Vulpius (Fuchs), Melchior
b Wasungen, nr Meiningen, Thuringia, Germany c1560–70, d Weimar, Germany 1615. He attended the Latin School in his home town, later Latinising his family surname; then studied music at Speyer and though a non-graduate he became a Latin teacher and Cantor at Schleusingen. He was the Lutheran municipal Cantor at Weimar, 1602–15, where he continued to teach Latin; he composed chorale melodies published in Cantiones Sacrae (1602–04). Some of these are still in use. He wrote some 400 hymn tunes and nearly 200 motets, and was the first to use the dance-like ‘balleto’ rhythm in hymn tunes. While enjoying some success as a writer of texts, his greater achievement was to become the most significant German protestant composer of his generation. He is now best known for his contrapuntal versions of established tunes (1604–09) and a setting of the St Matthew Passion (1612–14). Posthumously, the Cantionale Sacrum (1646–48) featured 30 of his hymns. No.791.