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Praetorius, Michael


Church composer and theorist, authority on baroque organ; b. Kreuzberg (Thuringia), Germany, Feb. 15, 1571; d. Wolfenbüttel, Feb. 15, 1621. His full name was Michael Hieronymus Schultheiss, of which surname Praetorius is the Latin form. He was the son of a Protestant minister, and was at one time prior of Ringelheim Abbey (in Protestant possession 15701643), but resigned to devote himself to music. From 1612 until his death he was Kapellmeister in Wolfenbüttel. Praetorius published many oversized collections of his church music, much of it based on German chorale tunes, developed in the new Italian concertato style. Among these collections are the Musae Sioniae (1,244 settings in 16v.; 160510); Musarum Sioniarum (1607); Eulogodia Sionia (60 motets "for the conclusion of worship";1611); Hymnodia Sionia (1611); and Kleine und Grosse Litanie (1613). His great theoretical work is the Syntagma Musicum. Of its published volumes the first is a (Latin) treatise on ancient church music (1615); the second, with its illustrated appendix, is a primary reference on baroque instruments, particularly the organ [1620; tr. from German by H. Blumenfeld (St. Louis 1949)]; the third, a treatise on contemporary secular music.

Bibliography: m. praetorius, Gesamtausgabe der musikalischen Werke, ed. f. blume et al., 21 v. in 22 (Wolfenbüttel 192860). f. blume, Michael Praetorius Creuzbergensis (Wolfenbüttel 1929). a. forchert, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. f. blume (Kassel-Basel 1949) 10:156072. m. f. bukofzer, Music in the Baroque Era (New York 1947). w. blankenburg, "Michael Praetorius" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 15, ed. s. sadie (New York 1980) 188192. s. heavens and e. segerman, "Praetorius' Brass Instruments and Cammerthon, " Fellowship of Makers and Researchers of Historical Instruments Bulletins 78 (1995) 5459. g. lyndon-jones, "Praetorius' Keyless Curtals," Fellowship of Makers and Researchers of Historical Instruments Bulletins 74 (1994) 2629. e. segerman, "On Praetorius and English Viol Pitches," Chelys 17 (1988) 2427; "On Praetorius and the sizes of Renaissance bowed instruments," Fellowship of Makers and Researchers of Historical Instruments Bulletins 89 (1997) 4052; "Praetorius's Cammerthon Pitch Standard," The Galpin Society Journal 50 (1997) 81108.

[w. c. holmes]

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