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(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....

Article

(b Atri, 1458; d Conversano, Jan 19, 1529). Italian humanist, patron and theorist. He was a member of the Accademia Pontaniana in Naples and initiated a long-standing tradition of musical culture in the family of the dukes of Atri, who were important patrons; his son Giovanni Antonio Donato was also a lira player. Acquaviva d’Aragona financed the Neapolitan printer Antonio de Frizis and housed the press in his palace in Naples. One of the earliest examples of music printing in the kingdom of Naples was the Motetti libro primo printed by De Frizis in 1519 (it is no longer extant, but a copy was owned by Fernando Colón). In 1526 De Frizis printed Acquaviva d’Aragona’s Latin translation of Plutarch’s De virtute morali, which was followed by an extensive Latin commentary including a 76-page treatise De musica (the whole was reprinted in Frankfurt in 1609). Notable for its wealth of illustrations and for its incorporation into a broader context addressed to humanists in general rather than to a specialized musical readership, the treatise is largely based on the writings of Boethius and Gaffurius, and takes as its point of departure Plutarch’s observations on music’s power of suggestion. The ...

Article

Anna Maria Busse Berger

(fl early 16th century). South Netherlandish scribe. He was previously thought to be a theorist and priest at the church of St Martin at Akkergem near Ghent, but was in fact Anthony of St Maartensdijk, a small town on the Dutch island of Tholen. He copied folios 63–206 of the manuscript ...

Article

Anna Maria Busse Berger

(b Schwiebus [now Świebodzin, Poland], c1486; d Magdeburg, June 10, 1556). German music theorist, teacher and composer. According to his own statements, he came from a peasant family and was largely self-taught in music. By 1520 he was in Magdeburg working as a music teacher. He became choirmaster of the Protestant Lateinschule in about 1525 and retained this position until his death.

Agricola was one of the earliest teachers of music to realize Luther's wish to incorporate music as a central component of Protestant education. His foremost aim in educating students and congregation was to present material as clearly as possible and to reach a large audience. It was for this reason that his early treatises were written in German rather than the customary Latin. His translation of the terms clavis (as Schlüssel), vox (as Stimme or Silbe) and scala (as Leiter) are still used today. His desire to relate music education to everyday life can be seen in his modernization of old-fashioned rules of harmonic and rhythmic proportions, which he related to commercial arithmetic, in particular the Rule of Three, which formed the most important component of arithmetic instruction in Latin schools. He was the only theorist to consider ...

Article

F.J. León Tello

(fl 1st half of the 16th century). Spanish music theorist. He wrote a treatise Arte de principios de canto llano (published between 1530 and 1537/R); it is a conventional work following traditional lines, limited to purely technical aspects of liturgical chant. He regarded the B♭ as a necessary accidental for chant based on F to avoid the melodic tritone and gave rules for the use of plicas; he also categorized intervals according to their effect on the senses, and rejected the Pythagorean classification. Aguilar seems to have been familiar with the writings of his contemporaries, citing Juan de Espinosa and Francisco Tover among Spaniards, Nicolò Burzio, Giacomo Fogliano and Gaffurius among Italians. His quotations are more accurate than those of most writers and add considerably to the merit of the work.

StevensonSM F.J. León Tello: Estudios de historia de la teoría musical (Madrid, 1962, 2/1991)...

Article

(b ?Orzivecchi or Orzinuovi, nr Brescia, c1520; fl 1562–81). Italian theorist and Franciscan friar. He was influenced by Pietro Aaron, to whom he referred as ‘my indisputable teacher’, by Spataro and by Marchetto da Padova. His Illuminata de tutti i tuoni di canto fermo (Venice, 1562) expounds a modal theory applicable to plainchant: a mode is a form of diatonic octave divided into segments of 5th and 4th; corresponding authentic and plagal modes comprise the same segments but in reverse order, and the order of steps within the segments is also reversed, ascending in the authentic and descending in the plagal modes. There are eight regular modes (authentic and plagal) with finals on d, e, f and g, and six irregular modes with finals on a, b and c′. The treatise is largely devoted to modal identification of chants with an ambitus smaller or greater than an octave, or which use more than one mode. Identification is based primarily on the predominance of the segments of a single mode, especially those of the 5th, within a chant, and only secondarily on the final and ambitus. Aiguino’s ...

Article

(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 ...

Article

John Kmetz

(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 ...

Article

Robert Stevenson

(b ?Aranda de Duero, c1495; d Coimbra, Feb 15, 1548). Spanish theorist. He studied music theory with Pedro Ciruelo at the University of Alcalá de Henares sometime before 1524; later he went to Italy for practical instruction. By 3 April 1528 he was mestre de capela at Évora Cathedral in Portugal, a post which he held until 26 August 1544, when he was appointed professor of music at Coimbra University. During most of this period the Portuguese court resided in Évora rather than in Lisbon, and Aranda earned praise from the administrator of the see, Cardinal Dom Afonso. At Coimbra, however, the native Portuguese professors proved so resentful towards the foreigner that according to a colleague, Juan Fernández, Aranda died of ‘pure vexation’. His body was carried back to Évora for burial on 2 June 1549.

Aranda's two music treatises were the first to be printed in Portugal, although they are written in Spanish. In the ...

Article

Ingrid Brainard

[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’ (...

Article

Claude V. Palisca

(b c1540; d Bologna, Aug 18, 1613). Italian theorist, polemicist and composer. He was one of the leading Italian theorists in the years around 1600, specially notable for his criticisms from a traditional viewpoint of certain modern tendencies in the music of his day.

Except for becoming embroiled in several musical polemics, Artusi led a quiet, studious life as a canon regular in the Congregation of S Salvatore at Bologna, where there was an important and sumptuous library of Greek and Latin manuscripts and books. He entered the order on 14 February 1562 and professed on 21 February 1563. He studied for a time in Venice with Zarlino, to whom he always remained devoted, honouring him during his lifetime with a compendium of Le istitutioni harmoniche and after his death with a learned eulogy by way of an explication of his teacher's emblem or device, Impresa del molto rev. Gioseffo Zarlino...

Article

T. Herman Keahey

[Turmair, Johann; Thurnmaier, John; Thurnmayer, Jean; Thurinomarus]

(b Abensberg, July 4, 1477; d Regensburg, Jan 9, 1534). German historian and music theorist. He studied at Ingolstadt University with Conradus Celtis, at Kraków University, and at Paris University with Jacobus Faber Stapulensis. After the death of Albrecht IV, Aventinus was appointed tutor to the young Duke of Bavaria and his brothers in 1508, and in 1517 became court historian. In this capacity he produced two of the most important and influential historical works of his time: Annales ducum boiariae and Bayrischer Chronicon.

Aventinus was the author of Musicae rudimenta (Augsburg, 1516; ed. in Keahey) sometimes incorrectly ascribed to Nicolaus Faber (ii). The treatise, in ten chapters, was written for the instruction of Ernst, the youngest of the three dukes. In keeping with the traditional approach to music as a part of the Quadrivium, the work deals with speculation about the origins and uses of music, solmization and the mutation of Guidonian hexachords, and the Pythagorean division of the monochord. Problems of current musical practice are only lightly touched on. Aventinus cited many musical authorities, including Plato, Aristotle, Aristoxenus, Cleonides, Boethius, Guido of Arezzo, Ugolino of Orvieto, Johannes de Muris and Gaffurius. He gave a number of terms and phrases in German as well as in Latin....

Article

[Johann]

(b Tonnedorf, nr Erfurt; d Eisenberg, nr Gera, Jan 22, 1617). German writer on music, composer and schoolmaster. In 1579 he was teaching at the Lateinschule at Ronneburg, near Gera, and in 1591 he was Rektor of the Lateinschule at Gera. Later he was a preacher at Bernsdorf, near Torgau, at Munich and at Krossen, near Gera, and from ...

Article

Almonte Howell

[Navarrus, Martinus]

(b Barasoain, c1491; d Rome, 1586). Spanish churchman and jurisconsult. He taught in Salamanca and Coimbra and spent his last 19 years in Rome, revered for his learning and piety. His numerous Latin writings were published throughout Europe in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Forkel, Fétis and others credited him with a musical treatise, De musica et cantu figurato, but no such work apparently exists; reports of it may stem from a misunderstanding of Walther's Musicalisches Lexicon. Azpilcueta's known writings on church music occur in Commentarius de oratione horis canonicis atque aliis divinit officiis (Coimbra, 1561) and the brief Commentarius de silentio in divinis officiis (Rome, 1580; Spanish and Italian translations soon afterwards). He justified music not for God's benefit but man's, as it contributed to man's ability to worship; all excesses and abuses worked against this end. Well-executed plainchant was much to be preferred, but neither polyphonic music nor instruments were inherently improper if they enhanced the attitude of reverence and did not obscure the text. His discussion of specific abuses in the liturgy of his time is of particular interest....

Article

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 ...

Article

Clement A. Miller

(b Florence, Dec 20, 1503; d Florence, Oct 25, 1572). Italian diplomat, philologist, mathematician and humanist. After studies in Rome and Florence he took minor orders and was attached to the baptistery in Florence, where he was also active in the literary academy. In 1560 he became secretary to Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici and two years later became the Venetian diplomatic agent of Duke Cosimo I (Grand Duke from 1569), a post he held until his return to Florence in 1572. Bartoli’s importance for music lies in his Ragionamenti accademici (Venice, 1567). Although the book is devoted to the criticism of Dante, its third chapter concerns Renaissance musicians living before about 1545. Ockeghem and Josquin are likened to Donatello and Michelangelo, as the originators and perfecters of their respective arts. Bartoli extolled the musicians of the court of Pope Leo X (1513–21). The great number of instrumentalists treated is particularly significant. Francesco da Milano, Alfonso dalla Viola and Alessandro Striggio are a few of the many performers cited. Bartoli’s brother Giorgio was also knowledgeable in music, and translated Boethius’s ...

Article

James Haar

(b Venice, May 20, 1470; d Rome, Jan 11, 1547). Italian literary theorist and poet. Born into the Venetian aristocracy, he had a typical humanist upbringing broadened by frequent journeys with his father, an ambassador of the Venetian republic. After two years (1492–4) spent studying Greek in Messina, Bembo spent a year at the University of Padua. In 1497 he went to Ferrara, remaining at the d'Este court for two years. There he took an active part in courtly life and made many friends, including Ariosto, Tebaldeo and the Latin poet Ercole Strozzi. At that time he began his first vernacular work, Gli asolani.

In 1501 Aldo Manuzio published Bembo's edition of Petrarch; in 1502 his edition of Dante appeared. Both are volumes of fundamental importance in Italian philology and represent the foundation of Bembo's interest in Tuscan as a literary language. During another stay in Ferrara (...

Article

Philippe Vendrix

(b Reims, Mar 1, 1567; d Reims, Aug 1623). French historian and theorist. He trained in law and was appointed a professor of law and then syndic in Reims, where he was a popular representative. He acquired a lasting reputation as a historian, due to the success of his principal work, Histoire des grands chemins de l'empire romain (Paris, 1622). He published other works on diverse subjects and also left a number of important works in manuscript, including the treatise La musique speculative ( F-Pn fr.1359; ed. with Ger. trans. E. Jost, Cologne, 1970), in which he sought to distinguish between poetic and musical rhythm, stressing that musical rhythm had to be flexible in order to accommodate the poetry. His views on certain topics (such as the musical proportions) are similar to those of Salinas. The treatise ends with proposals for assessing the effects of rhythm. For further discussion see P. Vendrix: ‘Nicolas Bergier: le dernier théoricien de la Renaissance en France’, ...

Article

Wolfgang Freis and Bonnie J. Blackburn

(b Écija, c1510; d ?Écija, after1559). Spanish music theorist. All our knowledge of his life comes from his treatises. He was the son of a well-to-do Écija family and joined the Observant Franciscans at the age of 15. He studied at the University of Alcalá de Henares, probably in the Franciscan college. Eventually he became guardián of his convent (perhaps that in Écija), a duty he had to relinquish owing to illness. On 24 June 1560 he was elected definidor, a member of the governing body of the Franciscan province of Andalusia. Since no later documents have come to light, it is believed that he died in the early 1560s.

Bermudo refers only obliquely to early studies in music; at the university he studied mathematics. He clearly never held a musical position, and as a theorist he seems to have been self-taught through wide reading; his main modern sources are Faber Stapulensis, Gaffurius, Ornithoparchus and Glarean. The titles by which he is addressed in his books refer to him only as a dignitary of his order; his superior praised him as a fine preacher and confessor. Although his career may seem surprising for a theorist, it corresponds well to the attitude of Spanish Observant Franciscans, who did not cultivate polyphonic music. Bermudo devoted himself to music only after illness forced him to resign as ...

Article

Robert Stevenson

(b ?Seville; d Coimbra, 1593, before 6 Oct). Portuguese theorist of Spanish birth. His second name has sometimes been incorrectly cited as Pereira. He was appointed professor of music at Coimbra University on 29 May 1553. He published at Coimbra in 1550 an Arte de canto chão, translated from Juan Martínez’s Arte de canto llano (Alcalá de Henares, 1532), an extremely popular manual of plainchant. An enlarged and revised edition was published probably before 1560 (no copies have been found), and another appeared posthumously with the title Arte de Canto-chão, posta & reduzida em sua inteira perfeição, acrecentada de nouo em as entoações de cousas muito necessarias (Coimbra, 1597). The Ave sanctissimum once attributed to ‘A. Bernal’ is by José Bernal Gonçález.

DBP M. Joaquim: ‘Nota bibliográfica’, Boletim da Biblioteca da universidade de Coimbra, 25 (1962), 410 M. de Sampayo Ribeiro: ‘A “Arte cantollano” de autor desconhecido (R. 14670), da Biblioteca nacional de Madrid, e a “Arte” de Juan Martínez’, ...