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Article

Roger Bowers

(b c1420; d 1497). English church musician. He was noted as a fine singer and skilful organist. After service in the household of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (until 1447), and as a lay clerk of Eton College (1447–51), where he was one of the four clerks specially responsible for singing polyphony in the college chapel, he became a clerk of the Chapel Royal in 1451, and Master of the Choristers there from 1455 to 1478. His duties included teaching the boys to play the organ and to sing plainsong and improvised polyphony; also it seems probable that he was instrumental in the introduction about this time of the use of boys’ voices in composed polyphony. The award to him in 1464 of a Cambridge MusB reflects his eminence in the musical profession – he is the earliest known recipient of this degree – while the patronage of Bishop Bekynton brought him valuable sinecures in the diocese of Bath and Wells. His last years were spent as a resident of Sanctuary Yard, Westminster Abbey....

Article

Owen Wright

[ibn Ghaybī al-Marāghi]

(b Maragh; d Herat, 1435). Timurid composer, performer and theorist. He first rose to prominence in the service of the Jalā’irid rulers of Iraq and Azerbaijan, al-Ḥusayn (1374–82) and Aḥmad (1382–1410). After the conquest of Baghdad by Tīmūr (1393), most of his career was spent in Samarkand and, especially, Herat, at the courts of Tīmūr and of his successors al-Khalīl (1404–9) and Shāh Rukh (1409–47).

‘Abd al-Qādir was one of the most important and influential theorists of the Systematist school. His most substantial surviving works are the Jāmi‘ al-al ḥān (‘Compendium of melodies’), largely completed in 1405 and revised in 1413, and the slighter Maqāṣid al-al ḥān (‘Purports of melodies’), which covers essentially the same ground and probably dates from 1418. Written in Persian, which was by then the language of culture, these works proved particularly influential among later 15th-century theorists; but although both thoughtful and highly competent, on the theoretical side they may be regarded as, essentially, restatements and amplifications of the theory elaborated by ...

Article

Emilio Ros-Fábregas

(b Ecija, province of Seville, c1460; d after 1524). Spanish poet, vihuelist and composer. He was one of the leading Castilian poets of the generation of Juan del Encina; one of his poems received a response by Pedro de Cartagena, who died in 1485. His poetic style, quick-witted sallies and ingenious conceits were praised long after his death by Lope de Vega and Baltasar Gracián. His poetry is characterized by a desperate amatory vein in which suffering and death are always present. He is supposed to have been imprisoned for some time, owing to a madness brought on by an incestuous passion for a close relation, probably his sister. He is last recorded attending an imperial feast in Toledo in 1525.

The Cancionero General (Valencia, 1511/14/R, 2/1520/R) contains eight poems attributed to ‘Badajoz el músico’, and there are five villancicos and three canciones ascribed to ‘Badajoz’ in the ...

Article

Michel Renault

(b in or near Le Mans, c1525–30; d after 1584). French lutenist and composer. According to La Croix du Maine (Les bibliothèques françoises de La Croix du Maine et de Du Verdier, Paris, 1772–3/R, ii, 11) he was working in Maine in 1584. His only known work was published in Paris in 1556 by Nicolas Du Chemin: the Premier livre contenant plusieurs motetz, chansons & fantasies reduictz en tabulature de leut (ed. M. Renault, Paris, 1976) which contains eight vocal transcriptions and seven fantasias. Six of the songs (by Arcadelt, Gentian, Certon, Pathie and Sandrin) are highly ornate, and show Belin to have been an accomplished virtuoso and a skilful elaborator of vocal polyphony. The other two transcriptions (a motet, Cantate Domino, and a song, Les bourguignons) are intabulated without ornamentation, and since they bear no indication of authorship it is possible that they are by Belin himself....

Article

Franz Krautwurst

revised by Beth Bullard

(b c1475; d between 1520 and 1532). German lutenist and composer. From September 1503 at the latest (probably earlier) he was court lutenist to Maximilian I; in this capacity he was in Augsburg in 1509 and 1518. He was made a citizen of Nuremberg on 5 August 1514; the document recording this event refers to him as ‘the good lute player’. In 1515 he was employed there for two years ‘so that he might with even more diligence teach young persons how to play the lute and other instruments’. As late as 1520 Dürer ranked him as one of the three best lutenists of his time in the inscription on the portrait of the Antwerp lutenist Captain Felix Hungersperger. In the early 1530s Hans Gerle spoke of him in Musica teusch (Nuremberg, 1532) and Tabulatur auff die Laudten (Nuremberg, 1533) as being dead.

Gerle was probably Blindhamer's pupil in Nuremberg: in the two treatises mentioned above he singled out Blindhamer for praise of his playing style, his skill in ornamenting, and his teachings on notating rhythms. By citing ‘so widely celebrated a master’ as being adept and successful within the conceptual framework of German lute tablature, Gerle defended his own use of this notation against its detractors, most notably Martin Agricola in his ...

Article

Daniel Heartz

(fl Paris, 1st half of the 16th century). French lutenist. He was a singer at the Ste Chapelle in 1506, and in 1532 was paid as a music copyist for the royal chapel. Attaingnant printed a Pavane Blondeau and several pieces for lute in the same style signed ‘P.B.’ in ...

Article

[de Bruzellis, del Chitarino ]

(b Ferrara, ?1417; d Ferrara, Sept 20, 1497). Italian lutenist and singer , one of the most important musicians in Italy in the 15th century. He spent most of his career at the Este court in Ferrara, with periods of service at Milan, Naples, Mantua and the Hungarian court. He is first documented in 1441 as a member of the household of Leonello d'Este, marquis of Ferrara, who gave him the considerable sum of 20 gold ducats (the same amount Du Fay had received in 1437). His reputation grew during his service with Leonello in the 1440s and his successor Borso d'Este in the 1450s and 1460s, by which time he was reported to be earning 1000 ducats a year (chiefly in gifts). The first of several portrait medals of him was struck in 1447. He was in close contact with Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, in the mid-1450s and early 1460s, visiting Milan in ...

Article

Arthur J. Ness

(b Brescia, 1474; d ?Brescia, after 1548). Italian nobleman, lutenist and composer. He lived in Brescia in 1489, 1498 and again in 1548, and Gombosi surmised that he may have been the phenomenal Brescian lutenist who visited the court of Henry VIII in 1515. By 1517 he was in Venice, where between 1515 and 1520 one of his pupils prepared a lavishly illuminated manuscript of his music, the so-called Capirola Lutebook (now in US-Cn , facs., Florence, 1981), the most important document of Italian lute composition and playing from the decades between Petrucci’s publications of works by Spinacino, Giovan Maria, Dalza and Bossinensis (1507–11), and the first prints of Francesco da Milano’s music in 1536 (for facsimile, see Notation, fig.98).

Capirola’s music varies in difficulty from ‘easy little things’ for novices to works demanding great virtuoso technique. The manuscript comprises some 23 intabulations of vocal music of the type published by Petrucci between ...

Article

William F. Prizer

[MarcoMarcusMarchettus]

(b Verona, c1465; d Mantua, 1525). Italian composer, singer and lutenist. With Bartolomeo Tromboncino he was one of the two most important composers of frottolas in the early 16th century. During his career he was the central figure in music at the Mantuan court, establishing the way for such composers as Jacquet of Mantua, Giaches de Wert and, eventually, Claudio Monteverdi.

Cara was born in Verona, the son of Antonio and Domenica Cara. His father was a tailor and barber. Cara trained as a cleric, almost assuredly at the Scuola degli Accoliti in his native city. He was already in Mantua in the service of the Gonzaga court by 1494; in 1497, he was apparently lent to Cardinal Giovanni Colonna when he was listed as ‘familiaris’ of the cardinal. In this year, too, he gave up the cloth and renounced his benefices to his younger brother Benedetto (...

Article

Arthur J. Ness

[Adler, Marx vom]

(b c1480; d after 1538). Italian lutenist and composer. In 1505 the Venetian Signory granted him a ten-year privilege to publish lute tablatures in competition with Petrucci. Although no publications issued under this licence are known, the main source of Dall’Aquila’s works ( D-Mbs 266) may have been copied from a printed tablature now lost. His reputation was such that in about 1524 Pietro Aaron consulted him on a question of music theory, to the amazement of Giovanni Spataro who doubted whether a ‘musician [Aaron] should seek to have the light of intelligence from a strummer of instruments’; Pietro Aretino, in a letter from Venice dated December 1537, mentioned ‘my master Marco Dall’Aquila’.

Stylistically and chronologically Dall’Aquila stands slightly before Francesco da Milano, his junior by some 15 years. Although his prelude and two of the ricercares emulate the quasi-improvisatory abstract pieces by Petrucci’s lutenists (published between ...

Article

Joan Wess

revised by Victor Anand Coelho

(b ?Milan; fl 1508). Italian lutenist and composer. He was the composer and arranger of Petrucci’s Intabolatura de lauto libro quarto (Venice, 1508), in the preface of which he is called ‘milanese’. Dalza's book was the fourth of Petrucci's series of lute tablatures and is one of the precious few surviving sources of Italian lute music from the crucial period leading up to the first printed works by Francesco da Milano in 1536. Whereas intabulations of Franco-Flemish music had dominated Petrucci's earlier lutebooks by Spinacino and Giovan Maria, Dalza's book favoured dance forms and presented mostly original music that was almost entirely instrumental in conception. Moreover, Dalza's music differs from Spinacino's by its deliberately accessible style, the author justifying his choice of ‘simple’ pieces on the grounds of popular demand and promising to publish pieces for more advanced players at a later date. There are 42 dances (three for two lutes), nine ricercares, five ...

Article

Maricarmen Gómez

(b ?Seville, before 1400; d after 1457). Spanish instrumentalist . He was among the most famous musicians who served the Trastámara family, and formed part of the entourage which Fernando I of Castile took with him when he took possession of the Aragonese throne in 1412. After entering the service of Alfonso V the Magnanimous as ‘ministril de cámara’, he visited the Count of Foix. Two years later he visited the courts of Navarre and Castile with his servant Diego, who was a singer. He then went to Naples with Alfonso, who in August 1421 awarded him the title of ‘Consul of the Castilians’ in Palermo. In December 1423 he was in Barcelona. Rodrigo and Diego, ‘lute and guitar players’, were mentioned for the last time in an Aragonese document of 6 January 1427. On 15 August 1458 Rodrigo took part in the procession of the Assumption in Toledo. The repertory of Rodrigo and Diego, like that of their colleagues, probably included Spanish ...

Article

Howard Mayer Brown

revised by David Fallows

(b before c1429; d after 1472). French playwright and musician. By 17 July 1450, when he is mentioned as organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, he was already designated magister; on 19 October of that year he also became magister cantus puerorum and soon afterwards magister grammatrice, thereby quite exceptionally holding all three posts simultaneously. He resigned the position of organist on 4 January 1454, and left the cathedral at the end of April 1455 to enter the service of Charles, Count of Maine (younger brother of King René of Anjou). He was received as a Bachelor of Theology on 28 September 1456.

Before the end of 1452 Greban wrote a gigantic mystery play, La nativité, la passion et la résurrection de nostre Saulveur Jhesu-Crist, as the title-page of the principal manuscript source reads ( F-Pn fr.816). It took four days to perform and had over 200 individual roles. It was one of the most successful of the 15th-century mystery plays; all or parts of it were produced repeatedly in various French towns. The version of the first day in ...

Article

John Griffiths

(b ?Granada; d nr Naples, May 1, 1528). Spanish vihuelist and composer. Apparently a native of Granada, he perished while observing the naval battle of the Gulf of Salerno aboard the Spanish commander’s vessel. Praised as one of the most talented vihuelists of his time, Guzmán was one of the earliest exponents of the seven-course vihuela. No works survive, although his tablatures were collected for publication by Luys de Narváez in the 1530s and were still in circulation when Bermudo wrote of him in Declaracion de instrumentos musicales (1555). Remembered posthumously for having ‘made the strings speak’ and for his sweet voice, he was also noted for his use of scordatura. Bermudo reported that he had intabulated works using irregular tunings, and also that he would play in standard vihuela tuning except for one string on either the third or the fourth course being tuned to another note....

Article

Wolfgang Boetticher

(b Schwäbisch Gmünd, c1445–50; d Vienna, early March 1526). German lutenist, composer and probably lute maker. His family came from Württemberg; his father may have been one Hartmann Judenkünig. He is first recorded in 1518 as a lutenist in the Corpus Christi confraternity at the Stephansdom in Vienna; he had probably already been working as a musician there for some time, and he lived in the oldest quarter of Vienna in a house called the ‘Gundlachhaus’, later celebrated under the name of ‘Köllnerhof’ as a centre for musicians and merchants. Although he was not a member of the nobility, his prominent position as a citizen is indicated by a coat of arms depicting a string player, which appeared in both his books; both books also include a full-page woodcut showing a bearded lutenist (probably Judenkünig himself), together with a pupil playing a large viol. Judenkünig was in contact with the learned humanistic community of Vienna: he arranged some of the odes of Petrus Tritonius, and he seems also to have been familiar with the ideals of the poetic-mathematical circle around Conrad Celtis. His date of death at an advanced age was recorded in the margin of one copy of his ...

Article

John M. Ward

( fl 1507–39). Italian organist. According to his contemporary, Marino Sanuto, he was a Crutched friar . He was a pupil of Paul Hofhaimer and became first organist of S Marco, Venice, from 1507 to 1516. With the doge's permission, he left Venice for London in September 1516, bringing with him ‘a most excellent instrument’, presumably an organ. The reports of the Venetian ambassador, Giustiniani, contain several references to Memo and his triumphs at the English court: that through the offices of Henry VIII he was released from his monastic vows, given a chaplaincy by the king and made ‘chief of his instrumental musicians’; how he was required to play frequently at court, often before foreign ambassadors, and once for four hours at Windsor, where the king had gone to escape the plague. Memo appears to have acted as an agent for the Venetians: in one of his reports to the signory, Giustiniani mentions asking Memo ‘to make his report’. Such political activities may have led to his sudden departure from England (‘for fear of his life’, according to Sanuto) sometime before ...

Article

Christoph Wolff

(b Nuremberg, c1410; d Munich, Jan 24, 1473). German organist, lutenist and composer. He was born blind, probably the son of an established craftsman family in Nuremberg, a free imperial town with a flourishing cultural life. The patrician Ulrich Grundherr, and from 1423 onwards his son Paul Grundherr, sponsored the talented but heavily handicapped young musician. Nothing specific, however, is known about his musical training. From at least as early as 1446 Paumann occupied the post of organist at St Sebaldus in Nuremberg, where the main organ had been built by Heinrich Traxdorff of Mainz in 1440–41. In 1446 he became engaged to Margarete Weichsler of Nuremberg. He undertook at that time not to leave the town without the permission of the town council. He was appointed official town organist in 1447.

He had by then already acquired a reputation as Germany's foremost organist. Hans Rosenplüt's poem eulogizing the town of Nuremberg (...

Article

William F. Prizer

(b Verona, c1470; d, May 1528). Italian priest, composer, singer and lutenist. With Tromboncino and Cara, he was one of the most important frottola composers. He was born in Verona in about 1470, the son of Alberto and Umilia Pesenti. Since he was a priest, he must have studied at the Scuola degli Accoliti in his native city, an institution founded by Pope Eugene IV that produced other cleric-composers, among them Marchetto Cara. Pesenti’s first known position was in Ferrara, where he served Cardinal Ippolito I d’Este, acting as a procurer of music and instruments as well as a lutenist, singer and composer. Already in 1504 he wrote to the cardinal from Venice promising to come to Ferrara as soon as an unnamed gentleman returned his lute. From 1506 his name appears in Ippolito’s payment registers, and it remains there, except for a probably illusory break in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

(b Vienna, Austria, 1370; d Nuremberg, Germany, 1401). Viennese physician, medical astrologer, organist, and presumed harpsichord maker. The earliest dated reference to what might be a harpsichord is in a letter from Padua of 1397 that names Hermann Poll as its inventor. Poll earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Vienna between 1388 and 1395. In 1397 Poll went to the University of Pavia to study medicine (MD, 1398), and en route met the Paduan jurist Giovanni Lodovico Lambertacci, who asked Poll to deliver a cup to his son-in-law in Pavia. In the letter, Lambertacci wrote to his son-in-law describing Poll as ‘a very ingenious young man and inventor of an instrument called the clavicembalum.’ At the age of 31, Poll was discovered in a plot to poison the Elector Palatine of the Rhine, and died on the wheel.

R. Strohm: ‘Die private Kunst und das öffentliche Schicksal von Hermann Poll, dem Erfinder des Cembalos’, ...

Article

Hans Radke

(b ?Padua, c1495; d Padua, 1549). Italian lutenist. Canon Scardeonius of Padua wrote in 1560 that Rotta was not only virtually unrivalled in Italy as a lutenist, but was also an excellent teacher and had grown quite rich by giving lessons on the lute. Scardeonius also mentioned that Rotta had published ‘praecepta notabilia’ for playing the lute, presumably meaning the appendix to Rotta’s Intabolatura (Venice, 1546), ‘Regula alli lettori’, an introduction to the lute based on Italian tablature. The Intabolatura contains intabulations of six French chansons, six madrigals, four motets by Jacquet of Mantua, Mouton, Willaert and Gombert, 26 dances and dance-songs and six ricercares. The composers of the vocal models are Arcadelt, de Porta, Costanzo Festa, Maille, Robert Meigret, Rogier Pathie and Nicolas Payen. Rotta’s own dance suites comprise passamezzo, galliard and paduana in triple time. The galliard and paduana are developed from the passamezzo, using different rhythms. The writing is chordal but enlivened by diminutions. Some of his ricercares are in an imitative polyphonic style, others are more impromptu in character....