Bovicelli, Giovanni Battista
- Imogene Horsley
(b Assisi; fl 1592–4). Italian music theorist and singer. He is known only as the author of Regole, passaggi di musica, madrigali et motetti passeggiati (Venice, 1594/R; Eng. trans. J. Rosenberg: Historic Brass Society Journal, iv, 1992, pp. 27–44). His skill as a composer and improviser of ornamental passaggi was attested by Damiano Scarabelli, vice-maestro di cappella at Milan Cathedral, in the dedication of his Liber primus motectorum (Venice, 1592). Bovicelli’s treatise is a valuable source of information on improvised vocal ornamentation and virtuoso singing in Italy in the early Baroque period. The book follows the usual format for such manuals; it gives lists of common diminutions of melodic intervals and passages, followed by versions of the soprano lines of several well-known motets, madrigals and falsibordoni, showing how the ornaments were to be applied. The composers represented in the treatise are Palestrina, Rore, Victoria and Claudio Correggio. Their works are so heavily embellished that the lines of the original compositions are at times difficult to detect. In his ...