Kaspar [Caspar] Ziegler was a German poet. From 1638 to 1654, when he was a law and theology student in Leipzig, Ziegler was active as an amateur poet. From 1654 until his death he was an important professor of law and eventually Rektor at the University of Wittenberg and a prominent civic official there, and had practically no more connection with the arts.
A friend of Johann Rosenmüller and Heinrich Schütz, Kaspar Ziegler exerted some influence on both. His poetry, apparently mostly sacred, served for occasional music, and a few poems became chorale texts. More important, his treatise Von den Madrigalen (?Leipzig, 1653, enlarged 2/1685; ed. D. Glodny-Wiercinski, Frankfurt, 1971), written at H. Schütz's request, set forth rules for German madrigal poetry that were then observed until well into the 18th century. Hitherto German poets had not provided texts comparable to Italian madrigals, but after analysing the structure of the Italian poems, Ziegler adapted them to the peculiarities of German prosody. The German madrigal should consist of any number of lines, usually from seven to eleven and rarely fewer than five or more than sixteen; the lines should have seven or eleven syllables if the ending is feminine, six or ten syllables if it is masculine; a caesura is optional in lines of ten or eleven syllables; the rhyme scheme varies, but no more than three consecutive lines may pass without some rhyme; and only authentic rhymes are considered. As a relatively free, non-strophic poem the German madrigal is ideal for recitative and was so used, even by J.S. Bach.