Music ETDs

Publication Date



This thesis presents transcriptions into modern notation of a group of organ Magnificats and organ hymns contained in an early seventeenth-century manuscript of liturgical keyboard music which belongs to the Library of the Cathedral Chapter, Visby, Sweden. The principal objective of this thesis is to present in modern notation, compositions of Hieronymous Praetorius, Jacobus Praetorius and Johann Bahr. Heretofore, these organ works have been accessible only in their original manuscript form, written in the obsolete ‘new German organ tablature.’ New German organ tablature was the type of notation used in Germany from the middle of the sixteenth-century through most of the Baroque era. It consists of letters of the German alphabet, indicating pitch, and rhythmical signs placed over each letter or group of letters. There must be a reduction of these rhythmical signs by half in order for the compositions to be rendered correctly. One of the major problems in transcribing this taplature was the matter of deciphering, interpreting and editing. The Appendix lists places in the manuscript where negligence and carelessness on the part of the composer, scribe, or keeper of the manuscript have necessitated the reconstruction of certain passages. Points of interest, both musically and technically, are also cited in the Appendix. Probably the most perplexing aspect of the manuscript is the use of what are thought to be signs and symbols indicating ornamental embellishments. No explanation for the interpretation or execution of these signs and symbols was offered by the composer or scribe, and there are no comtemporary sources which deal with this problem. The importance of a project of this nature is that the music may now be stylistically and analytically studied and evaluated for more detailed knowledge of the era in which it was written. Also, it adds to the limited quantity of music available in modern notation of somewhat obscure composers. It may be assumed that the music was originally written to be performed--there is no longer any need for it to remain unheard.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Music

First Committee Member (Chair)

Walter Burrous Keller

Second Committee Member

Hugh Milton Miller

Third Committee Member

Wesley Thomas Selby



Document Type


Included in

Music Commons