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date: 18 January 2020

Salimbene de Adam [Salimbene da Parma]locked

  • F. Alberto Gallo

Extract

[Salimbene da Parma]

(b Parma, 1221; d 1288). Italian chronicler. A Franciscan, he lived at various places in central Italy and made several journeys to France. His Chronicle narrates historical events from 1167 to 1287 in a lively style, and also contains autobiographical details, some of which are of particular interest for the history of music in Italy in the mid-13th century. Salimbene had been taught singing by two brother friars, Fra Enrico da Pisa and Fra Vita da Lucca. He quoted the first lines of many poems written and set to music by Fra Enrico, and recalled Fra Vita’s skill in adapting a contracantus to a cantus – that is, in composing polyphonic music. In the course of the work he mentioned the musical talent of a number of people, for example Emperor Frederick II, of whom he said that he could sing and compose cantilene and cantiones, and Fra Guidolinus Ianuarius da Parma, who he said sang secular songs very well. There are also descriptions of musical performances. During Carnival at Reggio people sang and danced in the street (‘in strata publica choreiçando cantabant’). A group of young people performed in a courtyard at Pisa:...

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