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date: 25 August 2019

Agricola [Sore], Martinlocked

  • Anna Maria Busse Berger

Extract

(b Schwiebus [now Świebodzin, Poland], c1486; d Magdeburg, June 10, 1556). German music theorist, teacher and composer. According to his own statements, he came from a peasant family and was largely self-taught in music. By 1520 he was in Magdeburg working as a music teacher. He became choirmaster of the Protestant Lateinschule in about 1525 and retained this position until his death.

Agricola was one of the earliest teachers of music to realize Luther's wish to incorporate music as a central component of Protestant education. His foremost aim in educating students and congregation was to present material as clearly as possible and to reach a large audience. It was for this reason that his early treatises were written in German rather than the customary Latin. His translation of the terms clavis (as Schlüssel), vox (as Stimme or Silbe) and scala (as Leiter) are still used today. His desire to relate music education to everyday life can be seen in his modernization of old-fashioned rules of harmonic and rhythmic proportions, which he related to commercial arithmetic, in particular the Rule of Three, which formed the most important component of arithmetic instruction in Latin schools. He was the only theorist to consider ...

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