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.