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Owen Wright

[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 ...

Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Lanfranchinus][Gafori, Franchino]

(b Lodi, 14 Jan 1451; d Milan, 24 June 1522). Italian theorist, composer, and choirmaster. At home in both speculative and practical music, he was the first theorist to have a substantial number of his writings published, and his influence can be traced for more than a century, both in Italy and abroad.

Much of our knowledge stems from the contemporary biography by Pantaleone Malegolo, printed in the De harmonia: Gaffurius was born in Lodi to the soldier Bettino from Almenno in the territory of Bergamo and to Caterina Fissiraga of Lodi. He began theological studies early, at the Benedictine monastery of S. Pietro in Lodi Vecchio (where he was still present in September 1473) and was ordained priest in late 1473 or 1474. His first instructor in music was Johannes Bonadies (or Godendach); Malegolo implies that this was in Lodi, where he briefly returned to sing in the cathedral on Ascension Day, ...

Article

(b c1465; d before 1515). English musician. He became a chorister at St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 1474, and was a scholar at Eton College (1479–83). In 1483 he became a clerk at King's College, Cambridge, and later a scholar there. In 1487 he was again a clerk at King's, and by 30 September 1489 was back at St George's Chapel, Windsor, as a clerk. In 1493 he was appointed Master of the Choristers there, and he retained both offices until at least 29 September 1499. He is probably the composer of the incomplete two-part piece that begins Lett serch your myndis, ascribed to ‘Hamshere’ in the Fayrfax manuscript ( GB-Lbl Add.5465; ed. in MB, xxxvi, 1975), an important collection of early Tudor songs. It is possible that this piece was written in honour of one of Henry VII's sons, either Arthur or, less likely, Henry (see Stevens)....

Article

Don Harrán

(b ?Bourges, c1430–40; d ?Paris, 1499). French singer and scholar. He was the author of two tracts on verbal accentuation in plainchant. His early years seem to have been spent in Bourges, where he became a canon of Notre Dame de Sales (his familiarity with the Bourges chant tradition is clear from his writings). Later he was in Paris at the Collège de Navarre, where he enrolled in the 1450s as a student in the arts faculty and from 1465 in theology. He described himself as a ‘scholastic theologian’, that is, engaged in religious studies, and as a concentor, probably the associate of the cantor or precentor in singing the soloist portions of chant in the collegiate chapel services. In 1497 he was appointed rector of the University of Paris, though his tenure lasted only five months.

Of his 12 known publications, five are editions of liturgical books and five relate to various religious topics. In two others on music (ed. in Harrán) he countered the attacks, within the Collège, of certain ‘humanists’ (i.e. grammarians), who contended that music played havoc with the sacred texts. Le Munerat used every argument he could to refute their assertions and demonstrate that music, on the strength of its long tradition preserved in the chant books, could rightly ignore grammatical quantity in items subject to musical as against verbal logic. In the first treatise, ...

Article

Frank A. D’Accone

(b Florence, Oct 12, 1490; d Rome, Jan 23, 1548). Italian composer, singer and classical scholar. He may have acquired the name ‘Pisano’ as a result of having spent some time in Pisa. Trained at the cathedral school in Florence, he also sang in the chapel of the church of the SS Annunziata as a student. In 1511, after being ordained a priest, he was appointed master of the choristers at the cathedral school and a singer in the chapels at the cathedral and the baptistry. He became master of the cathedral chapel less than a year later. Evidently he obtained the post through the good offices of Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici, whose family had recently been restored to power in Florence.

Shortly after the cardinal’s election to the papacy as Leo X, Pisano went to Rome, where on 20 August 1514 he was appointed a singer in the papal chapel – a position he retained until his death. Leo also gave him several ecclesiastical benefices, among them canonries in the cathedrals of Segovia and Lerida and a chaplaincy in the Medici family church of S Lorenzo in Florence. From ...

Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Spatarius, Joannes]

(b Bologna, ?26 Oct 1458; d Bologna, 17 Jan 1541). Italian theorist, composer, and choirmaster. His name comes from his family’s occupation: his grandfather was a merchant who dealt in swords. He mentions his age in two letters, which yield a birth year of 1458 or 1459; since he is not listed in the baptismal records, which go back to 1 January 1459, the year is probably 1458, and the day possibly 26 October, the date of two of his wills. Spataro never attended university and did not take holy orders; he may have continued his family’s profession until late in his life (he bequeathed a forge to his ‘compare’).

During the 1490s Spataro was on friendly terms with younger members of the Bentivoglio family: Antongaleazzo received the dedication of his Honesta defensio, and one of his lost treatises was written for Hermes, as well as two masses on pears (a pear appears on Hermes’s arms). Only in ...