Sweelinck, Jan Pieter



Son of the organist of the Old Church at Amsterdam. In 1577 he succeeded his father and retained the position until his death. Jacob Buyck, pastor of Old Church, was Jan's teacher. He studied at Venice under Zarlino and Gabrielli. In his vocal music, as well as his organ and clavichord music, he stands not only as an exponent of the strict contrapuntal style of the old school but as a prophet of the freer style of the Seventeenth Century. He is noted chiefly as an organist and founder of the North German School. Sweelinck was one of the earliest writers of instrumental music, and may be considered the originator of the organ fugue. He was the first to employ an independent use of the pedal. His important works are the Psalms; Cantiones sacrae; Rimes frangaises et italiennes; various chansons and wedding songs; organ and clavier-music.