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  • Nigel Fortune


Term used in early 17th-century Italy to denote concepts of expressiveness and rubato in the composition and performance of monodic music. The use of the word originated outside music with Castiglione: ‘this virtue … contrary to affectation which we now call sprezzatura … [is] the true source of grace’; and Shearman defined it as ‘courtly grace revealed in the effortless resolution of all difficulties … [a] kind of well-bred negligence born of complete self-possession’....

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Studia musicologica Academiae scientiarum hungaricae
Musical Quarterly