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date: 27 November 2020


  • Don Harrán
  •  and James Chater


A secular song of the Italian Renaissance embracing a variety of poetic forms. It flourished at the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th and was the most important stylistic development leading to the madrigal.

Don Harrán

‘Frottola’ is held to derive from the medieval Latin ‘frocta’, a conglomeration of random thoughts, and requires both a generic and a specific definition. Generically, the term covers the full range of secular polyphonic types known to have flourished in Italy during the period in question, usually taken to be from about 1470 to 1530: hence odes, sonnets, strambotti, capitoli, canzoni etc. are all considered kinds of frottola. More specifically, the term refers to a particular type, the frottola proper or, as it is often called in contemporary writings, the barzelletta. That the separate types admit differentiation, indeed demand it for purposes of discussion, is confirmed by the evidence of the prints: Petrucci’s fourth book (...

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