Canti carnascialeschi (It.: ‘carnival songs’)
- Frank A. D’Accone
(It.: ‘carnival songs’)
A generic term encompassing several kinds of partsong, notably mascheratas, carri and trionfi, that were performed at festivals in Florence during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The festivals were held during the pre-Lenten Carnival and the Calendimaggio, a season celebrating the return of spring that began on 1 May and ended with the Feast of St John, the city's patron saint, on 24 June. The groups of masqueraders from all classes of society who, singing, dancing and jesting, made their way through the crowded streets and squares of the city were typical of the festivities. There were also torchlight processions featuring elaborately decorated floats in which tableaux vivants were accompanied by appropriate songs. Some of the floats and costumes were designed by famous artists, and the song texts, written by noblemen and commoners alike, were set to music by well-known composers, foreign and native. The festivals thus provided ample opportunity not only for merrymaking and the expression of popular wit but also for artistic inventiveness and display. In this respect they were uniquely representative of the Florentine character....