Farfaro, Nicolò [Mazzaferro, Giorgio]
- Agostino Ziino
(b late 16th century; d before 1647). Italian humanist and writer on music. In 1640, under the pseudonym of Giorgio Mazzaferro, he wrote a Discorso sopra la musica antica, e moderna (in I-Rli). In the wake of the Florentine Camerata he here proclaimed the superiority of ancient music, in which poetry and music were one, over modern music, where such unity had been lost: in the former, ‘the poetry was sung simply, in a way consistent with its nature, so that everyone could understand and appreciate the words, rhythm and metre of the poetry’, whereas in the latter, vocal music had been ‘crippled’ by the introduction of imitation, canons, ‘strained passages’ and ‘repetitions’. One of the many ‘imperfections’ of modern music was that it had become more than ever ‘soft and lascivious’. Ancient music ‘had its rules, which no-one might violate, so that its propriety and fitting processes might be preserved’. From such a moralistic posture he deplored the spread of the new monodic style to liturgical, or at least church, music: a most serious defect was that there was no difference between ‘a song serenading a lady and one serving to honour God in church, a despicable abuse unworthy of Christian virtue’. Pietro della Valle, to whom the ...