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Peter Holman

(b c1575; bur. Greenwich, July 24, 1651). English composer, string player and instrument maker. He may have been the son of Richard Farrant, Master of the Choristers at St George’s Chapel, Windsor and Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal. A birthdate of about 1575 would make Daniel Farrant a contemporary of John Coprario and Alfonso Ferrabosco II, who John Playford mentioned with Farrant in 1661 as ‘The First Authors of Inventing and Setting Lessons’ for lyra viol. On 23 November 1607 Farrant was given a place in the royal violin band at the court of James I. He is listed as a player of the viol in several documents of 1624 and 1625.

Farrant was an instrument maker as well as a player. On 27 February 1626 he was paid £109 for six ‘Artificiall Instruments’ ‘made and finished’ for royal service. Playford wrote that he was ‘a person of such ingenuity for his several rare inventions of instruments, as the Poliphant and the Stump, which were strung with wire’ and ‘a lyra viol, to be strung with lute strings and wire strings, the one above the other’. This cannot be taken at face value since Farrant would have been too young to have invented the poliphant or poliphon, which (Playford claimed elsewhere) Queen Elizabeth played, and at least three other individuals are connected with the invention of the lyra viol with sympathetic metal strings – the ancestor of the baryton. Nevertheless, it is likely that Farrant was involved in some way with the development of novel types of stringed instruments in Jacobean England....


Howard Mayer Brown

revised by Giulio Ongaro

(b ?Venice, 1492; d mid-16th century). Italian instrumentalist and writer. He was the author of two treatises on instrumental performance. Ganassi joined the pifferi of the Venetian government in June 1517, when he was hired as ‘contralto’ to fill a vacancy. From the 1517 document it is clear that his nickname ‘dal Fontego’ was derived from his place of residence near (or at) the Venetian ‘Fontego’, the palace by the Rialto where German merchants lived and traded. He is also mentioned in a few other documents from the late 1540s, and he might be the ‘Silvestro del cornetto’ who rented a storeroom near the Rialto in 1566. In his capacity as ‘piffero del Doge’ he probably supplied ceremonial and court music for the Doges and instrumenal music at the Basilica di S Marco.

Ganassi published two treatises, one on the recorder, Opera intitulata Fontegara (Venice, 1535), and one in two volumes on the viola da gamba, ...


Howard Mayer Brown

revised by Lynda Sayce

(b Nuremberg, c1500; d Nuremberg, 1570). German instrumentalist, lute maker and compiler and arranger of several volumes of instrumental music. He was probably the son of Conrad Gerle (d 1521), a well-known lute maker in Nuremberg. He may be presumed to have spent his life in his native city. He may have been related to Georg Gerle who worked as an instrument maker in Innsbruck during the second half of the 16th century.

Hieronymus Formschneider of Nuremberg published three volumes of music by Hans Gerle: Musica teusch, auf die Instrument der grossen unnd kleinen Geygen, auch Lautten (1532), Tabulatur auff die Laudten (1533) and Eyn newes sehr künstlichs Lautenbuch (1552). On the title-page of the last volume the author called himself ‘Hans Gerle den Eltern’ (the elder), implying the existence of a younger relative with the same forename.

The first volume, ...


Horst Brunner

(b Nuremberg, Nov 26, 1552; d Nuremberg, Oct 23, 1634). German Meistersinger. He was a shoemaker by profession, like his great model Hans Sachs. From about 1569 until his death he belonged to the Nuremberg Meistersinger guild, presiding as senior Merker from 1619. Along with Benedict von Watt (1569–1616), Hans Winter (d 1627) and Magister Ambrosius Metzger (1573–1632) Hager was among the most notable figures in the later flowering of the Nuremberg Meistersinger tradition. Within the guild he represented the position initiated by Sachs, in whose name he resisted attempts at innovation (in the Schulstreit of 1624). Apart from a few Sprüche (poems in rhyming couplets), 624 sacred and secular Meisterlieder by Hager have survived as well as 36 other sacred and secular gemeine Lieder (songs that are not written in one of the Töne of Meistergesang). 17 melodies survive for ...


Wolfgang Boetticher

(b Schwäbisch Gmünd, c1445–50; d Vienna, early March 1526). German lutenist, composer and probably lute maker. His family came from Württemberg; his father may have been one Hartmann Judenkünig. He is first recorded in 1518 as a lutenist in the Corpus Christi confraternity at the Stephansdom in Vienna; he had probably already been working as a musician there for some time, and he lived in the oldest quarter of Vienna in a house called the ‘Gundlachhaus’, later celebrated under the name of ‘Köllnerhof’ as a centre for musicians and merchants. Although he was not a member of the nobility, his prominent position as a citizen is indicated by a coat of arms depicting a string player, which appeared in both his books; both books also include a full-page woodcut showing a bearded lutenist (probably Judenkünig himself), together with a pupil playing a large viol. Judenkünig was in contact with the learned humanistic community of Vienna: he arranged some of the odes of Petrus Tritonius, and he seems also to have been familiar with the ideals of the poetic-mathematical circle around Conrad Celtis. His date of death at an advanced age was recorded in the margin of one copy of his ...


Benjamin Vogel

[Bartholomaeus] [Kicher, Kecher]

(b Kraków, Poland, 1548; d Kraków, Jan 9, 1599). Polish organ builder, wind instrument maker, and musician. He was enrolled in the royal chapel in Kraków as a boy singer about 1558, and is recorded as a wind instrument player (fistulator) there from 6 January 1565 at least to 1572. He also ran a musical instrument workshop, probably taking over from his father. His posthumous inventory, known from a copy in the State Archives, Kraków, lists 120 (completed) instruments, 336 uncompleted, 10 old, 2 violins (bass and descant), 4 keyboard instruments and 1 old one (an octave spinet or clavichord by his father), 2 Nuremberg regals, and 16 trumpets. Kiejcher became a very wealthy owner of two houses. His son Krzysztof was an organ builder and organist.

B. Vogel: Słownik lutników działających na historycznych i obecnych ziemiach polskich oraz lutników polskich działających za granicą do 1950 roku...


( b ?Dresden, c 1560; d Dresden, July 22, 1613). German organist and keyboard intabulator . Presumably he was the son of Friedrich Nörmiger, court organist at Dresden until his death in 1580. August Nörmiger occupied the same post from 12 December 1581 until his own death. After Hassler’s death Nörmiger supervised the construction of the organ which he had designed for the Schlosskirche. According to a notice of 1592 he gave daily keyboard lessons to Prince Christian II and to Princess Sophie, daughter of Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Saxony; in 1598 he compiled a keyboard tablature for Princess Sophie, then aged 11. This manuscript, once housed in the Staatsbibliothek Preussicher Kulturbesitz (now part of D-B ) and later in D-Tu Mus.40 098 (olim Z 89), is now housed in Kraków, Biblioteca Jagiellońska ( PL-Kj ).

The collection opened with 77 Lutheran chorales in simple settings with the melody in the top line. Coloration was absent, but Nörmiger used motivic repetition in the lower voices. The chorale melodies found here generally remained in use through the 17th and 18th centuries. Also, their arrangement in the manuscript followed the church calendar. A second section of 39 German sacred and secular songs employed considerable ornamentation. The final section consisted of 94 dances (pavans, galliards, passamezzos etc) with sparse coloration. The presence of voice crossings, awkward leaps and parallel perfect intervals may indicate that these pieces were arrangements of other music. The scope of Nörmiger’s anthology provides a glimpse of keyboard music and dance accompaniments popular at the Saxony court about ...