Giovanni Artusi

Giovanni Artusi

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Giovanni Maria Artusi was an Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

Music theory
Music theory is the study of how music works. It examines the language and notation of music. It seeks to identify patterns and structures in composers' techniques across or within genres, styles, or historical periods...

, composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, and writer.

Artusi was one of the most famous reactionaries in musical history, fiercely condemning the new style developing around 1600, the innovations of which defined the early Baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

 era. He was also a scholar and cleric at the Congregation San Salvatore at Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, and remained throughout his life devoted to his teacher Gioseffo Zarlino
Gioseffo Zarlino
Gioseffo Zarlino was an Italian music theorist and composer of the Renaissance. He was possibly the most famous music theorist between Aristoxenus and Rameau, and made a large contribution to the theory of counterpoint as well as to musical tuning.-Life:Zarlino was born in Chioggia, near Venice...

 (the principal music theorist of the late sixteenth century). When Vincenzo Galilei
Vincenzo Galilei
Vincenzo Galilei was an Italian lutenist, composer, and music theorist, and the father of the famous astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei and of the lute virtuoso and composer Michelagnolo Galilei...

 first attacked Zarlino in the Dialogo of 1581, it provoked Artusi to defend his teacher and the style he represented.

The most famous episode of Artusi's career, and one of the most famous episodes in the history of music criticism, occurred in 1600 and 1603 when he attacked the "crudities" and "license" shown in the works of a composer he initially refused to name (it was Monteverdi
Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, gambist, and singer.Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition – the...

). Monteverdi replied in the introduction to his fifth book of madrigals
Madrigal (music)
A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition, usually a partsong, of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Traditionally, polyphonic madrigals are unaccompanied; the number of voices varies from two to eight, and most frequently from three to six....

 (1605) with his discussion of the division of musical practice into two streams: what he called prima pratica
Prima pratica
Prima pratica refers to early Baroque music which looks more to the style of Palestrina, or the style codified by Gioseffo Zarlino, than to more "modern" styles. It is contrasted with seconda pratica music...

, and seconda pratica
Seconda pratica
Seconda prattica, literally "second practice", is the counterpart to prima pratica and is more commonly referred to as Stile moderno. The term "Seconda prattica" was coined by Claudio Monteverdi to distance his music from that of e.g...

: prima pratica being the previous polyphonic
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

 ideal of the sixteenth century, with flowing counterpoint, prepared dissonance, and equality of voices; and seconda pratica being the new style of monody
In poetry, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death....

 and accompanied recitative
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...

, which emphasized soprano and bass voices, and in addition showed the beginnings of conscious functional tonality.

Artusi's major contribution to the literature of music theory was his book on dissonance
Consonance and dissonance
In music, a consonance is a harmony, chord, or interval considered stable, as opposed to a dissonance , which is considered to be unstable...

 in counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

. He recognized that there could be more dissonance than consonance in a developed piece of counterpoint, and he attempted to enumerate the reasons and uses for the dissonances, for example as settings of words expressing sorrow, pain, longing, terror. Ironically, the usage of Monteverdi in the seconda pratica largely agreed with his book, at least conceptually; the differences between Monteverdi's music and Artusi's theory were in the importance of the different voices, and the exact intervals used in shaping the melodic line.

Artusi's compositions were few, and in a conservative style: one book of canzonette
In music, a canzonetta was a popular Italian secular vocal composition which originated around 1560...

 for four voices (published in Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

in 1598) and a Cantate Domino for eight voices (1599).

External links

  • Full record, works, sources, locations, bibliography - French