The Heidelberg team investigates the transmission of sacred repertoires in the Lutheran regions of 16th-century northern Germany, especially as manifested in polyphonic anthologies that contain relatively ‘old’ music.
Having been formulated in a situation of religious pluralisation and usually within institutional contexts, these repertories constitute important contributions towards legitimising a new confessional identity. This work thereby complements the studies of heterodox music in the Low Countries (Utrecht) and Bohemia (Prague) as examples for establishing alternative practices.
The northern regions of Germany, notwithstanding the rich surviving material and their crucial geographical position for the Baltic Sea regions, still need to be integrated into a comprehensive music history of the 16th century. Lübeck and Rostock were important printing centres, and Rostock University constituted a hub for the dissemination of Lutheran theology and pedagogical models. Apart from older – and hence methodologically obsolescing – historical accounts, research on music in these towns has so far remained at the level of pure source descriptions, or has taken a sociological focus.
The corpus of sources to be considered by the Heidelberg team includes choirbooks and sets of partbooks with large collections of sacred repertory of different genres (such as motets, masses, hymns, usually incorporating more than some dozens of pieces in each collection). These will be discussed in terms of their historical and institutional contexts, including churches and schools in Lübeck, Rostock, Lüneburg, and Stralsund.
These places are situated in regions which, after the Reformation, manifested a tendency towards a relatively ‘conservative’ liturgy and a marked preference for older repertory (Josquin still being recommended in school orders around 1580-1600).
The main research questions for the team will include:
- To what extent are the northern German manuscripts authoritative collections of highly valued music of the past rather than mere repositories?
- What can be said about their purpose of copying and use?
- To what extent do they reflect the establishment, or continuity, of historical consciousness for musical ‘classics’ or ‘historical repertory’?
Inga Mai Groote concentrates on the institutional contexts and links with earlier sources; PhD student Christine Roth reconstructs the polyphonic sources’ liturgical and practical contexts in critical dialogue with established assumptions on 16th-century Lutheran musical culture in Germany.
Inga Mai Groote
Inga Mai Groote is Professor of Musicology at the University of Heidelberg. She studied musicology, medieval and modern history, and Italian philology at the University of Bonn (Dr. phil. 2005, with a thesis on music in 16th-/17th century Italian academies).
She has been teaching at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (2005-10), the University of Zurich (2010–14, Habilitation 2013 with a study on the impact of Russian music in fin-de-siècle France), the University of Hamburg (2013/14) and University of Fribourg (2014-15).
Her research focuses on music history of early modern times (especially in the German-speaking areas) and late 19th-century (France). It engages also with the intellectual, institutional and social history of music.
A second principal area of research is the history of early modern music theory and its book culture, where she has been working on the transmission of musical knowledge in school and university contexts (Heinrich Glarean’s Books. The Intellectual World of a 16th-Century Musical Humanist, ed. with I. Fenlon, Cambridge 2013); a current project considers German contexts around 1500 (Material formations of music theory concepts: Praxeology of disciplinary writing towards the end of the Middle Ages, as part of SFB 933 “Material Text Cultures”).
Christine Roth studied musicology and French philology at Heidelberg University. In 2012 she spent an Erasmus semester at King’s College London. She graduated in 2016 with a master thesis about political narratives in Barbe-Bleue operas of the late 18th and the 19th centuries.
Since 2016 she works as a tutor for music history at the Music Department Heidelberg. Currently, she is a PHD student in the HERA project “Sound Memories: The Musical Past in Late Medieval and Early-Modern Europe”. She is an associate member of → the research project “What is tradition?” at the university of Heidelberg.
Her research interests include liturgical music of the 16th century and, as a second principal area, music history of the 19th and 20th centuries with a focus on French music in its sociopolitical and historical contexts.