Praetorius, Michael



German composer and writer; born at Kreuzburg, Thuringia. His first position was chapelmaster at Lüneburg. In 1604 he became organist to the Duke of Brunswick, who later made him chapelmaster and secretary. Praetorius was also Prior of the Monastery of Ringelheim, near Gozlar, but did not spend all his time there. He died on his fiftieth birthday, at Wolfenbüttel. He left a great mass of compositions, among them Musae Sioniae, in nine parts, some in Latin, the rest in German, including one thousand two hundred and fortyfour pieces parts 1-4, concert pieces, arranged from German sacred music; another part, songs and psalms; and four parts, church songs, written in strict counterpoint; Musarum Sioniarum, consisting of eight volumes of motets and psalms; Kleine und Grosse Litanei; Eulogodia Sionia, sixty motets; Missodia Sionia; Hymnodia Sionia, six volumes of hymns; and Megalynodia, six volumes of madrigals and motets; and nine volumes of secular music, two entitled Terpsichore, two Calliope, two Thalia, and one each Erato, Diana Teutonica, and Regensburgische Echo, collected under the general title of Musa Aonia. His catalog of works is found at the end of Syntagma Musician, a rare and valuable treatise, for which his name is now known. It was planned to be a complete encyclopedia of the art and practise of music, in four volumes, but death prevented the completion of the last one, which was to have been on counterpoint. Vol. I is devoted to ecclesiastical music, its use in different churches, the mass, and other forms of vocal music, as well as instrumental church-music, and the origin, structure, and use of the art of music and secular musical instruments. Vol. II, called Organpgraphia, deals with the instruments in use during the Seventeenth Century, especially the organ. Vol. Ill has three sections treating of the theory of music. The appendix of forty-two wood-cuts illustrates the instruments spoken of in Vol. II.