(b Lisbon, 1437; d Venice, 1508). Philosopher and biblical exegete. His writing on music forms the introduction to his commentary on Exodus xv (the ‘Song of the Sea’, 1505; I-Rvat Rossiano 925, also printed in Venice in 1579). Relying on earlier sources including Ibn Rushd's commentary on Aristotle's Poetics and Moses ibn Tibbon's commentary on the Song of Solomon, Abrabanel describes three kinds of verse set to music: with metre and rhyme, as in Hebrew hymns (piyyutim); without metre or rhyme, yet arranged in a succession of short and long lines (as in the ‘Song of the Sea’); and metaphorical texts, by which he appears to refer to Psalms. Whereas, for him, the first and third kinds do not require music to qualify as poetry (prosodic considerations prevail in the first, conceptual ones in the third), the second kind does (its construction depends on its musical usage). Yet all three kinds rely on music for their usual mode of presentation. The author recognizes different functions for music in conjunction with poetry: to serve as a mnemonic device for retaining the texts, to improve the understanding of their content, and to elevate the spirit....
(b Groningen, 1443; d Heidelberg, Oct 28, 1485). German humanist and philosopher who was also active as a musician. His early studies took place in Groningen, but in the late 1460s he travelled to Italy for further humanistic training. In 1468 he was at the University of Pavia, where he studied jurisprudence for several years. Later he transferred to Ferrara, where he studied Greek at the Studio and in 1476 delivered a Latin oration for the opening of the academic year in the presence of Duke Ercole I d’Este of Ferrara. This oration praised Duke Ercole’s musical abilities with more than rhetorical flattery; Ercole was remarkably interested in music, and Agricola was formally engaged in December 1476 as organist of the ducal chapel, one of the largest and most opulent in Europe. Agricola’s appointment is confirmed by archival records and by his letters (see Allen); in a letter written at Easter ...
[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 ...
Charles E. Brewer
(b Genoa, Feb 14, 1404; d Rome, April 3, 1472). Italian humanist, architect and writer. His formal studies began at the gymnasium of Gasparino Barzizza at Padua, where he became friends with Tommaso Parentucelli (later Pope Nicholas V). He went to Bologna, probably in 1421, to study law but became increasingly interested in mathematics, and met the polymath Paolo Toscanelli. In 1431, Alberti joined the Papal civil service in Rome, becoming Papal inspector of monuments (1447–55). He held various ecclesiastical posts, becoming successively prior of S Martino in Gangalandi at Signa, near Florence, rector of Borgo San Lorenzo and canon of Florence Cathedral.
Early in his career, Alberti was influenced by Filippo Brunelleschi, to whom he dedicated the De pictura (1435). While in Rome, Alberti expanded his knowledge of classical architecture and sculpture through his survey of the city's monuments (Descriptio urbis Romae...
(b c1435; d after 1504). Italian philosopher and biblical exegete. He wrote briefly on music in his Ḥesheq shelomoh (‘Solomon's desire’), a commentary on the Song of Solomon, written during the period 1488–92 at the request of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Music is discussed in relation to Hebrew poetics, then classified for its varieties and described for its powers. Under poetics, Alemanno notes that the word shir (‘song’) applies to poetry and music and, within music, to both vocal and instrumental types; he then discerns its usage in three species of poetry: metric and rhymed; non-metric and non-rhymed; and metaphorical. In accordance with the Latin music theorists Alemanno recognizes three kinds of music: natural, artificial and theoretical; the first two refer respectively to vocal and instrumental music and the third (nigun sikhli) to what other Hebrew theorists designate as ḥokhmat ha-musiqah (‘the science of music’). On the effect of music, Alemanno notes its power to awaken love on both earthly (or secular) and divine (or sacred) planes, which correspond to what he conceives as the two exegetical planes – the literal and the allegorical – for interpreting the ...
revised by Bonnie J. Blackburn
(b Parma, before 1386; d c1440–43). Italian scholar and theorist. His many works, covering topics such as astronomy, astrology and medicine, also include a treatise De musica, notable for its influence on Gaffurius. He studied as a youth in Pavia and in about 1428 practised medicine in Ferrara, each time returning to Parma, where he was a member of a distinguished family.
The only remaining copy of Anselmi's treatise is Gaffurius’s well-glossed mid-century exemplar ( I-Ma H 233 Inf.). Written in April 1434, the work was purportedly the record of conversations between Anselmi and Pietro dei Rossi which took place in September 1433 at the Bagni di Corsena (now Bagni di Lucca). The treatise presents in dialogue form the topics of harmonia celestis, harmonia instrumentalis and harmonia cantabilis; each part represents one day’s conversation. The influence of the medieval tripartite division is apparent, and although he did not disagree with the main ideas, Anselmi did not accept certain details of the Boethian doctrines (e.g. the division of the tone)....
(b Spain, c1420; d Naples, 1494). Rabbi and philosopher. Following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, he settled in Naples. He referred to music under the heading nigun ‘olam (‘cosmic music’) in chapter 12 of his ‘Aqedat Yits ḥaq (‘Binding of Isaac’), a homiletic interpretation of the Pentateuch which survives in a manuscript source ( I-Ra Or.58) and in a print from Salonika (now Thessaloníki), dated 1522. Expounding the theme of cosmic order, i.e. harmony, Arama established its existence on lower and higher levels, hence the relationship between the micro- and macrocosm, or music as made and performed by man and music as divine harmony. On both levels, music is governed by scriptural precepts; and he who observes them is in greater harmony with the ‘greater instrument’. Arama saw the laws of music as enfolded in the laws of Torah; the study of Torah thus becomes a form of music-making. Failure to obey the scriptures leads to deficient harmony, or dissonance, which ends in destruction. Torah is powerful only if the soul of the believer is tuned to its ordinances. That the microcosm is subordinate to the macrocosm follows from Arama's general premise that divine truth is superior to human reasoning, i.e. philosophy, and that when the two are in conflict, or ‘out of tune’, philosophy yields to the Holy Writ. It is for man to redress the imbalance, restoring consonance through faith....
[Arènes, Antoine desDe la Sable, AntoineDu Sablon, Antoine]
(b Solliès, [now Solliès-Pont, Var], late 15th century; d Saint Rémy, Bouches du Rhône, or Solliès, after 1543). French dance theorist and man of letters. In 1519 he began to study law at the University of Avignon, after completing his studies he joined the French troops that invaded Italy. Late in 1528 he returned to Provence and spent several years in Aix until he was named juge ordinaire of Saint Rémy in 1536.
The most widely read of Arena’s writings is the dance instruction manual Ad suos compagnones studiantes qui sunt de persona friantes bassas danzas de nova bragarditer (Avignon, ?1519), which also includes an account of his experiences in the Italian campaign. Its 32 editions published between 1519 and 1770 testify to its popularity. The sections on dance date from Arena’s student days in Avignon; the main subject is the basse danse as it was practised in the south of France. 58 basses danses ‘qui ne sont pas communes’ are given with their choreography in the traditional French-Burgundian letter tablature, the only difference being that the letter ‘b’ (...
(b Zwolle, late 14th or early 15th century; d Paris, Sept 6, 1466). Franco-Flemish physician, astrologer, astronomer and author of a treatise on musical instruments, of which he was presumably also a maker. Even if he did not, as has been assumed, study at the University of Paris, he would have become familiar with much of its curriculum through Jean Fusoris, whom Arnaut called his master. Fusoris, who had received degrees in theology, arts and medicine at the University, was a physician, astrologer, astronomer and prolific maker of astronomical and horological devices. By 1432 Arnaut had entered the service of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, as ‘professeur en medecine’, ‘astronomien’ and ‘maistre … en astrologie’. Between 1454 and 1461 he left the Burgundian court in Dijon and entered the service of the French king in Paris (Charles VII, and later Louis XI), where he died of the plague....
[Arnulphus de Sancto Gilleno]
(fl c1400). Writer on music. He was presumably from St Ghislain in Hainaut and was possibly a member of its Benedictine community. One work by him is known, the Tractatulus de differentiis et gradibus cantorum, found only in St Paul im Lavanttal ( A-SPL 264/4). Using highly coloured language, it surveys various kinds of musician. These comprise, firstly, those who know nothing about music, and who sing their parts in the reverse of the way they should; secondly, laymen, often ignorant of the art, who cultivate trained musicians so that natural industriousness and practice makes good their deficiencies, including certain clerics who compose difficult pieces for instruments; thirdly, those whose voices are defective but who study music and teach their pupils what they cannot perform themselves; and fourthly, those with fine voices and a knowledge of musical art, singing according to rule with modus, mensura, numerus and ...
[Prosdocimo de' Beldomandi ]
( d Padua, 1428). Italian music theorist, mathematician and physician . His treatises on music are particularly important in the areas of mensuration, counterpoint (including musica ficta) and tuning.
Prosdocimus studied at the universities of Padua and Bologna, took the doctorate in arts at Padua on 15 May 1409, and received the licence in medicine on 15 April 1411; he taught at Padua on a variety of subjects, including astrology, astronomy, mathematics and experimental philosophy, the arts and medicine, from 1422 (possibly 1420) until 1428, the year of his death. He wrote treatises on all four quadrivial arts; the manuscript I-Fl Ashburnham 206, in Prosdocimus's hand and dating from his student days, contains treatises (many of them standard works of the day) on the computus, arithmetic, music, astronomy, astrology, the quadrant and the astrolabe, and medicine, alongside the statutes of the Paduan college of arts and medicine and dozens of prescriptions against ills of various types....
(b ?Liegnitz [now Legnica], c1494; d after 1527). German theorist. The family residence in Liegnitz is documented from 1381, but the name is absent from the town records begun in 1546. Bogentantz attended the Gymnasium in Goldberg, and in 1508 he matriculated in the faculty of arts of Cologne University, where he may have been the pupil of Cochlaeus and fellow student of Glarean. In 1516 he was granted the status of magister, and he probably taught there for two years in accordance with the faculty regulations. In 1525 he matriculated at Wittenberg University, perhaps to study theology; he returned to Liegnitz in 1527. No documents have been found to support Bauch’s theory that Bogentantz was rector of the parish school of St Peter and St Paul Liegnitz, from about 1530.
Bogentantz wrote a music treatise, Collectanea utriusque cantus … musicam discere cupientibus oppido necessaria (Cologne, 1515...
Bonnie J. Blackburn
[‘Auritus’ (‘Big Ears’)]
(fl ? c1450). Italian theorist. He is the otherwise unknown author (possibly from Bizzolano, a quarter of Canneto sull’Oglio west of Mantua) of a short treatise for boys, Introductiones artis musice (incomplete in I-Vnm lat.Cl.VIII.85 (3579), ff.61 v–67 v, copied in Mantua and Bozzolo in 1463–4). Book 1 treats letters, notes, hexachords, avoidance of the tritone, and intervals in summary fashion. Book 2, on the species of intervals, is copied largely verbatim from Book 2 of Johannes Ciconia’s ...
[Borckhart, Burchard, Burckhart, Burgardus, Purckhart; Ulrich]
(b Waischenfeld, c1484). German music theorist and theologian. He attended the cathedral school in Bamberg and in 1500 entered Leipzig University where he became Bachelor of Arts in 1507, Master of Arts in 1511 and from 1513 until 1515 taught as Master of Law. In 1515 he joined the theology faculty, but left Leipzig in 1516 and returned to Bamberg, where he was court chaplain until 1527 and served the prince-bishops Georg III of Limburg and Weigand von Redwitz. In Bamberg he got to know Tilman Riemenschneider and Albrecht Dürer and in 1517, 1518 and 1520 had contact with von Hutten. The publication of Burchardi’s Ein schöner Dialog von dem christlichen Glauben (Bamberg, 1527), in which he presented a German translation of his treatise Dialogus de fide christiana (Bamberg, 1522), a work in the spirit of Erasmus’s reforming zeal, led to his dismissal from the service of the prince-bishops. He resumed his teaching at Leipzig University and in ...
Clement A. Miller
revised by Bonnie J. Blackburn
(b Parma, c1453; d Parma, Aug 1528). Italian music theorist, poet and chronicler. He was a member of a noble Parmesan family and was destined for the religious life. During the course of his seminary training he studied music with the well-known theorist Johannes Gallicus. He was ordained as sub-deacon on 28 March 1472 and promoted to priest by 1478. He then began to study canon law at Bologna, where he seems to have enjoyed the patronage of the powerful Bentivoglio family. When Annibale Bentivoglio married Lucrezia, daughter of Ercole d’Este, in 1486, Burzio celebrated the event in verse: his Musarum nympharumque is dedicated to Antongaleazzo Bentivoglio. By 1498 Burzio had returned to Parma and by 1503 he held benefices in two Benedictine monasteries. In December 1504 he was named guardacoro at Parma Cathedral, a post he held until his death.
Although Burzio was active as a poet and historian of Bologna and Parma (on these works, see Rizzi), his most significant work is the ...
F. Alberto Gallo
(b ?Sant'Agata; d Capua, 1434). Italian theorist. He was a Benedictine at the monastery of Montevergine (Avellino), and prior of the abbey of Capua. His treatise Regule contrapuncti, in an addition to the manuscript I-Rvat Barberini lat.307, is dated 13 July 1431. It begins with a description of the nine consonances, five perfect (unison, 5th, octave, 12th, 15th) and four imperfect (3rd, 6th [major and minor], 10th, 13th), and continues with illustrations of their possible combinations in compositions for two voices. At the end of the same manuscript, under the date ...
[ Capoa ]
( b ?Capua; fl 1415; d ?after 1460). Italian theorist . He may be identifiable with the presbyter Nicolaus quondam Iohannis de Traconibus de Capua, who was a mansionario and tenorista at the cathedrals of Udine (1432–5), where he sang with the composer Christoforus de Monte, and Treviso (1439–42). Nicolaus became a mansionario at Vicenza Cathedral (1442–61), attracted by that city’s better climate (this transfer was expressly approved by the Bishop of Treviso, Ludovico Barbo). He remained at Vicenza until 1461, when he apparently retired to the rural church of S Maria in Montebello Vicentino.
Nicolaus’s Compendium musicale of 1415 (ed. A. de La Fage, Paris, 1853) offers a full treatment of the theory of cantus planus compiled from different sources and written in just the sort of clear, didactic style that would be most useful to a tenorista as leader of a choir in plainchant and polyphony. The section on ...
Barbara H. Haggh
[Carlier, Gilles; Charlier, Gilles]
( b Cambrai, c 1400; d Paris, Nov 23, 1472). French theologian, theorist and poet . After studying and teaching in Paris until 1432, he acquired a reputation at the Council of Basle for his disputations with the Hussites. The council deputed him to Bohemia in 1433, and in 1434 he was sent to the court of Charles VII of France in an effort to end the Hundred Years War. In 1436 (1431 according to Fétis) he was appointed dean of Cambrai Cathedral, an office he held to the end of his life. From the 1450s he divided his attentions between Cambrai and the Collège de Navarre, Paris. He produced numerous theological, devotional and controversial writings, some of which were posthumously published in Sporta fragmentorum and Sportula fragmentorum (Brussels, 1478–9). The latter volume contains his Tractatus de duplici ritu cantus ecclesiastici in divinis officiis (ed. in Strohm and Cullington). The treatise, probably written late in Carlerius’s life, is a defence of the singing of polyphony in the divine service, citing classical, biblical and patristic writers on the value and effects of music. Tinctoris’s ...
( fl c1370). Theorist and composer. He was active in Avignon c1370, and his residence at the Papal court there is confirmed by his ballade Par les bons Gedeons which pays homage to the antipope Clement VII (1378–94). The extent of his theoretical writing is disputed. Arlt has argued that the ascription of the Tractatus figurarum (or Tractatus de diversis figuris) to Egidius de Murino is incorrect; it also survives with ascriptions to Philippus de Caserta ( I-FZc ) and Magister Phillipotus Andreas ( US-Cn ). The doubtful suggestion by Strohm (following Pirrotta) that the two are identical is supported by the association of Caserta with the Visconti court of Pavia, where the latter manuscript was copied. If this is correct, there are five treatises that survive with dubious ascriptions to Caserta. (Four of these treatises occur in a manuscript from the second half of the 15th century. This source is closely associated with John Hothby's teaching.)...
Bonnie J. Blackburn
(fl 1492). Italian theorist. A pupil of Franchinus Gaffurius, he is the nominal author of Tractato vulgare de canto figurato (Milan, 1492; facs., with Ger. trans. by J. Wolf, Veröffentlichungen der Musik-Bibliothek Paul Hirsch, ser.1, i, Berlin 1922). This treatise, dedicated by Gaffurius to Filippino Fiesco, is a greatly abbreviated translation of Gaffurius's ...