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Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Piero]

(b Florence, c1480; d after 1545). Italian theorist and composer. Nothing is known of Aaron’s early training, his teacher, or his career before 1516. He claims to have had ‘the greatest friendship and familiarity’ with Josquin, Obrecht, Isaac, and Agricola in Florence (most likely between 1487 and 1495, and not necessarily at the same time). By 1516 he was a priest in Imola, where he wrote his first book, Libri tres de institutione harmonica, translated into Latin by the humanist Giovanni Antonio Flaminio. A contemporary poem by Achille Bocchi praises Aaron for rescuing music ‘from squalor and dismal neglect’. By March 1520 he was a singer in Imola Cathedral and from the next year a chaplain; he was also paid by the city to teach music to those who wished to learn. His career in Imola ended abruptly in June 1522 when he was wounded in a factional uprising and his chapel in the cathedral destroyed (Blackburn, forthcoming). By ...

Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[‘Auritus’ (‘Big Ears’)]

(fl ? c1450). Italian theorist. He is the otherwise unknown author (possibly from Bizzolano, a quarter of Canneto sull’Oglio west of Mantua) of a short treatise for boys, Introductiones artis musice (incomplete in I-Vnm lat.Cl.VIII.85 (3579), ff.61 v–67 v, copied in Mantua and Bozzolo in 1463–4). Book 1 treats letters, notes, hexachords, avoidance of the tritone, and intervals in summary fashion. Book 2, on the species of intervals, is copied largely verbatim from Book 2 of Johannes Ciconia’s ...

Article

Clement A. Miller

revised by Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Fiorenzo de’ Fasoli]

(b c1461; d 18 March 1496). Italian theorist, son of a Jacobus. He entered the service of Cardinal Ascanio Maria Sforza during his exile in Naples and Rome (1481–2). From 1482 he was a canon at S. Florenzio in Fiorenzuola d’Arda, becoming chaplain of S. Maria della Stella in Milan in 1483. By papal dispensation he was promoted to priest in 1484 at the age of 23. Some time between 1485 and 1492 he wrote a theoretical work of 95 folios entitled Liber musices ( I-Mt 2146). This treatise, commissioned by the cardinal for personal use, is notable for its finely executed miniatures by Attavante degli Attavanti or a member of his school; gilded notes on blue staves are used for the music examples. The title page merely gives the name ‘Florentius’; the identification with Florentius de Faxolis, first proposed by Motta (1899), has been contested by Rossi (2007, 2009), who believes Florentius was a Spanish musician in Naples. The work is divided into three books; it begins with an extended treatment of the value, uses, and effects of music and continues more summarily with the elements of music, plainsong, counterpoint, composition, and rules of mensural notation. As authorities Florentius cited many ancient Greek, Roman, and medieval writers, including music theorists, but did not name any contemporary theorists except for Blasius Romero, whom he must have known in Naples and who may be the source of many of his citations (Holford-Strevens, 2009). Nor does Florentius name any composers of renown. He describes briefly such musical practices of his time as fauxbourdon, imitation, and, more extensively, canon. The treatise contains short polyphonic pieces for discant and tenor to illustrate the five genera of proportions; some examples are missing. To conclude the work a Latin poem by the Milanese secretary Francesco Tranchedino praises the treatise as a valuable guide to musical understanding....

Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Pre Zanetto]

(b c1490; d Venice, 8 March 1544). Italian theorist. All that is known of his early life is that he was a student of the frottolist Giovanni Battista Zesso of Padua. In 1520 he was a cleric attached to the small parish church of S Sofia, Venice, in the sestiere of Cannaregio, where he remained throughout his life; he became deacon in 1527 and was promoted to titular priest in 1542. Towards the end of his life he published a small and largely insignificant treatise on the fundamentals of music, Breve introduttione (reviewed unfavourably by Pietro Aaron; see SpataroC, no. 66), but his chief claim to fame lies in the correspondence he conducted with the foremost theorists of his time, Giovanni Spataro and Aaron, and a host of lesser musicians. Although his plan to publish his letters failed, his correspondence survives, together with many of the letters written to him (...

Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Folianus, Ludovicus]

(b Modena, c1475; d Venice, shortly before 7 May 1542). Italian theorist and composer. His name appears in the records of Modena Cathedral in 1494 as ‘Don Lodovico de Alexandro da Fojano’; his brother Giacomo had been organist there since 1489. Despite the note that Orazio Vecchi wrote on the cover of a Modenese manuscript which includes a mass by Lodovico ( I-MOd IV), ‘Jacobi et Ludovici Foliani olim cathedralis Mutinae magistri opera’, Lodovico was never choirmaster. He may be the ‘Ludovico da Modena’ who was a singer in the chapel of Ercole I d’Este in 1493 and again in 1503–4, especially if this person was the ‘Ludovigo da Fulgano’ listed in 1499–1501 (lists in LockwoodMRF). In 1513–14 he was a singer in the Cappella Giulia. Some time after this he moved to Venice, and seems to have devoted the rest of his career to music theory and philosophy....

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

[Johannes]

(b c1430; d Oct or Nov 1487). English theorist and composer. His father’s name was William. Nothing is known of his early life, nor where and when he became a Carmelite friar and obtained the master’s degree in sacred theology (in 1467 he is called ‘magister’). He may be identical with the John Otteby, Carmelite friar of the Oxford convent, who was ordained subdeacon on 18 December 1451 in Northampton (Emden, p.1409; the belief that Hothby studied at Oxford in 1435 rests on a mistaken identification, p.969). Before settling in Lucca, where he was installed as chaplain of the altar of S Regolo at the Cathedral of S Martino in February 1467 with the obligation to teach plainchant and polyphony, he had, by his own account (Epistola), travelled in Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain (‘Britania magiore’), and Spain. In the Excitatio quaedam musice artis he refers to his fellow student at the University of Pavia, Johannes Gallicus (here called ‘Johannes Legiensis’); this may have been before Gallicus completed his treatise ...

Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

(b Terenzo, nr Parma, c1490; d Parma, late Nov 1545). Italian theorist. In the dedication of the first book of his Scintille di musica he names Lodovico Milanese as his organ teacher (perhaps in Lucca after 1512); the expression ‘mio Burtio Parmegiano’ may indicate that he studied music with Nicolò Burzio or simply denote friendship. He was maestro di cappella at Brescia Cathedral from 1528 to 1535, when he assumed the same post in Verona on 1 April. According to Pietro Aaron, he was forced to flee Verona in 1538 for having violated a boy. He took refuge in a small Augustinian monastery near Bergamo, but on 1 January 1540 he was hired as maestro di cappella at the Chiesa della Madonna della Steccata, where he remained until his death, between July and December 1545.

Lanfranco’s Scintille di musica is the earliest comprehensive treatise on music theory in Italian. Written deliberately in the ‘universale Italiana favella’ (i.e. ...

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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 ...