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The Science and Art of Renaissance Music

The Science and Art of Renaissance Music

Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 408
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  • Book Info
    The Science and Art of Renaissance Music
    Book Description:

    As a distinguished scholar of Renaissance music, James Haar has had an abiding influence on how musicology is undertaken, owing in great measure to a substantial body of articles published over the past three decades. Collected here for the first time are representative pieces from those years, covering diverse themes of continuing interest to him and his readers: music in Renaissance culture, problems of theory as well as the Italian madrigal in the sixteenth century, the figures of Antonfrancesco Doni and Giovanthomaso Cimello, and the nineteenth century's views of early music.

    In this collection, the same subject is seen from several angles, and thus gives a rich context for further exploration. Haar was one of the first to recognize the value of cultural study. His work also reminds us that the close study of the music itself is equally important. The articles contained in this book show the author's conviction that a good way to address large problems is to begin by focusing on small ones.

    Originally published in 1998.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6471-3
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)

    • CHAPTER ONE A Sixteenth-Century Attempt at Music Criticism
      (pp. 3-19)

      A complaint sometimes made about theorists, at least about those active before the middle of the nineteenth century, is that their concerns are too exclusively prescriptive, that they rarely describe music, much less evaluate it. As musicians we can enjoy what we take to be timeless aspects of the music of the past, and we feel to a certain extent confident in our ability to distinguish level of quality and degree of attractiveness in it—in short to make it live as part of our own musical culture. As scholars we can learn a good deal about the musical life...

    • CHAPTER TWO The Courtier as Musician: Castiglione’s View of the Science and Art of Music
      (pp. 20-37)

      For “science and art” in the title of this paper one could almost substitute the words “theory and practice.” Almost, but not quite. Baldassare Castiglione gives no evidence that he knew more than the rudiments of musical theory—either the classical science of harmonics or the subjects ofmusica theoricaandmusica practica,its twofold Renaissance descendants—and his remarks on the actual musical practice of his time are concerned as much with the performer’s attitude as with the act of singing or playing.

      Passages in theCortegianodealing with classical anecdote about the power of music will here be...

    • CHAPTER THREE Cosimo Bartoli on Music
      (pp. 38-76)

      To students of sixteenth-century music the Florentine man of letters Cosimo Bartoli (1503–72) is known chiefly for two statements made in the third dialogue of hisRagionamenti Accademici. One is a comparison of sculptors and musicians, with Donatello and Ockeghem seen as precursors of Michelangelo and Josquin.¹ The other is an encomium of Verdelot, called the greatest composer after Josquin, to which is added the same of Arcadelt who “faithfully trod in the footsteps of Verdelot.”² A number of musicologists have noticed that Bartoli had quite a lot more than this to say about music, and have cited other...


    • CHAPTER FOUR The Frontispiece of Gafori’s Practica Musicae (1496)
      (pp. 79-92)

      The depiction of celestial harmony (fig. 3) used as title page for the first edition of thePractica Musicaehas been a great favorite among art historians of iconographic bent; Warburg, Panofsky, Seznec, and Wind have all reproduced and commented on this woodcut at some length.¹ The frontispiece has nothing really to do with the contents of thePractica—no more, say, than the Boethian frontispiece of the thirteenth-century Pluteus manuscript has to do with Notre Dame polyphony.² But the illustration was surely Gafori’s idea rather than that of his printer, Le Signerre.³ Gafori as a devout Boethian was enamored...

    • CHAPTER FIVE False Relations and Chromaticism in Sixteenth-Century Music
      (pp. 93-120)

      The rise of chromaticism in the music—and particularly in the Italian madrigal—of the sixteenth century has long interested scholars. In the search for evidence of developing major-minor tonality, conducted in Burckhardtian hopes for signs of the modern musical world in Renaissance culture, tonally strengthening sharps and flats seemed important evidence. Tonally disruptive chromaticism could at the same time be used as demonstration of a Spenglerian decay in the contrapuntal fabric, or seen as analogous to the breakdown of tonality under the burden of nineteenth-century chromaticism. Heroes and villains in the saga could be identified (with Rore and Marenzio...

    • CHAPTER SIX Zarlino’s Definition of Fugue and Imitation
      (pp. 121-148)

      In the third book of hisIstitutioni harmoniche(1558) Zarlino devotes separate chapters to the termsfugheandimitationi,making in his careful way a distinction ignored or only hinted at by earlier theorists: fugal passages have exact intervallic correspondence between participating voices, whereas imitations may ignore the sequence of tones and semitones in the leading voice. Students of the history of fugue, including Müller-Blattau, Ghislanzoni, Mann, and Horsley,¹ have taken note of Zarlino’s terminology and have thought it—not always for precisely the same reasons—important. Alfred Mann discusses it as follows:

      We find in Zarlino’s comprehensive treatment of...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Lessons in Theory from a Sixteenth-Century Composer
      (pp. 149-175)

      We have been accustomed to looking at the course of Renaissance music as a series of great names arranged in chronological order, with direct or indirect teacher-pupil relationships connecting many of the composers: Dufay-Ockeghem-Busnoys-Obrecht-Josquin-Mouton-Willaert-Rore-Lassus (orMouton-Arcadelt-Palestrina), etc. Such lists became all but canonical in nineteenth-century musicological writings from the time of Kiesewetter and Fétis; their origin goes back, however, to the Renaissance itself, when writers on music liked to cite groups ofantichiandmoderni,sometimes linked like beads on a musical rosary by teacher-student connections.¹ Aside from its unfairness to composers who cannot easily be fit into such lists,...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Josquin as Interpreted by a Mid-Sixteenth-Century German Musician
      (pp. 176-198)

      How much of Josquin’s music was known to Orlando di Lasso is hard to gauge.¹ Both sacred and secular music by Josquin (along with pieces over-generously attributed to him) continued to circulate in manuscript and print during Lasso’s youth; but to one who was exerting himself to compose “in the new fashion of the Italians” the work of the older musician would have seemed very out of date.² How it struck a more provincial, and less gifted, contemporary musician active in Regensburg during Lasso’s first years at Munich is the subject to be discussed here.

      The motets and Masses of...


    • CHAPTER NINE The Note Nere Madrigal
      (pp. 201-221)

      Like whitehead’s philosophers after Plato, students of the madrigal who read Alfred Einstein find that they can but add footnotes to his great work. This paper is submitted as respectful comment on one topic treated by Einstein, the curious appearance of “black-note” madrigals in Venetian music prints of the 1540s. That such pieces are more than a mere notational trick, that they reflect in part the stylistic change which overtook the madrigal about 1540, is a view convincingly stated by Einstein and by a few other scholars, notably Erich Hertzmann.¹ But the line between notational fad and stylistic advance is...

    • CHAPTER TEN The “Madrigale Arioso”: A Mid-Century Development in the Cinquecento Madrigal
      (pp. 222-238)

      In 1555 the singer and composer Antonio Barrè, who had been living in Rome for several years and who was at this time a member of the Cappella Giulia,¹ began a career as music printer in Rome with the first of a series of volumes calledLibri delle Muse.² A device showing Apollo and the nine Muses in beneficent posture accompanies these books, which include anthologies of madrigals andvillanellefor three, four, and five voices as well as aLiber … Musarumcontaining four-voice motets. The Muses did not restrict their protection to Barrè; his volumes were quickly reprinted...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Giovanthomaso Cimello as Madrigalist
      (pp. 239-268)

      The great madrigalists of the mid and late sixteenth century, composers such as Rore, Lasso, Wert, and Marenzio, must have impressed their contemporaries as much, if not necessarily in the same way, as they do now. They gave musical distinction and stylistic direction to the genre; their settings of cinquecento verse are often readings that are not only rhetorically affective but powerfully interpretive, more satisfying intellectually as well as emotionally than most of the genre-obsessed literary commentary of the day. In its beginnings in the third decade of the century, the madrigal was simpler stylistically and less ambitious in aesthetic...


    • CHAPTER TWELVE Notes on the Dialogo della Musica of Antonfrancesco Doni
      (pp. 271-299)

      The welcome appearance in a modern edition¹ of Antonfrancesco Doni’sDialogo della musica,out of print since the first and only edition of 1544 ceased to be available from the Venetian press of Girolamo Scotto, makes it appropriate to comment on the work at this time, some thirty years after Alfred Einstein, writing in the pages ofMusic and Letters,² called the attention of the musical world to Doni. With the full text of the work now available, the madrigals contained in it scored and placed where they occur in the dialogue, one can find Doni’s remarks about music, some...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN A Gift of Madrigals to Cosimo I: The Ms. Florence, Bibl. Naz. Centrale, Magl. XIX, 130
      (pp. 300-322)

      Working at a problem in the history of music can sometimes be like trying to solve a number of jigsaw puzzles that have unaccountably been jumbled together: one finds clues and missing pieces, but rarely do they lead to a solution of the original problem; instead they divert one’s attention and start off a new hunt. In studying a group of related madrigals and their composers, among whom the name of Ihan Gero figured, I was led¹ to the manuscript named in the title above; it has for some years been described as a group of madrigals by Ihan Gero.²...

    • CHAPTER FOURTEEN The Libraria of Antonfrancesco Doni
      (pp. 323-350)

      In the medley of interests and occupations making up the career of Antonfrancesco Doni (1513–74)—Florentine priest, poet,novellatore, letter writer, musician, polemicist, traveller, gossip, and, at the end, hermit—there is a stint of activity in what would seem for him an unlikely field, that of bibliography. Doni is in fact generally credited with being the first bibliographer of Italian literature;¹ he would certainly appear to be one of the first to include music in a published book list.

      What later became known as Doni’sPrima Librariawas published in 1550 by the Venetian printer Gabriel Giolito as...


    • CHAPTER FIFTEEN Berlioz and the “First Opera”
      (pp. 353-365)

      At the beginning ofLes Soirées de l’orchestrethe musicians, eager to entertain one another since the evening’s bill-of-fare is “un opéra français moderne trèsplat,” are talking of Corsino, a composer and their first violinist, absent because he has been arrested for insulting—with provocation—the director of the opera. A violist, laying down his instrument, remarks that Corsino will, he hopes, find a way to revenge himself, as did that Italian who in the sixteenth century made the first attempt at writing musical drama. The Italian is identified as Alfonso della Viola, a contemporary of the famous artist Benvenuto...

    • CHAPTER SIXTEEN Music of the Renaissance as Viewed by the Romantics
      (pp. 366-382)

      During the first half of the nineteenth century musical historiography made great strides. Assemblage of source materials, begun by Padre Martini and Gerbert, was continued but tended to focus on particular figures (Baini on Palestrina), places (Caffi on Venice), or periods (Winterfeld on sixteenth-century sacred music); straightforward chronicles, such as those of Hawkins and Burney, were succeeded by works including elements of historically grounded critical judgment, forming as in the case of Kiesewetter’s study of the Franco-Netherlandish school the prototype for much later work on the period. Not long after Jacob Burckhardt’s seminal volume on the Italian Renaissance came the...

    (pp. 383-390)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 391-391)