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Michael Praetorius Biography

Michael Praetorius

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Born: 1571. Died: 1621. Lived in: Germany

Michael Praetorius was the son of Michael Schultze (Praetorius being a Latinization of the name). At an early age Praetorius attended the University of Frankfurt a. O., his brother supporting him.

When his brother died, Praetorius became organist at Frankfurt and later held the same post at Luneburg. In this latter town Pratorius began his career as Kapellmeieter. In 1604 he entered the service of the Duke of Brunswick at Wolfenbuttel, first as organist, later as "kapellmeister" and secretary. He was appointed honorary prior of the Ringelheim Monastery near Goslar, but without compulsion to reside there.

Praetorius had become famous as composer of church music, among which should be mentioned the mammoth edition of over twelve hundred songs. He began to write a complete encyclopedia of the art and practice of music, of which he finished three volumes with the title Syntagma Musicum. The second volume of this work is the most elaborate and valuable of all treatises on instruments and instrumental music in the 16th century. It is considered one of the most remarkable examples of musical scholarship in existance. Among his other titles were Musae Sioniae published in nine parts and Hymnodia Sionae. He ranks high as a writer and also as a composer of church melodies.


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