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Cultures of Music Print in Hamburg, ca. 1550-1630


This dissertation investigates the intersections of music, print, devotion, and city culture in Hamburg around 1600, a period of general prosperity for the city that also saw a new flourishing of the print industry throughout Germany. The time period under consideration begins with the debut of printed Lutheran hymnals in Hamburg at mid-century, and culminates in the career of Hieronymus Praetorius (1560-1629), whose publications of sacred polyphony were among the first of their kind in the North. Hamburg is chosen not only because of its prominence as a musical center, but also because of its autonomous political position as a Hanseatic city, which distinctly influenced the cultural climate in which this music originated.

Combining methodologies of cultural history and the sociology of texts with traditional methods of musical and textual analysis, I link the upsurge of Hamburg's musical cultures around 1600 to the contemporary flowering of print and the book in the German-speaking lands. Musical books - hymnals, liturgical compendia, printed collections of vocal polyphony, and pamphlets containing occasional motets - took part in larger cultural programs of devotional education, both in the humanistic climate of the Latin school and in vernacular Protestant lay culture. At the same time, these works and the music they contained were integral expressions of a Hanseatic civic culture that exulted in autonomy, yet freely adopted aristocratic modes of representation and ceremonial. The printed vocal works of Hieronymus Praetorius and his son Jacob Praetorius (1586-1651) take center stage in my investigation, both because of the instrumental role of these composers in the musical life of Hamburg around 1600 and because of their legacies in musical print. In particular, case studies of Hieronymus's three motet collections (Cantiones sacrae, 1599, 1607, and 1622; Cantiones variae, 1618; Cantiones novae officiosae, 1625) and Jacob Praetorius's individually printed wedding motets (1601-1635) delineate essential characteristics of the function of the motet in early modern North Germany. Taking surviving imprints as its starting point, then, this study essays a cultural history of music in Hamburg, offering a new perspective on one of North Germany's leading musical cities at a pivotal period.

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