name.[2]


Michael Praetorius died on his 50th birthday, in Marienkirche there.

When the duke died in 1613 and was succeeded by Dresden, where he was responsible for festive music. He was exposed to the latest Italian music, including the polychoral works of the Venetian School. His subsequent development of the form of the chorale concerto, particularly the polychoral variety, resulted directly from his familiarity with the music of such Venetians as Giovanni Gabrieli. The solo-voice, polychoral, and instrumental compositions Praetorius prepared for these events mark the high period of his artistic creativity. Until his death, Praetorius stayed at the court in Dresden, where he was declared Kapellmeister von Haus aus and worked with Heinrich Schütz.

These "modern" pieces mark the end of his middle creative period. The nine parts of his Musae Sioniae (1605–10) and the 1611 published collections of liturgical music (masses, hymns, magnificats) follow the German Protestant chorale style. With these, at the behest of a circle of orthodox Lutherans, he followed the Duchess Elizabeth, who ruled the duchy in the duke's absence. In place of popular music, one now expected religious music from Praetorius.

His first compositions appeared around 1602/3. Their publication primarily reflects the care for music at the court of Gröningen. The motets of this collection were the first in Germany to make use of the new Italian performance practices; as a result, they established him as a proficient composer.

He was born Michael Schultze, the youngest son of a Lutheran pastor, in Kapellmeister.[2]



  • Life 1
  • Name 2
  • Works 3
  • Musical writings 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

. Catholics and Protestants, many of which reflect an effort to improve the relationship between hymns Protestant He was one of the most versatile composers of his age, being particularly significant in the development of musical forms based on [1]

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