Central Europe in the Sixteenth Century: A Musical Melting Pot

  • Lilian P. Pruett


After briefly reviewing the problems arising from attempts to dentify precise geographical outlines of Central Europe in the course of time, the author opts to use the limitations existing in the sixteenth century, the time frame of the presentation. This means, essentially, the borders of the Habsburg homelands, i.e., the southeastern part of the Holy Roman Empire. The paper argues that the roots of Central European musical practices were established through the foundation of regulated institutional entities such as the imperial chapels of Maximilian I (1496) and other rulers (Albrecht V of Bavaria, 1550), their successors and imitators, as well as the transalpine Renaissance church centers. As these institutions were staffed by musicians coming from virtually every corner of Europe – each practitioner bringing his own territorial contribution with him – the emerging musical consciousness of the Central European region had as cosmopolitan a foundation as that of Europe at large. Still, the proximity of the Central European art music scene to the variety of local ethnic traditions may be interpreted as lending a flavor to the musical expression of the area, endowing it with a character of its own. While in its beginnings the recipient of many influences from multinational contributors, in a later, equally cosmopolitan period (the Classicism of the eighteenth century), Central Europe reciprocates in equal measure, its contributions exerting impact upon European music in general.


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How to Cite
PruettL. P. (2004). Central Europe in the Sixteenth Century: A Musical Melting Pot. Musicological Annual, 40(1&2), 97-102. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.40.1&2.97-102