Martin Agricola

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Martin Agricola is perhaps one of Germany's most important theorists, teachers and composers to have lived during the sixteenth century. He claimed to be a self-taught musician and was the choirmaster…
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Martin Agricola is perhaps one of Germany's most important theorists, teachers and composers to have lived during the sixteenth century. He claimed to be a self-taught musician and was the choirmaster at the "Latin School" in Magdeburg beginning this post between 1525 and 1527. Agricola adamantly followed Luther and joined those who would put schooling into the vernacular rather than the Latin. Accordingly he wrote texts on music that not only addressed his students, but German citizens as well: amateur and professional alike. He is considered to be the first school musician who was also a Protestant. Eventually he acquiesced to the humanist's argument concerning the use of Latin in school books (as it was considered the scholarly language). Martin did however translate Latin terminology into German (many of these renditions are still used today). Agricola authored his important contributions to music, "Ein Sangbuchlein aller Sontags Evangelien" and "Instrumentische Gesenge". The former is recognized as the oldest compilation of German Protestant songs, while the latter is a collection of 54 pieces for instruments scored four three and four parts. The latter treatise is also a paradigmaic example of early German instrumental artistry. Martin Agricola's compositions are characterized by technical facility, the inspiration of scriptural texts (notably the Psalms and Gospels), and the musical influence of Josquin particularly in the motets.