Heinrich Scheidemann's Keyboard Music: Transmission, Style and Chronology, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Heinrich Scheidemann's Keyboard Music

Transmission, Style and Chronology, 1st Edition

By Pieter Dirksen


280 pages

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One of the most remarkable tales of recent resurrections in the field of early keyboard music concerns the music of Heinrich Scheidemann (c. 1595-1663). Long considered a minor master overshadowed by such figures as his teacher Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck or his fellow student Samuel Scheidt, a number of major source discoveries made in the second half of the twentieth century - the most important one being the discovery of the Zellerfield tablatures - have gradually raised his stature towards what it should now be, namely that of the paramount figure in North German organ music of the first half of the seventeenth century, equalled only by Buxtehude in the second half. Pieter Dirksen, one of the leading scholars on early German keyboard music, shows how Scheidemann was a central personality in the rich musical life of Hamburg and stood on friendly terms with colleagues such as Jacob and Johannes Praetorius, Ulrich Cernitz, Thomas Selle, Johann Schop and Johann Rist. The sources for Scheidemann are for the most part contemporary and stem from all periods of his career, and beyond that until one or two decades after his death. His keyboard music was never published in his lifetime but circulated widely within professional circles. Dirksen considers the transmission of Scheidemann's music as a whole in Part One, where each source is analyzed individually, and the repertoire itself is examined in Part Two. A number of specialized studies, including a detailed investigation into the background of one of the sources as well as adressing questions of organology (an account of the famous Catharinen organ as it was during Scheidemann's era) and performance practice (a study of the fingering indications and observations on registration practice) form Part Three. A wealth of appendices also detail a relative chronology of the music; a geographic overview of the transmission and two hitherto unpublished, fragmentarily transmitted Scheidemann pieces. The book will therefore a


'This is an excellent book, whose argument is well arranged [and] well written…' Early Music Review ’This book is a welcome addition to sources about early seventeenth-century keyboard literature and Heinrich Scheidemann's music in particular. It is meticulously researched and organized, and well-written in a style in which very technical information can be clearly understood. The charts and lists of compositions are invaluable for any student of keyboard literature… a major source in the English language.’ Renaissance Quarterly ’The aim of this book is […] that Heinrich Scheidemann should be regarded as 'the paramount figure in North German organ music of the first half of the seventeenth century, equalled only by Buxtehude in the second half'. That the book does indeed put forward persuasive arguments in favour of this assertion is testimony to the author's skilfully applied, and impressively extensive research methodology, and his painstaking collation and evaluation of evidence.’ The Consort ’… highly recommended for the library of any university, college, or conservatory that cares about early keyboard music. It is an exemplar of through-going scholarship relative to an important keyboard composer about whose work little has heretofore been written, and contains nuggets of real gold for the scholar seeking greater understanding of the music of Scheidemann's milieu.’ The American Organist ’Peter Dirksen's fine study … is a welcome addition to the literature on the Hamburg composer… As one might expect, a labyrinthine study such as this can make for demanding reading, but the author greatly facilitates the reader's task with a lavish supply of tables, examples and figures, and the helpful appendices include a tentative chronological classification of Scheidemann's works, a map of the north German region showing places associated with different manuscripts and musicians, and two fragmentary works from the Zellerfeld Tablature Ze2.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction. Part One The Sources: Early sources [i]: the Wolfenbüttel autographs; Early sources [ii]: the 'Sweelinck' sources; Middle-period sources [i]: the Zellerfeld tablatures; Middle-period sources [ii]; Late sources: Lüneburg, Pelplin and the 'clavier' anthologies; The dates found in the sources. Part Two Chronology: Toccatas and 'free' imitative pieces; Harpsichord variations and dances; Praeambula and praeludiae; Chorale cycles; Chorale fantasias and Magnificat cycles; Intabulations; Scheidemann's development as a keyboard composer. Part Three Special Studies: More on the Düben tablature and its background; Scheidemann's 'kunstreiche Manuduction auf dem Clavier': fingering in the Scheidemann sources; Ulf Grapenthin: the Catharinen organ during Scheidemann's tenure; Scheidemann in Otterndorf: registration practice; Appendices; Bibliography; Indexes.

About the Author

Pieter Dirksen completed his doctorate in musicology 'cum laude' in 1996 and has published widely on baroque keyboard music. He performs as a soloist on both harpsichord and organ as a continuo player with various chamber ensembles and orchestras.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General