Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM Oxford Music Online. © Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in Oxford Music Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Fantasia (It., Sp., Ger., Eng.; Eng., Fr., Ger. Fantasie; Fr., Ger. Phantasie; Fr. fantaisie, fantasye, phantaisie; Eng., Ger. Phantasia; Ger. Fantasey; Eng. Fancie, fancy, fansye, fantasy, fantazia, fantazie, fantazy, phansie, phantasy, phantazia)locked

  • Christopher D.S. Field,
  • E. Eugene Helm
  •  and William Drabkin


A term adopted in the Renaissance for an instrumental composition whose form and invention spring ‘solely from the fantasy and skill of the author who created it’ (Luis de Milán, 1535–6). From the 16th century to the 19th the fantasia tended to retain this subjective licence, and its formal and stylistic characteristics may consequently vary widely from free, improvisatory types to strictly contrapuntal and more or less standard sectional forms....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

Anuario musical
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung
Music & Letters
M. Praetorius: Syntagma musicum, i (Wittenberg and Wolfenbüttel, 1614-15, 2/1615/R); ii (Wolfenbüttel, 1618, 2/1619/R; Eng. trans., 1986, 2/1991); iii (Wolfenbüttel, 1618, 2/1619/R)
Oxford, Christ Church Library
G. Dodd, ed.: Thematic Index of Music for Viols (London, 1980-)
H.M. Brown: Instrumental Music Printed Before 1600: a Bibliography (Cambridge, MA, 1965)
Oxford, Bodleian Library
Gdańsk, Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna
London, British Library
M. Mersenne: Harmonie universelle
Musical Quarterly
Galpin Society Journal
Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association
Paris, Conservatoire [in F-Pn]
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Musiksammlung
E.H. Meyer: English Chamber Music (London, 1946/R, rev. 3/1982 with D. Poulton as Early English Chamber Music)
Leiden, Bibliotheca Thysiana [in NL-Lu]
G. Reese: Music in the Renaissance (New York, 1954, 2/1959)
London, Guildhall Library
W. Apel: Geschichte der Orgel- und Klaviermusik bis 1700 (Kassel, 1967; Eng. trans., rev., 1972)
E.H. Meyer: Die mehrstimmige Spielmusik des 17. Jahrhunderts (Kassel, 1934)
Basle, Universität Basel, Öffentliche Bibliothek, Musikabteilung
Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense, sezione Musica
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Recherches sur la musique française classique
Archiv für Musikwissenschaft