Music in 17thc. GERMANY 

Michael PRAETORIUS, 1571-1621, organist, composer of church music, and Terpsichore – a collection of over 300 instrumental dances – his most widely known secular work. Praetorius worked primarily at the court in Dresden, where he was declared Kapellmeister von Haus aus, and worked with his younger contemporary, Heinrich Schutz. The expansive treatise, Syntagma Musicum by Praetorius appeared in three volumes between 1614 and 1620. The second volume De Organographia, 1618, includes woodcuts depicting instruments of the early 17th century, all grouped in families and shown to scale.

Dances from Terpsichore, 1612:

=Heinrich SCHUTZ, 1585 -1672, composer & organist, is generally regarded as one of the the most important composers of the 17th century. He was a student of Gabrielli in Italy, and is credited with bringing the Italian style to Germany and continuing its evolution from the Renaissance into the Early Baroque. He wrote what is traditionally considered to be the first German opera Dafne, 1627, the music of which has since been lost, along with nearly all of his ceremonial and theatrical scores and instrumental music.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE, 1637-1707, Danish-German organist & composer of a wide variety of vocal and instrumental idioms, especially works for organ. His style strongly influenced many composers, including J S Bach who, in 1705, famously walked some 250 miles from Arnstadt to Lübeck to meet Buxtehude, hear him play, and, as Bach explained, “to comprehend one thing and another about his art”. 

Toccata in F major

Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER, 1644 -1704, violinist, and one of the most important composers for the violin in the baroque period. His technique allowed him to easily reach the 6th and 7th positions, employ multiple stops in intricate polyphonic passages, and explore the various possibilities of *scordatura tunings. He also wrote one of the earliest known pieces for solo violin, the monumentalPassacaglia from his Mysteries of the Rosary sonatas for violin & continuo, 1676. In Battalia, Biber uses a number of innovative instrumental techniques to depict aspects of the battle – pulling the strings of cello & bass away from the fingerboard and allowing them to slap back against the fingerboard to depict cannon fire, and placing paper between double bass strings and fingerboard, and hitting a string with the bow stick to depict a military side-drum.

Johann PACHELBEL,1653-1706, composed a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the  choral prelude, and fugue have earned him a place among the most important composers of the middle Baroque era. Like Buxtehude, Pachelbel experimented with different ensembles and instrumental combinations in his chamber and vocal music.Today he is best known for his  Canon and Gigue in D for 3 violins & basso continuo. Pachelbels’s son, Theodore, organist, harpsichordist, & composer, emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1733 and settled in Charleston, North Carolina in 1736 – one of the first European composers to take up residence in the American Colonies. 

17th c. German Inventions & Discoveries 

The first newspaper: Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien – was published by Johann Carolus in Strasbourg, 1605. 

Hans Lippershey, spectacle maker, patented the refracting telescope,1608.

Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion, based on his treatise Astronomia Nova, 1609.

Invention of tinsel made from shredded strips of silver, c. 1610. 

The decahydrate of sodium sulfate, known as Glauber’s salt, was discovered it in 1625. 

Otto von Guericke, scientist, inventor, and politician, invented the first vacuum pump,1654, an electrostatic generator, 1660. In 1663 he pieced     together bones from different species in a valiant effort to make a fossil ‘unicorn’

The first cuckoo clocks were made in Furtwangen, Germany, in the Black Forest region, in 1660.

Jan Baptist van Helmont, in his treatise Oriatrike or Physick Refined,1662, determined that the digestion of food was aided by a     chemical reagent, or ‘ferment’ (enzyme) within the body, such as inside the stomach – not by body heat as previously believed.

According to a folklore, the candy cane was invented by the choirmaster of Cologne cathedral, 1670.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, mathematician, philosopher, & polymath, invented a calculating machine, 1674, and calculus, & integral symbol, 1675.

The Easter Bunny (Easter Hare) originated in Germany, 1682. Its original role (Lutheran church) was to judge whether children were good or     disobedient in behavior at the start of the season of Eastertide.

Scordatura: tuning of a stringed instrument different from the normal, standard tuning. It typically allows special effects or unusual chords or timbre, or makes certain passages easier to play. Biber made use of scordatura tuning in his Rosary Sonatas, and Pachelbel used several different scordatura tunings in his Musical Entertainment consisting of Six Suites for Mistuned Violins, 1691.

-Richard Webb