Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Waissel [Waisselius], Matthäus

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Waissel [Waisselius], Matthäus

(b Bartenstein, East Prussia [now Bartoszyce, Poland], c1535–40; d ?Königsberg [now Kaliningrad], 1602). German lutenist and composer. He may have been the ‘Matthaeus Waiszel Borussus’ who matriculated at the University of Frankfurt an der Oder in the summer of 1553. On 1 February 1561 he matriculated at the University of Königsberg. Between 1565 and 1570 he made an extended journey through Germany and Italy, during which he received instruction in lute playing from leading exponents of the instrument. In 1573 he was appointed Rektor of the school at Schippenbeil (now Sępopol), East Prussia. From 1574 to 1587 he was the parish priest at Langheim, near Rastenburg (now Ketrzyn). In 1591 and 1592 he was at Frankfurt an der Oder supervising the printing of lute tablatures. He is believed to have lived finally at Königsberg, where he published a doctrinal Summa in 1596 and a Prussian chronicle in 1599. His son Matthäus became an instrumentalist at Riga in 1598 and was a member of the Hofkapelle at Königsberg from 1616 to 1619.

Waissel wrote for the six-course lute. His books of 1591 and 1592, which are the last publications in German lute tablature, include preludes, fantasias (including two from Benedict de Drusina’s Tabulatura of 1556), German and Polish dances, passamezzos, saltarellos, galliards, pavans, paduanas, branles, Latin and German songs, madrigals, napolitane and chansons. In the 1573 book Waissel named Gallus Dressler, Christian Hollander, Lassus and Verdelot as composers of the vocal originals. He wrote in the 1591 book that many of the pieces in it were by renowned lutenists and that he had transcribed some of them from staff notation and others from French and Italian tablature. It cannot be determined which of the pieces in his tablatures are by Waissel himself. It may be supposed that he made the arrangements of the German and Polish dances, which are entirely homophonic. The suites of three or four dance movements are a notable feature of his tablatures. That of 1573 contains four in which a paduana in quick triple time is flanked by a passamezzo and a saltarello; the paduana and the saltarello are both derived, by rhythmic transformation, from the passamezzo. In the four four-movement suites the saltarello is followed by an independent ripresa. Two suites in the 1591 Tabulatura and two in the 1592 Lautenbuch contain a ripresa for the passamezzo as well as for the saltarello. The German dances in the 1592 Tabulatura can also be performed on two lutes tuned a 4th apart. The Lautenbuch contains instructions on tablature and performance which, according to Waissel, he based on the teaching of eminent lutenists with whom he had studied in Germany and Italy. He first illustrated numerous fingerings of chords of varying degrees of difficulty and then proceeded to demonstrate fingerings in runs and embellishments; he concluded by discussing right-hand technique.


published in Frankfurt an der Oder

Tabulatura continens insignes et selectissmas quasque cantiones, testitudini aptatas, lute (157327); ed. D. Benkő (Budapest, 1980)

Tabulatura allerley künstlicher Preambulen, auserlesener deudtscher und polnischer Tentze, lute (1591); 5 ed. W. Pudelko (Augsburg, 1925)

Lautenbuch darinn von der Tabulatur und Application der Lauten gründlicher und voller Unterricht, lute (1592); ed. D. Benkő (Budapest, 1984)

Tabulatura guter gemeiner deudtscher Tentze, 1, 2 lutes (1592)

Chorea, 2 fantasias, 3 preludes, intabulation of madrigal, CH-Bu, D-DEP, LEm



MGG1 (J. Kima, H. Radke)

O. Körte: Laute und Lautenmusik bis zur Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1901/R)

T. Norlind: ‘Zur Geschichte der Suite’, SIMG, vii (1905–6), 172–203, esp. 181–2

E. Engel: Die Instrumentalformen in der Lautenmusik des 16. Jahrhunderts (diss., U. of Berlin, 1915)

H. Sommer: Lautentraktate des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts im Rahmen der deutschen und französischen Lautentabulatur (diss., U. of Berlin, 1923)

J. Dieckmann: Die in deutscher Lautentabulatur überlieferten Tänze des 16. Jahrhunderts (Kassel, 1931)

H.-P. Kosack: Geschichte der Laute und Lautenmusik in Preussen (Kassel, 1935) [incl. thematic indexes of all of Waissel’s vols.]

H. Grimm: Meister der Renaissancemusik an der Viadrina (Frankfurt an der Oder, 1942)

W. Boetticher: Studien zur solistischen Lautenpraxis des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, 1943), 330

K. Scheit: ‘Ce que nous enseignent les traités de luth des environs de 1600’, Le luth et sa musique: Neuilly-sur-Seine 1957, 93–105

D.A. Smith: ‘The Instructions in Matthaeus Waissel's Lautenbuch’, JLSA, viii (1975), 49–79

C. Meyer: Sources manuscrites en tablature: luth et théorbe, catalogue descriptif, i–ii (Baden-Baden, 1991)


Waisvisz, Michel

(b Leiden, 1949). Dutch composer, inventor of instruments and performer. He is self-taught. He became acquainted with electronics at the age of 16, when his father built a theremin. Since 1981 he has been director of the Studio voor Elektronische Muziek in the Netherlands.

In the mid-1970s he invented the kraakdoos (cracklebox), which is based on the instability of electronic circuits, usually considered undesirable. In 1981 he composed De Slungels, the first theatrical piece to be performed entirely by robots. Using these theatrical robots, Waisvisz studied both the relationship between man and machine and ways of improving the operation of electronic systems. An important step in this respect was the development of De Handen (hands), a sensitive instrument with which material stored in the computer can be played in real time. Variants on this same principle are De MIDI-Conductor (1985) and Het Web (1990). Waisvisz has also appeared with ‘Lisa’, a software instrument which is a live sampling system, controlled by De Handen.

The idea underlying these interactive instruments or ‘gestural controllers’ is that, just as with acoustic instruments, the physical action of making music must be visible to the public. Waisvisz has elaborated this theatrical side in appearances with diverse musicians and artists and in numerous music theatre pieces. In view of the great importance he attaches to interaction with the public and to a refined and dynamic quality of sound, he has on principle never published any work on CD.


(selective list)

Crackle, cracklebox, cracklesynthesizer, 1978; Het anarchistenbal, 1v, cracklesynthesizer, cracklegun, scratcher, 1980; De slungels [The Gawks] (music theatre), 1981; Pandora (music theatre), 1982; Beat Concrète, De Handen, FM-synths, 2 synth, crackle insts, 1984; Touch Monkeys, De Handen, FM-synths, 1986; The Archaic Sym., De Handen, FM-synths, samplers, 1987–91; Songs from the ‘Hands’, De Handen, Lisa, Fm-synths, 1991; Requiem ohne Tote, De Handen, Lisa, FM-synths, 1993; Operatie Lisa, De Handen, Lisa, 1995–6; The Spirit of the Digital Djembé, De Handen, Lisa, djembé, 1997



M. Waisvisz: De kraakdozententoonstelling (Amsterdam, 1975) [exhibition catalogue]; section trans. as ‘The Cracklebox Project’, Musics, no.7 (1976), 7–8

F. Lagerwerff: ‘Michel Waisfisz en het cultuuronderzoek van deze tijd’, Jazz nu (1979), 193


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