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(b Vercelli; fl c1610–20). Italian composer, active in Poland. Gerber stated that he was director of music to the Polish nobleman Lew Sapieha, chancellor of Lithuania, and that he was ‘a famous composer’. If this judgment is true it must have derived from at least two lost volumes of sacred music that Cocciola is known to have produced in the early 17th century. One contained an eight-part mass and at least one motet and was published at Venice (in 1612 according to Gerber and Schaal). The other was Concentus harmonici ecclesiastici for two to five voices; when in 1619 Michael Praetorius mentioned motets by Cocciola for up to five voices he may have had this volume in mind. In it the composer is said to have hailed from Vercelli.

Until the discovery in 1957 of the Pelplin Organ Tablature only two complete pieces by Cocciola were known, both three-part motets. The Pelplin tablature, compiled during the 1620s, includes 30 sacred vocal pieces by him. The first volume contains eight for two voices, seven for three and one for four, all of which probably came from the lost ...


Kenneth Levy, John A. Emerson, Jane Bellingham, David Hiley and Bennett Mitchell Zon

[plainsong] (from Lat. cantus planus; Fr. plainchant; Ger. Choral; It. canto plano)

The official monophonic unison chant (originally unaccompanied) of the Christian liturgies. The term, though general, is used to refer particularly to the chant repertories with Latin texts – that is, those of the five major Western Christian liturgies – or in a more restricted sense to the repertory of Franco-Roman chant (Gregorian chant). A third meaning refers to a style of measured ecclesiastical music, often accompanied by a bassoon, serpent or organ, cultivated in Roman Catholic France during the 17th to 19th centuries (see Plain-chant musical). This article is concerned with the chant of the Roman and derived rites considered historically, including its place within Christian chant as a whole and its relationship to the liturgy that it serves.

Kenneth Levy

The roots of the liturgical chant of the Christian Churches lie partly in established Jewish Synagogue practice of the apostolic period, partly in new developments within early Christianity itself and partly in pagan music at the diverse centres where the first churches were established (...