Michael Praetorius (1571-1621)

A German composer and theorist, devoted himself extensively to the writing of Lutheran choral works.  His most important contribution to music history was made in his three-volume treatise, "Syntagma musicum" (Musical Encyclopedia) between 1615 and 1618.  The first volume, written in Latin, deals with ancient church music and secular instruments.  The second, in German, is an exhaustive treatise on the instruments of the Baroque period and is the most important source of information concerning instruments of the early Baroque.  Forty-two woodcuts depicting the principal instruments add to its importance.  The third volume contains accounts of secular music.  His writings are among the most valuable treatises on music written during the Baroque period.  Reprints of the second and third volumes were made in 1929 and 1916, respectively.