Chapter 14
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CHAPTER 14. MUSIC IN FLORENCE, 1350-1450. THE EARLY RENAISSANCE.

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CHAPTER 14

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Chapter 14

CHAPTER 14

MUSIC IN FLORENCE,

1350-1450


The early renaissance

THE EARLY RENAISSANCE

  • Renaissance means rebirth in the sense of a reawaking. Although the description of the Middle Ages as a “dark” age is a great exaggeration, the period of the early Renaissance (1350-1450) did see a reawakening of interest in the art of classical antiquity and a quickening of concern for the arts and humanities generally—in poetry, painting, sculpture, and music.


Florence

FLORENCE

Florence might fairly be called the home of the Italian Renaissance, possessing, as it does, more great art per square foot than any city in the world. Giotto, Donatello, Masaccio, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo all graced Florence with their art at various times between 1320 and 1490. Florence was a city-state which by 1348 had a population of about 100,000.


Trecento music and the squarcialupi codex

TRECENTO MUSIC AND THE SQUARCIALUPI CODEX

  • The period of the 1300s in Italy is called the trecento. By far the largest collection of trecento music is the Squarcialupi Codex, name after a Florentine organist who once owned the manuscript. Compiled in Florence about 1415, the Squarcialupi Codex contains 354 compositions and constitutes a retrospective anthology of all of forms of trecento music.


Italian fixed forms

ITALIAN FIXED FORMS

While the French had their fixed forms for secular vocal music in the fourteenth century (ballade, rondeau, and virelai), so too did the Italians, specifically the madrigal, caccia, and ballata. The trecento madrigal possessed AAB form. The madrigal Non al suo amante of Jacopo da Bologna (c1310-c1386) is typical of the madrigal around 1350 in that it is highly florid, but somewhat rigid rhythmically. The poem here, by the early Renaissance humanist Frescesco Petrarch (1304-1374), is exceptionally beautiful and, typical of Renaissance poetry, is full of classical allusions.

The beginning of Jacopo da Bologna’s

two-voice madrigal Non al suo amante.


Caccia and ballata

CACCIA AND BALLATA

  • In Italian, caccia means hunt. A caccia is a composition involving a musical canon in the upper two voices supported by a slower moving tenor. In a caccia one of the upper voices chases after the other, and the Italian texts of many caccias are about a hunt, either real or amatory (of the beloved).

  • The ballata was a dance song with a choral refrain. Its music and poetic form is similar to the French virelai: A (ripresa) b (piede) b (piede) a (volta) A (ripresa). The terms piede (foot), volta (turn), and ripresa (refrain) recall the origins of the ballata as a monophonic dance.


Francesco landini

FRANCESCO LANDINI

  • Francesco Landini (c1325-1397) was the most important composer of the trecento. Landini was a blind organist who worked at the church of San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence) in the center of Florence. Surviving from his pen are 140 ballatas, thirteen madrigals, but only one caccia.


Chapter 14

  • Landini’s ballata Or su, gentili spirti was said to have been sung in 1389 in a garden party by two women accompanied by a gentleman on the lowest part. Landini’s music is characterized by flexible rhythms, florid melody, abundant thirds and sixths, and an idiosyncratic cadence, called the Landini cadence in which the cantus voice drops from the seventh degree to the sixth before jumping to the 8th and final degree.


Chapter 14

The beginning of Landini’s ballata Or su, gentili spirtirevealing languid rhythms and a florid melody


The end of landini s ballata or su gentili spirti showing a landini cadence

The end of Landini’s ballata Or su, gentili spirti showing a Landini cadence


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