Reference Entry

Adam von Fulda

Klaus Wolfgang Niemöller

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 |
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.00174

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(b ?Fulda, c1445; d Wittenberg, 1505). German composer and theorist. Until about 1490 he was at the Benedictine monastery of Vornbach, near Passau, but he had to leave it when he married. In 1490 he entered the service of Frederick the Wise of Saxony, working first as a singer, then as a historiographer (from 1492), finally becoming Kapellmeister by 1498. In 1502 he matriculated at the newly founded University of Wittenberg. Between 1503 and 1504 he wrote his chronicle of Saxon history undertaken at Frederick’s suggestion in 1492, and after Adam’s death (of the plague) in 1505, it was completed by Johannes Trithemius, Abbot of Würzburg.

In 1490 Adam finished his famous treatise De musica (GerbertS, iii, 329), in which he described himself as ‘Musicus ducalis’. The manuscript was burnt in 1870 but the text had already been printed by Gerbert in 1784. In it he noted that Du Fay’s music extended Guido’s musical system by three degrees, and upheld Busnoys as a model to be emulated. Adam inveighed against minstrels (‘ioculatores’) and artless folksingers (‘laici vulgares’), for, he said, they had no knowledge of the art of music-making. He was the first theorist to distinguish between vocal and instrumental music in the modern sense. He also wrote some religious verses which were published by Wolff Cyclopius as ...

Reference Entry.  805 words. 

Subjects: Early Renaissance Music (1400-1500) ; High Renaissance Music (1500-1600)

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