Germany Music Part 4

Germany Music Part 4

Apart from these lively musical currents, mention should be made of the singular use of the German humanists, consisting in the composition of music on ancient odes and on tragedy choirs, note against note, for scholastic purposes (for scanning) and also for serve the representations given by pupils (authors: P. Tritonius, L. Senfl, P. Hofhaimer, B. Ducis).

According to, the Reformation also had great importance for music. Passionate about music was Luther himself, who, not unaware of song and composition, must have probably been the author of those melodies of his religious songs which appear for the first time in Wittenberg; we mention Ein festa Burg ist unser GottAus tiefer Not schrei ich zu DirVom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, melodies without which cantatas, passions could not have been bornnor Bach’s organ fantasies. Luther, who in Rome had exalted himself for Josquin Des Prés and in Munich for Senfl, placed music alongside theology in his famous prefaces to choral books. He was responsible for the institution and form of the Mass sung in German (Formula Missae et Communionis, 1523, Die deutsche Messe, 1526) and a new function given to singing in the liturgy (main sources: the Wittenbergisches Sangbüchlein a 4-5 voices, by J. Walter, cantor in Torgau, 1524). It is useful to remember, with regard to the diffusion of the new musical spirit, that the so-called wittenbergische Psälmlein they went as far as Hungary and the Scandinavian countries. Another important collection of motets on evangelical songs, also including works by masters from southern Germany (L. Senfl, S. Dietrich in Constance, B. Resinarius in Böhmisch Leipa (now Česká Lípa), Ducis in Ulm, U. Brätel in Stuttgart), consists of the Lieder für die gemeinen Schulen published by Germany Rhaw in Wittenberg (1544), who was the most important publisher of the early Protestant era, for his remarkable collections of antiphons, responsories, hymns, psalms, magnificat, masses etc. of the Lutheran liturgy.

In the beginning the liturgical melody was entrusted to the tenor, while later in the work of L. Osiander, preacher at the court of Württemberg, he passed to the soprano. At that time the Lutheran church polyphony was reduced to a simple harmonic support, and towards the beginning of the century. XVII could even be entrusted indifferently to the voices or the organ; and certainly there was then a noticeable stiffening of the rhythm in the same choir. But Luther very soon organized the ancient choirs of the chapels in societies of civic and country singers, thereby creating the ground for a flowering of music, in Saxony and Thuringia, from which Schütz, Bach and Handel could then emerge. The use of figurative chant gave the counterpoint great possibilities of adapting to the most diverse needs of the liturgy, and even the passages of the Gospel were thus composed in the form of grandiose motets (O. Herpol,

Far less favorable were the conditions created for music by the so-called Reformed (Zwingli, Calvino, etc.) who at first even abolished the use of the organ and that of polyphony, treating it as an “old abuse of the church”, and did not want to, in their anti-artistic puritanism, leave to the community other than simple psalms. Their only songbook was the psalter of Marot and Beza, with the melodies of C. Goudimel. But later this intransigence eased somewhat.

Meanwhile, during the century. XVI was taking place a vigorous rise of instrumental music. Methods began to be published on the same technique of the instruments: those of S. Virdung, M. Agricola (in burlesque verses) and M. Praetorius are famous. Hofhaimer’s pupils illustrated themselves among the organists: H. Buchner in Constance, H. Kotter in Basel and Bern, Brumann in Speyer, H. Oyart in Torgau, W. Grefinger in Passau; this was the typical school of elegant ornamentation, which towards 1590 was replaced by the so-called Passaggisti: NE Ammerbach in Leipzig, B. Schmidt in Strasbourg, J. Paix in Augusta. Around 1590 the typical organ style of the Chapel of S. Marco brought the victory over the others (German exponents of this style were HL Hassler, JH Schein, C. Erbach), and then, towards 1620, giving way to a new northern coloristic current to which JP Sweelink’s pupils belonged: S. Scheidt, M. Schild, P. Siefert. In the art of the lute they excelled: in Vienna, around 1520, the Swabian H. Judenkünig; in Nuremberg, about 1530, H. Gerle; in Augusta, around 1540, the Neusiedler family; to which masters followed numerous other and expert composers for their instrument. From their small town of Füssen on the Lech the Tiefenbrucker family supplied Europe with lutes as the Cremonese masters did for violins. The trumpets of H. Neuschel of Nuremberg and the wind instruments (woodwinds) of Swabia were sought after. As for the organs, between the Germans and the Italians there was a notable difference: while the Italians sought a set of closed sounds such as to produce the

Germany Music 04

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