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Early Italian Music
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July 31, 2023 - 11:26 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 7581
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I've been on a continuing quest to understand influences/relationships of earlier traditional folk music throughout Europe. 

It's kinda hard to ignore that Florence, Italy was the cultural center of the Renaissance!  

I LOVE madrigals, but the Italians had a special 'Trecento' Madrigals at this time and I've learned Ballate were also very popular.  Francesco Landini was the most famous composer of these in the mid to late 1300's. 



See attachment for notation!

Ecco la Primavera! - read more about this & a performance at Early Music Seattle:

After a year-long winter as trees blossom all around us here in Seattle, it is the ideal time to celebrate springtime with family and friends. There is a certain freedom of spirit, a liberation so to speak that arrives with this particular season.

But how to celebrate? We can get a cue from a circle of humanists who gathered at Villa del Paradiso near Florence in the Spring of 1389, at the onset of the Italian Renaissance.

Between lively conversations, they listened to Francesco Landini’s portable organ performances and ars nova compositions.

The details of this meeting, lost to history for almost 500 years, were recovered in 1867 by a Russian scholar, Aleksandr Veselovski. While this work may contain some historical fiction, it is worth exploring to understand the effects which Landini’s music produced on his audience. 



July 31, 2023 - 3:07 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 7581
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The mysteries of the medieval fiddle: lifting the veil on the Vielle - wonderfully broad article from Early Music Muse! 

The Lira da braccio:

It was used by Italian poet-musicians in court in the 15th and 16th centuries to accompany their improvised recitations of lyric and narrative poetry. 

Generally, it had seven strings, five of them tuned like a violin with a low d added to the bottom (that is, d–g–d'–a'–e'') with two strings off the fingerboard which served as drones and were usually tuned in octaves. 

...it was in fact played on the shoulder, as is implied by its name, which refers to the arm, or braccio in Italian. (Wikipedia)



The "Lirone" - invented by Leonardo da Vinci's pupil, Atalante Migliorotti, in 1505 (Italy).  (Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment)


"Leonardo’s Lira"  Reference to the lira da braccio - from Musicology Now.

 Leonardo da Vinci: portrait of the artist as a musician is slightly off key


Many familiar instruments were invented and perfected in late Renaissance Italy, such as the violin, the earliest forms of which came into use in the 1550s.

By the late 16th century Italy was the musical centre of Europe. Almost all of the innovations which were to define the transition to the Baroque period originated in northern Italy in the last few decades of the century. (Italian Renaissance - Wikipedia)


July 31, 2023 - 6:40 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 7581
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Italian music roots run deep - Music History of Italy





"Guido d'Arezzo" - Benedictine Monk in Italy, attributed with developing the first modern staff notation. 

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