His father was an organist in both Wöhrden and Hamburg, and probably Scheidemann received some early instruction from him. Scheidemann studied with Sweelinck in Amsterdam from 1611 to 1614, and evidently was one of his favorite pupils, since Sweelinck dedicated a motet to him at the end of the time, prior to Scheidemann's return to Germany. By 1629, and possibly earlier, Scheidemann was in Hamburg as organist at the Catharinenkirche, a position which he held for more than thirty years, until his death in Hamburg in early 1663 during an outbreak of the plague. Scheidemann was renowned as an organist and composer, as evidenced by the wide distribution of his works; more organ music by Scheidemann survives than by any other composer of the time. Unlike the other early Baroque German composers, such as Praetorius, Schütz, Scheidt, and Schein, each of whom wrote in most of the current genres and styles, Scheidemann wrote almost entirely organ music.
A few songs survive, as well as some harpsichord pieces, but they are dwarfed by the dozens of organ pieces, many in multiple movements. Scheidemann's lasting contribution to the organ literature, and to Baroque music in general, was in his chorale settings, which were of three general types: cantus firmus chorale arrangements, which were an early type of chorale prelude; "monodic" chorale arrangements, which imitated the current style of monody—a vocal solo over basso continuo—but for solo organ; and elaborate chorale fantasias,which were a new invention, founded on the keyboard style of Sweelinck but using the full resources of the developing German Baroque organ. In addition to his chorale arrangements, he also wrote arrangements of the Magnificat, which are not only in multiple parts but are in cyclic form, a technique in multiple-movement musical construction which was not to return with vigor until the 19th century. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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