Personalities | Michael Praetorius | Renaissance | Classical

(Mekh’-a-el Pri-tô’-re-oos) c. 1571–1621
German composer and theorist

Born into a strict Lutheran household, Praetorius became one of the greatest and most prolific early composers in the Protestant tradition. He composed over 1,000 sacred works – mostly hymns based on Lutheran chorales, but also German psalm settings and some Latin-texted works. Today, however, Praetorius is best known for his Syntagma musicum (‘Musical Survey’, 1614–20), a three-volume work. The most important section is the second book, ‘De organographia’, a detailed discussion of the instruments of his day, illustrated with beautiful and intricately detailed woodcuts, providing evidence about the construction and nomenclature of the instruments of the period.

Recommended Recording:
Dances from Terpsichore, Motets, Early Music Consort of London (dir) David Munrow (Virgin/Erato)

Sounds Familiar

‘In Dulci Jubilo’
The melody of this popular Christmas carol, also known by the English title ‘Good Christian Men Rejoice’, was already being sung in the Middle Ages. Among today’s harmonizations is one by the Renaissance composer and music theorist Michael Praetorius.

Introduction | Renaissance | Classical
Personalities | Cipriano de Rore | Renaissance | Classical


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.