(b Basle, Oct 11, 1495; d Basle, April 1562). Swiss humanist, musician and lawyer. The son of the printer Johannes Amerbach, he began studying the classics in Engental (near Basle) as the private pupil of Conrad Leontorius, who in 1507 described him as ‘both talented and lazy’. Between 1507 and 1509 he continued his education in Schlettstadt at the distinguished humanist school run by Hieronymus Gebwiler and by 1510 had matriculated at the University of Basle. In 1513 he was awarded the degree of baccalaureus artium, and upon graduation moved to Freiburg im Breisgau, where as a candidate for the degree of magister artium he specialized in ethics, physics and grammar. While in Freiburg he also began studying law under Ulrich Zasius and later continued these studies with Andrea Alciati in Avignon where, in 1525, he was awarded the degree of doctor juris. It was during his student days that Amerbach’s close relationship with Erasmus began; when the Dutch humanist died in Basle in ...
Pierre M. Tagmann
revised by Giovanni Maria Bacchini
[Fra Teodoro del Carmine]
(b Mantua; fl 1588–1607). Italian singer, composer and theorist. Canal erroneously gave his first name as Girolamo. He was a Carmelite priest. While at the Mantuan court, he wrote a treatise, De musica, now lost. In 1588 he published a madrigal, Più che Diana, in Alfonso Preti’s L’amoroso caccia (RISM 1588¹4), a collection consisting of compositions by Mantuan musicians primarily associated with the church. He also published a book of masses, the Missarum quinque et sex vocum, liber primus (Venice, 1589). In a letter dated 26 November 1594 to the vicar-general of the Carmelite order, Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga requested that Bacchini, a ‘musico castrato’, be exempt from wearing his monk’s habit while singing in the court chamber. In 1594 he accompanied the duke to the Reichstag in Regensburg and in the following year, along with Monteverdi, G.B. Marinone, Serafino Terzi and other musicians from the Gonzaga court, took part in the duke’s military expedition to southern Hungary. A Mantuan court secretary, Fortunato Cardi, described musical performances directed by Monteverdi, in which Bacchini took part, on the eve of the Battle of Visegrad. It has been suggested that Bacchini sang the part of Euridice in the first performances of Monteverdi’s ...
(b Immecke, nr Meinerzhagen, 1536; d Dortmund, Aug 6, 1609). German theorist, teacher and Kantor. He was educated first in Münster and Dortmund, and later at Cologne University where he received the MA in 1560. After serving as teacher, Kantor and administrator for several years in various schools, mainly in Dortmund, he took up a post in 1567 as Kantor at the famous Reinoldi School there; he became Rektor in 1582 in succession to his former teacher and long-standing friend and colleague, Johann Lambach. His work in this post was widely acclaimed and in 1587 he was made Comes Palatinus by Emperor Rudolf II.
He is important for his treatise Erotematum musicae, originally published in 1573 under the title Musicae erotematum, and subsequently reprinted three times. The treatise, of the musica practica type, presents the fundamentals of music in question and answer form. For his formulations Beurhaus borrowed considerably, as was customary in a treatise of this kind, from other German theorists of the time, notably Agricola, Faber (both Gregor and Heinrich), Figulus, Galliculus, Ornithoparchus, Wilfflingseder and Zanger....
(b Assisi; fl 1592–4). Italian music theorist and singer. He is known only as the author of Regole, passaggi di musica, madrigali et motetti passeggiati (Venice, 1594/R; Eng. trans. J. Rosenberg: Historic Brass Society Journal, iv, 1992, pp. 27–44). His skill as a composer and improviser of ornamental passaggi was attested by Damiano Scarabelli, vice-maestro di cappella at Milan Cathedral, in the dedication of his Liber primus motectorum (Venice, 1592). Bovicelli’s treatise is a valuable source of information on improvised vocal ornamentation and virtuoso singing in Italy in the early Baroque period. The book follows the usual format for such manuals; it gives lists of common diminutions of melodic intervals and passages, followed by versions of the soprano lines of several well-known motets, madrigals and falsibordoni, showing how the ornaments were to be applied. The composers represented in the treatise are Palestrina, Rore, Victoria and Claudio Correggio. Their works are so heavily embellished that the lines of the original compositions are at times difficult to detect. In his ...
revised by David Nutter
(b Naples, c1551; d Naples, c1633). Italian theorist, composer and lutenist. He spent his life in Naples. According to Nicolò Tagliaferro (L’esercitio, I-Nf ) he was head of a Neapolitan music confraternity, the Congregazione della Madonna degli Angeli, around 1600. Because so few of his compositions have survived, he is known today only as a theorist. As such he was not an innovator, but his writings are important because they throw light on many aspects of musical practice in the early 17th century. He followed a conservative path, presenting the rules of strict, osservato counterpoint and stressing two aspects that were to be important in later contrapuntal treatises: the improvising of choral counterpoint and the invention of ingenious types of canon and invertible counterpoint.
Cerreto subscribed to the traditional religious and philosophic approach to theory but also expanded the scope of this theory by fitting a number of new practices into its framework. For him, instrumental music was as valid as vocal. In ...
Bonnie J. Blackburn
(b Lodi, 14 Jan 1451; d Milan, 24 June 1522). Italian theorist, composer, and choirmaster. At home in both speculative and practical music, he was the first theorist to have a substantial number of his writings published, and his influence can be traced for more than a century, both in Italy and abroad.
Much of our knowledge stems from the contemporary biography by Pantaleone Malegolo, printed in the De harmonia: Gaffurius was born in Lodi to the soldier Bettino from Almenno in the territory of Bergamo and to Caterina Fissiraga of Lodi. He began theological studies early, at the Benedictine monastery of S. Pietro in Lodi Vecchio (where he was still present in September 1473) and was ordained priest in late 1473 or 1474. His first instructor in music was Johannes Bonadies (or Godendach); Malegolo implies that this was in Lodi, where he briefly returned to sing in the cathedral on Ascension Day, ...
Claude V. Palisca
(b S Maria a Monte, Tuscany, probably in the late 1520s; d Florence, bur. July 2, 1591). Italian theorist, composer, lutenist, singer and teacher. He was the leader of the movement to revive through monody the ancient Greek ideal of the union of music and poetry.
Galilei was probably born later than his traditionally accepted date of birth of about 1520. As a youth he studied the lute. It was probably his playing that attracted the attention of Giovanni de' Bardi, his principal patron, who facilitated his theoretical studies with Zarlino in Venice, probably about 1563. By that time he had settled in Pisa, where in 1562 he married a member of a local noble family. The scientist Galileo (who was born in 1564) was the first of his six or seven children; another was the lutenist Michelagnolo Galilei (b 18 Dec 1575; d 3 Jan 1631...
(b c1465; d before 1515). English musician. He became a chorister at St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 1474, and was a scholar at Eton College (1479–83). In 1483 he became a clerk at King's College, Cambridge, and later a scholar there. In 1487 he was again a clerk at King's, and by 30 September 1489 was back at St George's Chapel, Windsor, as a clerk. In 1493 he was appointed Master of the Choristers there, and he retained both offices until at least 29 September 1499. He is probably the composer of the incomplete two-part piece that begins Lett serch your myndis, ascribed to ‘Hamshere’ in the Fayrfax manuscript ( GB-Lbl Add.5465; ed. in MB, xxxvi, 1975), an important collection of early Tudor songs. It is possible that this piece was written in honour of one of Henry VII's sons, either Arthur or, less likely, Henry (see Stevens)....
Clement A. Miller
(fl 1533–57). French singer, composer and theorist. He was a member of the royal chapel of François I and Henri II of France. Glarean called him ‘Antuacensis’, which may refer to his place of origin.
With the exception of Laudate Dominum, a motet appearing in Glarean's Dodecachordon (modern edition in MSD, vi/2, p.356), other compositions by Le Gendre are found only in Parisian editions. Between 1533 and 1547 Attaingnant printed five of his chansons in various collections and Du Chemin brought out eight more between 1549 and 1557. His many French settings of psalms and canticles, more syllabic than the chansons, were printed by Fezandat in 1552–3. A treatise, Brieve introduction en la musique tant au plain chant que chose faites, published by Attaingnant in 1545, is apparently lost. Le Gendre must have been well known in French circles by the middle of the 16th century, for Rabelais in the ...
Joseph S.C. Lam
[given name, Shangquan ]
(fl 1522–72). Chinese composer, singer and theorist . He played a central role in developing the Kunshan qiang, a regional singing style of the Kunshan area of Jiangsu province that had first emerged in the middle decades of the 14th century, into a national genre of operatic music known as Kunqu that came to dominate the Chinese theatre from the late 16th century and the 17th.
Details of Wei’s biography are vague, but available data describe him as a singer of ‘northern arias’ (beiqu) from Jiangxi province who, after moving to Taicang in Jiangsu province, devoted himself to the development of Kunshan qiang. Finding the original Kunshan qiang bland and lacking in interest, he yet realized its expressive potential, and refined it by incorporating aspects from other contemporary vocal styles. His new version of the Kunshan qiang style featured melismatic melodies perfectly matching the linguistic tones of the lyrics, floating around the accompaniment of ...
revised by Allan W. Atlas
(b Pesaro, c1535; d ?Pesaro, 1598). Italian theorist and singer. He was an Augustinian friar, at one time secretary of the order and provincial of the March of Ancona; he spent three years as court preacher in the service of Duke Francesco Maria II della Rovere at Urbino. At some time between 1568 and 1592 he was tutor to Lodovico Zacconi, probably at the monastery of Valmanente, where Zacconi spent the first years of his monastic life. The three books of Della musica theorica e pratica were compiled about 1591–2. Shortly before his death he retired to Valmanente, where he wrote the Eptamerone (published 1599).
The first book of the Della musica deals with general questions including proportions, mutations and consonances, the second principally with notation, and the third with the rules of composition and counterpoint. The work is essentially a compendium, and draws heavily upon other theorists of the 15th and 16th centuries. Nevertheless, it shows several new insights into traditional problems. Luchini’s main purpose was to simplify the complex musical theory of his time. His exposition is always orderly, concise and rich in musical examples which reveal him as a skilled contrapuntist. Although the treatise is not concerned with speculative questions, such as the controversial debate about ancient and modern music, it nevertheless shows, particularly in the discussion of the relationship between words and music, that Luchini was sensitive to new ideas....
Frank A. D’Accone
(b Florence, Oct 12, 1490; d Rome, Jan 23, 1548). Italian composer, singer and classical scholar. He may have acquired the name ‘Pisano’ as a result of having spent some time in Pisa. Trained at the cathedral school in Florence, he also sang in the chapel of the church of the SS Annunziata as a student. In 1511, after being ordained a priest, he was appointed master of the choristers at the cathedral school and a singer in the chapels at the cathedral and the baptistry. He became master of the cathedral chapel less than a year later. Evidently he obtained the post through the good offices of Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici, whose family had recently been restored to power in Florence.
Shortly after the cardinal’s election to the papacy as Leo X, Pisano went to Rome, where on 20 August 1514 he was appointed a singer in the papal chapel – a position he retained until his death. Leo also gave him several ecclesiastical benefices, among them canonries in the cathedrals of Segovia and Lerida and a chaplaincy in the Medici family church of S Lorenzo in Florence. From ...
Clement A. Miller
(b Göttingen, c1518; d Brunswick, Nov 29, 1567). German Kantor and music theorist. He was a Kantor at the school attached to St Martin, Brunswick, from 1551 to 1567. In 1566 he published a treatise entitled Musicae practicae sive artis canendi elementa (4/1596) in which he made use of several principles advocated by leading theorists of the time. Following Sebald Heyden (De arte canendi, Nuremberg, 1540) Roggius advocated reducing the three hexachords to two, one employing B♮ and the other B♭. He also simplified the rules for mutation. From Glarean (Dodecachordon, Basle, 1547) he took the theory of 12 modes. In his section on mensural music he introduced several polyphonic compositions, including Ludwig Senfl's six-voice canon Laudate Dominum and Johannes Heugel's Veni Creator for three voices. Part of the appeal of the treatise was its question-and-answer format, a procedure popular since medieval times. (...
(b Hersbruck, nr Nuremberg, 5/Dec 6, 1528; d Leipzig, May 12, 1592). German theologian. He attended the Gymnasium in Nuremberg, and as early as 1540 became organist in the castle chapel. As a student in Wittenberg from 1549 he lived in the house of Philipp Melanchthon. In 1558 he second preacher in the Dresden court, but through his involvement in religious quarrels between Lutherans and Philippists (the supporters of Melanchthon), was dismissed in 1564. He obtained an appointment as a professor at Jena in 1565, but was again dismissed after only two years. A move to Leipzig followed, where he taught at the university, became a minister at the Thomaskirche, and was later city superintendent. Except for a period of two years between 1572 and 1574 when he was granted leave of absence to supervise the reform of the church in Brunswick and Oldenburg, he remained active in Leipzig until ...
Bonnie J. Blackburn
(b Bologna, ?26 Oct 1458; d Bologna, 17 Jan 1541). Italian theorist, composer, and choirmaster. His name comes from his family’s occupation: his grandfather was a merchant who dealt in swords. He mentions his age in two letters, which yield a birth year of 1458 or 1459; since he is not listed in the baptismal records, which go back to 1 January 1459, the year is probably 1458, and the day possibly 26 October, the date of two of his wills. Spataro never attended university and did not take holy orders; he may have continued his family’s profession until late in his life (he bequeathed a forge to his ‘compare’).
During the 1490s Spataro was on friendly terms with younger members of the Bentivoglio family: Antongaleazzo received the dedication of his Honesta defensio, and one of his lost treatises was written for Hermes, as well as two masses on pears (a pear appears on Hermes’s arms). Only in ...
(b ?Leipzig, Sept 29, 1526; d Torgau, March 10, 1606). German theorist, editor and Kantor . In 1544 he matriculated at Wittenberg University where he was a pupil and supporter of Coclico; he also held a post in the cathedral Kantorei there, serving under Johann Walter (i). In 1549 on the recommendation of Melanchthon he was appointed Kantor in Meissen, succeeding Johann Reusch. Later the same year he left to take up a similar post in Torgau as successor to Johann Walter (i); he retired from this post in 1604.
Vogt’s most important work is the Definitio, divisio musices, et eius subdivisio (Basle, 1557); it is thought to have been reprinted twice in 1575 under different titles: Stoicheoisis harmonica and Systemata seu scala harmonica. Printed on a large sheet and folded at the centre, this presents in schematic form a classification of the whole field of music, together with humanistic poems by Coler, Diaconus, Fabricius, Melanchthon and Siberus, diagrams representing the mathematical ratios of the musical intervals, two short two-part canons and pictorial representations of legendary figures important in music (e.g. Tubal, Pythagoras, Orpheus), each of which is accompanied by two lines of Latin verse (distichs)....
Clement A. Miller
(b Resel, Värmland, c1486; d Frankfurt an der Oder, Nov 12, 1552). German humanist, physician, writer and musician . The generally accepted birthdate for him is about 1486, but according to Pietzsch it is 1501. In 1516 he entered the University of Frankfurt an der Oder, where he probably studied music under Johann Volckmar. After graduating he taught music from 1522 to 1539. In 1524 Willich became professor of Greek and in 1540 professor of medicine. Although he retained his connection with the university until his death, he was frequently called to other countries (such as Poland and Hungary) because of his renown as a physician. He corresponded with Erasmus and was personally acquainted with Luther, Melanchthon and Glarean. More than 60 writings on philology, antiquity, philosophy, theology, law, medicine, mathematics and music, some of which remained current into the 18th century, gave Willich a position as one of the outstanding German humanists of his time. An ardent lutenist, he founded about ...