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Exultatio Spiritualis Pro Organicis – Aspects of Affects and Rhetoric in The Musicae Artis Analecta and the Organ Chorales of Michael Praetorius (1571–1621)

Doctoral project of Miikkael Halonen

Music has traditionally been considered as a language of emotions. During the Renaissance humanism and, to an even greater extent, after the Reformation, there were continuous endeavors to emphasize the affective and rhetorical functions of music. In other words, erudite authors, music theorists and musicians underlined the analogical role of music with speech in evoking emotions (in Latin: affectus).

In my study, I am examining the works of Michael Praetorius, a German composer from the late Renaissance and early Baroque period. I focus my attention on understanding the manifestations of affects and the roles of rhetoric in Praetorius´s Latin book Musicae artis analecta (1614/1615) and in his organ chorales. In these primary sources, models and traits from the ancient Jewish temple cult, the classical literature, the Italian musical humanism, and the orthodox Lutheran spirituality were applied by him in theory and practice.

This research project is multidisciplinary. My approach is inspired especially by the history of emotions. Additionally, it combines hermeneutical and critical methods, theories, and secondary sources from the fields of musicology, theology, and classical philology. Overall, it seems that Praetorius considers both vocal and instrumental music as a medium of joy – spiritual joy. His early seventeenth-century musical aims encompass both ecclesiastical and societal spheres, as well as households and schools. If so, what are the principles and means of his affective and rhetorical models that bring joy?

Miikkael Halonen is a doctoral student in the Research Study Programme at the DocMus Doctoral School.

Keywords: Michael Praetorius, affects, rhetoric, organ chorales, classical literature, musical humanism, Lutheran spirituality

Future doctors in music

We have approximately 150 doctoral students enrolled at the Sibelius Academy. This blog offers a view to their research projects.

The doctoral students are a part of a research community which is a unique combination of artistic activities, education, and research.

Their projects cover a wide spectrum of topics in the realm of music, combining musical practices and different research approaches.

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