Samuel Scheidt (1587–1654)

Samuel Scheidt ranks high in the list of celebrated 17th-century composers. He became known above all for his three-volume Tabulatura nova, which ranks among the most significant and extensive collections of keyboard music.

Born in Halle, Scheidt initially worked as a substitute organist at the Moritzkirche there before going to Amsterdam to take organ lessons with Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck from 1697 to 1699. Margrave Christian Wilhelm von Brandenburg appointed Scheidt court organist of Halle in 1699. In the following years, Scheidt worked repeatedly with Michael Praetorius, who was Kapellmeister in Halle. Thanks to his wide-ranging knowledge of organ construction, Scheidtwas often called upon to provide his expert opinion on many an organ.

After 1620 Scheidt published the collection Cantiones sacrae, Concertus sacri and Ludi musici, part of which is considered as lost.

At the age of 40, Scheidt married Helena Magdalena Keller. He had seven children with her, of whom only two survived a plague epidemic in 1636. Scheidt lost his job when his lord fled from Wallenstein's troops in 1626, but in 1628 the city of Halle appointed him Director musices for the three major municipal churches. Nonetheless, as a result of the war, he lost his entire fortune and was given a pauper's burial.

Samuel Scheidt's Tabulatura nova was published as Volume I of the Denkmäler deutscher Tonkunst series by Breitkopf & Härtel. The Deutscher Verlag für Musik later published the Complete Edition of the musical works, which was followed by Breitkopf & Härtel's new Urtext edition of the Tabulatura nova by Harald Vogel.