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Protestant funeral music and rhetoric in seventeenth-century Germany : a musical-rhetorical examination of the printed sources Johnston, Gregory Scott


The present thesis is an investigation into the musical rhetoric of Protestant funeral music in seventeenth-century Germany. The study begins with an exposition on the present state of musicological inquiry into occasional music in the Baroque, focusing primarily on ad hoc funeral music. Because funeral music is not discussed in any of the basic music reference works, a cursory overview of existing critical studies is included. The survey of this literature is followed by a brief discussion of methodological obstacles and procedure with regard to the present study. Chapter Two comprises a general discussion of Protestant funeral liturgy in Baroque Germany. Although numerous examples of the Divine Service in the Lutheran Church have survived the seventeenth century, not a single order of service for the funeral liturgy from the period seems to exist. This chapter provides both the social and extra-liturgical background for the music as well as a plausible Lutheran funerary liturgy based on documents from the period and modern studies. Prosopopoeia, the rhetorical personification of the dead, is the subject of Chapter Three. After examining the theoretical background of this rhetorical device, from Roman Antiquity to the German Baroque, the trope is examined in the context of funerary sermonic oratory. The discussion of oratorical rhetoric is followed by an investigation into the musical application of the concept of prosopopoeia in various styles of funerary composition, from simple cantional-style works to compositions in which the personified deceased assumes certain physical dimensions. Chapter Four includes an examination of various other musical-rhetorical figures effectively employed in funeral music. Also treated in this chapter are musica1-rhetorical aspects of duple and triple metre, where triple metre in particular, depending on the text, can be understood figuratively, metaphorically or as a combination of both. As this chapter makes clear, owing to the perceived antithetical properties of metre and certain figures, musical rhetoric was often used to illustrate the distinction between this world and the next.

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