Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Bach & Other Composers

Martin Agricola (Composer, Theorist)

Born: c1500 - Sorau, Lower Silesia, Germany
Died: June 10, 1556 - Magdeburg, Germany

Martin [Martinus] Agricola was a German writer on musical theory, whose German name, as he himself tells us, was Sohr, or Sore.

In 1524 we find Martin Agricola teacher and Kantor in the first Protestant school at Magdeburg, and he remained there till his death. The assertion of his biographer Caspar that Agricola reached the age of seventy has misled all following writers as to the date of his birth. In his Musica instrumentalis deudsch, which, notwithstanding its polyglot title is written in German, he states that he had no activum præceptorem for music, but learned the art by himself while constantly occupied as a schoolmaster. That work is remarkable not only for its musical ability but for its German style, which has all the force and flavour of the writings of his contemporary, Martin Luther himself. It was reprinted at Leipzig, 1896. Agricola's chief protector and friend was RhAw, the senator of Wittenberg, renowned in his own day as a printer of music. This excellent man printed many of Agricola's works, of which the following may be named amongst others:

Duo libri murices (1561); Ein kurtz deutsche Musica (1528); Musica instrumentalis deudsch (1529, 1530, 1532, 1542, 1545); Musica figuralis deutsch (1532); Von der proportionibus (c1532); Rudimenta musices (1539).

The list of the rest will be found in Draudius' Bibliotheca Classica, p. 1650; Walther's Lexikon; Marpulrg's Beiträge, voL v.; Forkel's Literature; Gerber's Dictionary; and Q.-L. Mattheson in his Ephorus (p. 124) praises him for having been the first to abolish the 'ancient tablature,' and adopt the system of notation which we still employ. But this is inaccurate. All that Agricola proposed was a new 'tablature ' for the lute, better than the old one. On the conflict between the old and new notation Agricola's writings are full of interest, and they must be studied by every one who wishes to have an accurate view of that revolution.


Source: Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1952 Edition, Author: D. Franz Gehring)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, 4-pt. motet-like setting

Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein


Links to other Sites




Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Bach & Other Composers


Back to the Top

Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 08:25