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

Johannes Galliculus (Composer, Thomaskantor)

Born: c1490 - Dresden?, Saxony, Germany
Died: c1550 - Leipzig?, Saxony, Germany

Johannes [Joannes] Galliculus [Alectorius; Galliculus is probably a Latinised form of the German Hähnel, Hähnlein, Hahnel, or Hennel], was theoretical writer and composer, who lived in Leipzig about 1520. He is thought to have held some scholastic post. He was Kantor at Thomaskirche from 1520 to 1525.

Galliculus' theoretical work, the his successful counterpoint treatise, was first entitled Isagoge de compositione cantus (Leipzig, 1520), and was dedicated to Georg Rhau, who was then Kantor at Thomaskirche in Leipzig. Galliculus became closely allied to the Wittenberg Church through his friend Georg Rhau, who included many works by Galliculus in the collections he published for the new church. By Rhau Isagoge was afterwards frequently published at Wittenberg from 1538 onwards under the title Libellus de compositione cantus. It is Galliculus who tells us of Rhau's composition of a Mass a 12 on occasion of the Disputation between Martin Luther and Eck at Leipzig in 1519. He also expresses the opinion, which has been practically adopted in later times, that choral compositions for four voices are the best; that bass, tenor, alto and soprano are sufficient for all purposes, and that every additional voice-part is so far superfluous, as wanting a definite compass.

Galliculus' compositions, all sacred, consist of :

1. A Passion according to St. Mark (In Rhau's Harmoniae De De Paasione Domine, 1538).
2. Some liturgical pieces for Easter and Christmas (in Rhau's Offcia paschalia, 1539 and De Nativitate, 1543), including 9 Motets.
3. Two (or three) Magnificats (Rhau's Vesperarum officia, 1540-1545).
4. Psalm II, Quare fremuerunt a 4 (Ott, 1537)

Jacobus Hobrecht, or Obrecht (1450-1505), was the first composer, so far as is known, who presented the subject in the form of an extended motet, a departure which laid the foundation for a rich and varied literature of passion music. The passion texts seemed to have particular attraction for many of the composers who cast their lot with the Reformation. For a considerable period they adhered in their manner of treatment to the original Catholic model, inasmuch as they used the Latin text and retained the liturgical melodies. Galliculus' Passion Music, resembles Obrecht's in many ways, which constitutes the beginning of a long series of works important not only as music, but more particularly on account of the rôle they played in the development of Protestant worship.

For a further account of the Passion Music see Otto Kade, Die ältere Passionscompositionen (1893). The part of the Evangelist is set in the simple Church Recitative; the other parts are mostly a 4, some a 2. Kade praises highly the contrapuntal art and melodic expressiveness of Galliculus.


Source: Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1952 Edition, by J.R. Milne); Grove Concise Dictionary of Music (© 1994 by Oxford University Press); Catholic Encyclopedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2005)

Thomaskantors: Thomanerchor Leipzig | Gewandhausorchester Leipzig | General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Easter Mass, containing melodic and textual materials from Christ ist erstanden

Christ ist erstanden


Links to other Sites

HOASM: Johannes Galliculus (Hennel)

Catholic Encyclopedia: Passion Music



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: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 23:30