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Cyriakus Schneegaß (Composer, Music Thoerist, Hymn-Writer)

Born: October 5, 1546 - Bufleben, near Gotha, Thuringia, Germany
Died: October 23, 1597 - Friedrichroda, Germany

Cyriacus [Cyriak] Schneegass [Snegassius] was a German theorist and composer. He attended the Landeschule at Gotha; the Rektor there was Cyriacus Lindemann, whose daughter he later married. From 1565 he studied theology at the University of Jena, where he came under the influence of Nikolaus Selnecker. He graduated in 1568 with a master's degree. According to Kümmerle, he worked as a schoolmaster and cantor from 1568 to 1573. He became a minister, first at Tambach and then, from 1573 until his death, at Friedrichroda. Between 1583 and his death he issued some 18 publications, most notably in the disciplines of theology and music, which show the wide range of his intellectual and artistic interests. For example, he edited much important source material for the study of the Reformation, including 66 letters from Philipp Melanchthon to Friedrich Myconius. He wrote both the words and music for congregational hymns, many of which were popular throughout Germany (J.S. Bach used his text Das neugeborene Kindlein for the chorale cantata of the same name, bwv122). Many of his prayers and poetic texts arose out of the fear of a Turkish invasion.

In chapter 3 of his Nova & exquisita monochordi dimensio Cyriacus Schneegass argued that the ratio of a tempered 5th ought to be 160:107 (a good approximation of a 5th tempered by 1/4-comma, as Sethus Calvisius perceived), but prescribed also that the diatonic semitone contain 31/4 ‘commas’ and th e chromatic 21/4. By an ingenious geometrical calculation he applied this rule for the semitones and produced a monochord scheme approximating to 2 /9 -comma mean-tone temperament (with major 3rds very slightly larger than pure), though Barbour suggested that he may have confused it with 1/4-comma mean-tone (with pure major 3rds). His conception of the triad as symbolizing the Trinity clearly anticipates Johannes Lippius's Synopsis musicae novae (1612).

Works

Sacred Vocal:
Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen für einfeltige fromme Hertzen zugerichtet (Erfurt, 1597); ed. F. Fulda, Des weiland M. Cyriacus Schneegass Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen (Eskartshaus, 1854)
Texts and melodies in: J. Steuerlein, Epithalamia (
Erfurt, 1587), 27 newe geistliche Gesennge (Erfurt, 1588); J. a Burck, 15 Psalmi graduum (Erfurt, 1595); 40 Weynacht- und Neu-Jahrsmotetten (Erfurt, 1595); Weyhenacht und Neujahrs Gesänge (Erfurt, 1595); 15978: many melodies ed. in Wackernagel and Zahn

Theoretical Works:
Nova & exquisita monochordi dimensio (Erfurt, 1590)
Isagoges musicae libri duo (
Erfurt, 1591)
Isagoges musicae, non ita pridem in lucem editae, methodus (
Erfurt, 1591)
Deutsche Musica für die Kinder und andere so nicht sonderlich Latein verstehen (
Erfurt, 1592)
Preface to J. Steuerlein: 27 newe geistliche Gesennge (
Erfurt, 1588)

 

Source: Grove Music Online, © Oxford University Press 2006, acc. 5/24/06 (Author: E. Fred Flindell)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2003); Thomas Braatz (May 2006)

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 122, BWV 135

Chorale Texts used in Bach’s Vocal Works

Title

Year

EKG

Zahn

Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder, based on Psalm 6

1597

Das neugeborne Kindelein

1597

--

Chorale Melodies used in Bach’s Vocal Works

Title

Year

EKG

Zahn

Das neugeborne Kindelein

1597

--

491

Links to other Sites

   

Bibliography

ADB (A. Schumann) | GerberNL | WaltherML
J.C. Wetzel: Hymnopoeographia, iii (Nuremberg, 1724)
P. Wackernagel : Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der
نltesten Zeit bis zu Anfang des XVII. Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1864–77/R )
J. Zahn: Die Melodien der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder (Gütersloh, 1889–93/R)
S. Kümmerle : Encyklop
نdie der evangelischen Kirchenmusik , iii (Gütersloh, 1894/R)
T. Schneider : ‘Der Friedrichrodaer Pfarrer und Adjunkt M. Cyriacus Schneegass’, Mitteilungen der Vereinigung für gothaische Geschichte und Altertumsforschung (1909-10)
J.M. Barbour : Tuning and Temperament: a Historical Survey (East Lansing, MI, 1951/R , 2/1953)
C. Dahlhaus : ‘Der Dreiklang als Symbol’, Musik und Kirche , xxv (1955), 251-2
C. Dahlhaus : ‘Musiktheoretisches aus dem Nachlass des Sethus Calvisius’, Mf
, ix (1956), 129-39
M. Lindley : ‘Stimmung und Temperatur’, Geschichte der Musiktheorie
, vi: Hِren, Messen und Rechnen in der frühen Neuzeit , ed. F. Zaminer (Darmstadt, 1987), 109–331, esp. 166-8
M. Lindley : ‘An Historical Survey of Meantone Temperaments to 1620’, Early Keyboard Journal, viii (1990), 1-29, esp. 28-9

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Last update: ýOctober 19, 2012 ý09:36:11