Madrigal (music)

Madrigal (music)

Overview
A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition, usually a partsong, of the Renaissance
Renaissance music
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given that its defining characteristics were adopted only gradually; musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.Literally meaning...

 and 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...

 eras. Traditionally, polyphonic
Polyphony
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 ....

 madrigals are unaccompanied
Accompaniment
In music, accompaniment is the art of playing along with an instrumental or vocal soloist or ensemble, often known as the lead, in a supporting manner...

; the number of voices varies from two to eight, and most frequently from three to six.

Madrigals originated in Italy during the 1520s
1520s in music
The decade of the 1520s in music involved some significant compositions.- Publications :* 1520: Capirola Lutebook is compiled from the works of Vincenzo Capirola...

. Unlike many strophic form
Strophic form
Strophic form is the simplest and most durable of musical forms, elaborating a piece of music by repetition of a single formal section. This may be analyzed as "A A A..."...

s of the time, most madrigals were through-composed
Through-composed
Through-composed music is relatively continuous, non-sectional, and/or non-repetitive. A song is said to be through-composed if it has different music for each stanza of the lyrics. This is in contrast to strophic form, in which each stanza is set to the same music...

. In the madrigal, the composer attempted to express the emotion contained in each line, and sometimes individual words, of a celebrated poem.

The madrigal originated in part from the frottola
Frottola
The frottola was the predominant type of Italian popular, secular song of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. It was the most important and widespread predecessor to the madrigal...

, in part from the resurgence in interest in vernacular Italian poetry, and also from the influence of the French chanson
Chanson
A chanson is in general any lyric-driven French song, usually polyphonic and secular. A singer specialising in chansons is known as a "chanteur" or "chanteuse" ; a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.-Chanson de geste:The...

 and polyphonic style of the motet
Motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

 as written by the Franco-Flemish composers who had naturalized in Italy during the period.
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Encyclopedia
A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition, usually a partsong, of the Renaissance
Renaissance music
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given that its defining characteristics were adopted only gradually; musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.Literally meaning...

 and 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...

 eras. Traditionally, polyphonic
Polyphony
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 ....

 madrigals are unaccompanied
Accompaniment
In music, accompaniment is the art of playing along with an instrumental or vocal soloist or ensemble, often known as the lead, in a supporting manner...

; the number of voices varies from two to eight, and most frequently from three to six.

Madrigals originated in Italy during the 1520s
1520s in music
The decade of the 1520s in music involved some significant compositions.- Publications :* 1520: Capirola Lutebook is compiled from the works of Vincenzo Capirola...

. Unlike many strophic form
Strophic form
Strophic form is the simplest and most durable of musical forms, elaborating a piece of music by repetition of a single formal section. This may be analyzed as "A A A..."...

s of the time, most madrigals were through-composed
Through-composed
Through-composed music is relatively continuous, non-sectional, and/or non-repetitive. A song is said to be through-composed if it has different music for each stanza of the lyrics. This is in contrast to strophic form, in which each stanza is set to the same music...

. In the madrigal, the composer attempted to express the emotion contained in each line, and sometimes individual words, of a celebrated poem.

The madrigal originated in part from the frottola
Frottola
The frottola was the predominant type of Italian popular, secular song of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. It was the most important and widespread predecessor to the madrigal...

, in part from the resurgence in interest in vernacular Italian poetry, and also from the influence of the French chanson
Chanson
A chanson is in general any lyric-driven French song, usually polyphonic and secular. A singer specialising in chansons is known as a "chanteur" or "chanteuse" ; a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.-Chanson de geste:The...

 and polyphonic style of the motet
Motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

 as written by the Franco-Flemish composers who had naturalized in Italy during the period. A frottola generally would consist of music set to stanzas of text, while madrigals were through-composed. However, some of the same poems were used for both frottola and madrigals. The poetry of Petrarch
Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

 in particular shows up in a wide variety of genres. The madrigal is related mostly by name alone to the Italian trecento madrigal
Madrigal (Trecento)
The Madrigal is an Italian musical form of the 14th century. The form flourished ca. 1300 – 1370 with a short revival near 1400. It was a composition for two voices, sometimes on a pastoral subject...

 of the late 13th and 14th centuries.

In Italy, the madrigal was the most important secular form of music of its time. The madrigal reached its formal and historical zenith by the second half of the 16th century. English and German composers, too, took up the madrigal in its heyday. After the 1630s, the madrigal began to merge with the cantata
Cantata
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

 and the dialogue
Dialogue
Dialogue is a literary and theatrical form consisting of a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people....

. With the rise of opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 in the early 17th century, the aria
Aria
An aria in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term is now used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice usually with orchestral accompaniment...

 gradually displaced the madrigal.

Origins and early madrigals


In the early 16th century, several humanistic trends converged which allowed the madrigal to form. First, there was a reawakened interest in use of Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 as a vernacular language. Poet and literary theorist Pietro Bembo
Pietro Bembo
Pietro Bembo was an Italian scholar, poet, literary theorist, and cardinal. He was an influential figure in the development of the Italian language, specifically Tuscan, as a literary medium, and his writings assisted in the 16th-century revival of interest in the works of Petrarch...

 edited an edition of Petrarch
Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

, the great 14th century poet, in 1501, and later published his theories on how contemporary poets could attain excellence by imitating Petrarch, and by being carefully attentive to the exact sounds of words, as well as their positioning within lines. The poetic form of the madrigal, which consisted of an irregular number of lines of usually 7 or 11 syllables, without repetition, and usually on a serious topic, came into being as a result of Bembo's influence.

Second, Italy had long been a destination for the "Oltremontani
Oltremontani
Oltremontani is a term used to describe the Franco-Flemish School of composers who dominated the musical landscape of Northern Italy during the middle of the sixteenth Century...

", superbly-trained composers of the Franco-Flemish school
Franco-Flemish School
In music, the Franco-Flemish School or more precisely the Netherlandish School refers, somewhat imprecisely, to the style of polyphonic vocal music composition in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, and to the composers who wrote it...

, who were attracted by the culture as well as the employment opportunities at the aristocratic courts and ecclesiastical institutions – Italy was, after all, the center of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, the single most important cultural institution in Europe. These composers had mastered a serious polyphonic
Polyphony
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 ....

 style suitable for setting sacred music, and also were familiar with the secular music of their homelands, music such as the chanson
Chanson
A chanson is in general any lyric-driven French song, usually polyphonic and secular. A singer specialising in chansons is known as a "chanteur" or "chanteuse" ; a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.-Chanson de geste:The...

, which differed considerably from the lighter Italian secular styles of the late 15th and very early 16th centuries.

Third, printed secular music had become widely available in Italy due to the recent invention of moveable type and the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

. The music being written and sung, principally the frottola
Frottola
The frottola was the predominant type of Italian popular, secular song of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. It was the most important and widespread predecessor to the madrigal...

 but also the ballata
Ballata
The ballata is an Italian poetic and musical form, which was in use from the late 13th to the 15th century. It has the musical structure AbbaA, with the first and last stanzas having the same texts. It is thus most similar to the French musical 'forme fixe' virelai...

, canzonetta
Canzonetta
In music, a canzonetta was a popular Italian secular vocal composition which originated around 1560...

, and mascherata
Mascherata
A mascherata is a dance from the sixteenth century and was particularly popular in Florence. It was performed by costumed dancers, and frequently pantomimed Roman and Greek themes in them...

, was light, and typically used verses of relatively low literary quality. These popular music styles used repetition and soprano-dominated chordal
Homophony
In music, homophony is a texture in which two or more parts move together in harmony, the relationship between them creating chords. This is distinct from polyphony, in which parts move with rhythmic independence, and monophony, in which all parts move in parallel rhythm and pitch. A homophonic...

 textures, styles considerably more simple than those used by most of the resident composers of the Franco-Flemish school. Literary tastes were changing, and the more serious verse of Bembo and his school needed a means of musical expression more flexible and open than was available in the frottola and its related forms.

The first madrigals were written in Florence, either by native Florentines or by Franco-Flemish musicians in the employment of the Medici
Medici
The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside,...

 family. The madrigal did not replace the frottola right away; during the transitional decade of the 1520s, both frottole and madrigals (though not yet in name) were written and published. The earliest madrigals were probably those by Bernardo Pisano
Bernardo Pisano
Bernardo Pisano was an Italian composer, priest, singer, and scholar of the Renaissance. He was one of the first madrigalists, and the first composer anywhere to have a printed collection of secular music devoted entirely to himself.- Life :He was born in Florence, and may have spent some time...

, in his 1520 Musica di messer Bernardo Pisano sopra le canzone del Petrarcha, which was also the first secular music collection ever printed containing only the works of a single composer. While none of the pieces in the collection use the name "madrigal", some of the compositions are settings of Petrarch, and the music carefully observes word placement and accent, and even contains word-painting, a feature which was to become characteristic of the later madrigal.

The first book of madrigals labeled as such was the Madrigali de diversi musici: libro primo de la Serena of Philippe Verdelot
Philippe Verdelot
Philippe Verdelot was a French composer of the Renaissance, who spent most of his life in Italy. He is commonly considered to be the father of the Italian madrigal, and certainly was one of its earliest and most prolific composers; in addition he was prominent in the musical life of Florence...

, published in 1530 in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. Verdelot, a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 composer, had written the pieces in the late 1520s, while he lived in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

. He included music by both Sebastiano
Sebastiano Festa
Sebastiano Festa was an Italian composer of the Renaissance, active mainly in Rome. While his musical output was small, he was one of the earliest composers of madrigals, and was influential on other early composers of madrigals, such as Philippe Verdelot...

 and Costanzo Festa
Costanzo Festa
Costanzo Festa was an Italian composer of the Renaissance. While he is best known for his madrigals, he also wrote sacred vocal music...

, as well as Maistre Jhan
Maistre Jhan
Maistre Jhan was a French composer of the Renaissance, active for most of his career in Ferrara, Italy...

 of Ferrara, in addition to his own music. In 1533 and 1534 he published two books of four voice madrigals in Venice; these were to become extremely popular, and indeed they were, in their 1540 reprint, one of the most widely printed and distributed music books of the first half of the 16th century. They sold so well that Adrian Willaert made arrangements of some of these works for single voice and lute in 1536. Verdelot published madrigals for five and six voices as well, with the collection for six voices appearing in 1541.

Particularly popular was the first collection of madrigals by Jacques Arcadelt
Jacques Arcadelt
Jacques Arcadelt was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance, active in both Italy and France, and principally known as a composer of secular vocal music...

. Originally published in Venice, in 1539, it was reprinted throughout Europe for many years after, becoming the most often reprinted madrigal book of the entire era. Stylistically, the music in both Arcadelt's and Verdelot's books was more akin to the French chanson than either the Italian frottola or the sacred music of the time, such as the motet
Motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

. This may be unsurprising considering that the native language of both Arcadelt and Verdelot was French, and both had written chansons themselves when in their homeland; however, they were carefully attentive to text setting, in keeping with the ideas of Bembo, and they through-composed the music, writing new music for each line of text, rather than using the refrain and verse constructions that were common in French secular music.

Mid-century madrigal


While the madrigal was born in Florence and Rome, by mid-century the centers of musical activity had moved to Venice and other cities. The mercenaries of Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 sacked Rome in 1527, and a period of related political turmoil in Florence, culminating in the Siege of Florence (1529–30), in which Verdelot himself may have perished, reduced that city's significance as a musical center. In addition, Venice was Europe's center of music publishing; the grand Basilica of St. Mark's was just beginning the period in which it attracted musicians from all over Europe; and Pietro Bembo himself had returned to Venice in 1529. Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert was a Flemish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there....

 and his associates at St. Mark's – younger men such as Girolamo Parabosco
Girolamo Parabosco
Girolamo Parabosco was an Italian writer, composer, organist, and poet of the Renaissance.He was born in Piacenza, the son of a famous organist, Vincenzo Parabosco. Little is known of his childhood, but he went to Venice early for his musical education and is mentioned as a student of Adrian...

, Jacques Buus
Jacques Buus
Jacques Buus was a Franco-Flemish composer and organist of the Renaissance, and an early member of the Venetian School. He was one of the earliest composers of the ricercar, the predecessor to the fugue, and he was also a skilled composer of chansons.-Life:Buus was probably born in Ghent around...

, Baldassare Donato
Baldassare Donato
Baldassare Donato was an Italian composer and singer of the Venetian school of the late Renaissance. He was maestro di cappella of the prestigious St...

, Perissone Cambio
Perissone Cambio
Perissone Cambio was a Franco-Flemish composer and singer of the Renaissance, active in Venice. He was one of the most prominent students and colleagues of Adrian Willaert during the formative years of the Venetian School, and published several books of madrigals in the 1540s.-Life:Nothing is...

, and Cipriano de Rore
Cipriano de Rore
Cipriano de Rore was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance, active in Italy...

 – were the primary representatives of madrigal composition at mid-century. Willaert preferred more complex textures to Arcadelt and Verdelot; often his madrigals were similar to motets, with their polyphonic language, although he varied texture between homophonic and polyphonic passages as necessary to highlight the text. For verse he used Petrarch in preference to Petrarch's 16th-century imitators; many of his madrigals set Petrarch's sonnets.

Cipriano de Rore
Cipriano de Rore
Cipriano de Rore was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance, active in Italy...

 was the most influential of the mid-century madrigalists after Willaert. While Willaert was restrained and subtle in his text setting, striving more for homogeneity than sharp contrast, Rore was one to experiment. He used extravagant rhetorical gestures, including word-painting and unusual chromatic
Chromaticism
Chromaticism is a compositional technique interspersing the primary diatonic pitches and chords with other pitches of the chromatic scale. Chromaticism is in contrast or addition to tonality or diatonicism...

 relationships, a trend encouraged by visionary music theorist Nicola Vicentino
Nicola Vicentino
Nicola Vicentino was an Italian music theorist and composer of the Renaissance. He was one of the most visionary musicians of the age, inventing, among other things, a microtonal keyboard, and devising a practical system of chromatic writing two hundred years before the rise of equal...

. It was from Rore's musical language that "madrigalisms", so distinctive of the genre, first came about; and it was also with Rore that five-voice texture became the standard.

The madrigal from the 1550s to the 1570s


The later history of the madrigal begins with Rore. All of the different trends in madrigal composition, which by the early 17th century had diverged into many different forms, are present in embryonic form in Rore's enormously influential output.

Many thousands of madrigals were written in Italy in the 1550s; the entire repertoire is yet to be studied exhaustively. Some famous names of the period, besides Rore, are Palestrina, who wrote some secular music early in his career; the young Orlande de Lassus
Orlande de Lassus
Orlande de Lassus was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance...

, who wrote many well-known examples, including the highly experimental and chromatic Prophetiae Sibyllarum, and who, on moving to Munich in 1556, began the history of madrigal composition outside of Italy; and Philippe de Monte
Philippe de Monte
Philippe de Monte , sometimes known as Philippus de Monte, was a Flemish composer of the late Renaissance. He was a member of the 3rd generation madrigalists and wrote more madrigals than any other composer of the time...

, the most prolific of all madrigal composers, whose first publication dates from 1554. In style, the madrigals of the 1550s varied from the conservative and elegant style of Palestrina and some of the others working in Rome, to the highly chromatic and expressive work by Lassus, Rore, and others working in the cities of northern Italy.

Late in the 16th century, while "classic" madrigals continued to be written throughout Italy, different styles of madrigal composition developed somewhat independently in different geographic areas. In Venice, composers such as Andrea Gabrieli
Andrea Gabrieli
Andrea Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance. The uncle of the somewhat more famous Giovanni Gabrieli, he was the first internationally renowned member of the Venetian School of composers, and was extremely influential in spreading the Venetian style in Italy as...

 continued to write madrigals in the classic tradition, but with the bright, open, polyphonic textures for which he was famous in his motets and other works. At the court of Ferrara, the presence of three uniquely gifted female singers – the concerto delle donne
Concerto delle donne
The concerto delle donne was a group of professional female singers in the late Renaissance court of Ferrara, Italy, renowned for their technical and artistic virtuosity. The ensemble was founded by Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara, in 1580 and was active until the court was dissolved in 1597...

– attracted a group of composers who wrote highly ornamented madrigals, often with instrumental accompaniment, to be performed by members of this group. These composers included Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Luzzasco Luzzaschi was an Italian composer, organist, and teacher of the late Renaissance. He was born and died in Ferrara, and despite evidence of travels to Rome it is assumed that Luzzaschi spent the majority of his life in his native city.As a pupil of Cipriano de Rore, Luzzaschi developed...

, Giaches de Wert
Giaches de Wert
Giaches de Wert was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance, active in Italy. Intimately connected with the progressive musical center of Ferrara, he was one of the leaders in developing the style of the late Renaissance madrigal...

, and Lodovico Agostini
Lodovico Agostini
Lodovico Agostini was an Italian composer, singer, priest, and scholar of the late Renaissance. He was a close associate of the Ferrara Estense court, and one of the most skilled representatives of the progressive secular style which developed there at the end of the 16th century.- Life :He was...

, but the fame of the group was so widespread that many composers visited Ferrara both to hear and write for them, and in some cases founded similar groups of their own in other cities (for example, the Medici attempted to imitate the group in Florence, and had Alessandro Striggio
Alessandro Striggio
Alessandro Striggio was an Italian composer, instrumentalist and diplomat of the Renaissance. He composed numerous madrigals as well as dramatic music, and by combining the two, became the inventor of madrigal comedy...

 write madrigals in a style like Luzzaschi's). Rome, the ostensibly conservative center of the Roman Catholic Church, was itself the home of one of the most famous madrigal composers of the era, Luca Marenzio
Luca Marenzio
Luca Marenzio was an Italian composer and singer of the late Renaissance. He was one of the most renowned composers of madrigals, and wrote some of the most famous examples of the form in its late stage of development, prior to its early Baroque transformation by Monteverdi...

. Marenzio came closest to unifying all the different stylistic currents of the time, writing madrigals which attempted to capture every nuance of emotion in the poems using every musical means then available. Marenzio wrote over 400 madrigals during his short life.

Yet another trend in madrigal composition after mid-century was the re-incorporation of lighter elements into the form, which had been predominantly a serious genre since its inception. Where verse by Petrarch had been the standard, and themes of love and longing and death had been typical, by the 1560s composers had begun bringing back elements of some lighter Italian forms, such as the villanella
Villanella
In music, a villanella is a form of light Italian secular vocal music which originated in Italy just before the middle of the 16th century...

, with their dancelike rhythms and verses on carefree subjects. Some of the composers who wrote in this manner included Marc'Antonio Ingegneri, the teacher of Monteverdi, Andrea Gabrieli
Andrea Gabrieli
Andrea Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance. The uncle of the somewhat more famous Giovanni Gabrieli, he was the first internationally renowned member of the Venetian School of composers, and was extremely influential in spreading the Venetian style in Italy as...

, and Giovanni Ferretti
Giovanni Ferretti
Giovanni Ferretti was an Italian composer of the Renaissance, best known for his secular music. He was important in the development of the lighter kind of madrigal current in the 1570s related to the villanella, and was influential as far away as England.-Life:His place of origin is uncertain,...

. The canzonetta
Canzonetta
In music, a canzonetta was a popular Italian secular vocal composition which originated around 1560...

 was a specific offshoot of the madrigal in this vein.

Especially during the late 16th century, composers were ingenious in their use of so-called "madrigalisms" — passages in which the music assigned to a particular word expresses its meaning, for example, setting riso (smile) to a passage of quick, running notes which imitate laughter, or sospiro (sigh) to a note which falls to the note below. This technique is also known as "word-painting." While it originated in secular music, it made its way into other vocal music of the period. While this mannerism is a prominent feature of madrigals of the late 16th century, including both Italian and English, it encountered sharp criticism from some composers. Thomas Campion
Thomas Campion
Thomas Campion was an English composer, poet and physician. He wrote over a hundred lute songs; masques for dancing, and an authoritative technical treatise on music.-Life:...

, writing in the preface to his first book of lute song
Lute song
The lute song was a generic form of music in the late Renaissance and very early Baroque eras, generally consisting of a singer accompanying himself on a lute, though lute songs may often have been performed by a singer and a separate lutenist...

s 1601, said of it: "... where the nature of everie word is precisely expresst in the Note ... such childish observing of words is altogether ridiculous."

The madrigal at the end of the 16th century


The change in the social function of the madrigal at the end of the 16th century contributed to its development into new dramatic forms. Since its invention, it had served two principal roles: as a pleasant private entertainment for small groups of skilled amateur musicians; and as an adjunct to large ceremonial public performances. The first use, the private one, was by far the most common throughout the life of the madrigal, and it was through these enthusiastic gatherings of amateurs that the madrigal acquired its fame. However, in the last two decades of the century, virtuoso professional singers began to replace amateurs, and composers wrote music for them of greater dramatic force. Not only was this music harder to sing, but the sentiments expressed tended to require soloists rather than equal members of an ensemble in order to be dramatically convincing. Also during this period a division between performers and passive audiences – not the large audiences present at a public ceremonial spectacle, as seen earlier in the century, but relatively small, intimate gatherings, with performers and listeners, a situation recognizably modern – began to be seen, especially in such progressive cultural centers as Ferrara and Mantua. Much of what was once expressed in a madrigal in 1590, could twenty years later be expressed by an aria
Aria
An aria in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term is now used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice usually with orchestral accompaniment...

 in the new form of opera; however, the madrigal continued to live on into the 17th century, in several forms, including old-style madrigals for many voices; a solo form with instrumental accompaniment; and the concertato madrigal, of which Claudio Monteverdi was the most famous practitioner.

Naples was the home of the nobleman Carlo Gesualdo
Carlo Gesualdo
Carlo Gesualdo, known as Gesualdo di Venosa or Gesualdo da Venosa , Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, was an Italian nobleman, lutenist, composer, and murderer....

, who killed his wife and her lover in flagrante delicto
In flagrante delicto
In flagrante delicto or sometimes simply in flagrante is a legal term used to indicate that a criminal has been caught in the act of committing an offence...

and wrote some of the most extravagantly expressive and harmonically experimental music prior to the 19th century. Gesualdo's style followed directly from Luzzaschi's, and he named the older composer as his mentor: the two worked together at Ferrara in the early 1590s, giving Gesualdo ample opportunity to absorb the chromaticism and textural contrasts of the Ferrarese, including Luzzaschi and Alfonso Fontanelli
Alfonso Fontanelli
Alfonso Fontanelli was an Italian composer, writer, diplomat, courtier, and nobleman of the late Renaissance...

. Gesualdo published six books of madrigals during his lifetime, as well as some sacred music in madrigalian style (for example the Tenebrae Responsories of 1611). No one followed Gesualdo down this path of mannerism
Mannerism
Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

 and extreme chromaticism, although composers such as Antonio Cifra
Antonio Cifra
Antonio Cifra was an Italian composer of the Roman School of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the significant transitional figures between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and produced music in both idioms.-Life and works:Son of Costanzo and Claudia, Antonio Cifra was born...

, Sigismondo d'India
Sigismondo d'India
Sigismondo d'India was an Italian composer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the most accomplished contemporaries of Monteverdi, and wrote music in many of the same forms as the more famous composer.-Life:D'India was probably born in Palermo, Sicily in 1582, though...

, and Domenico Mazzocchi
Domenico Mazzocchi
Domenico Mazzocchi was an Italian baroque composer of the generation after Claudio Monteverdi. He was a composer of only vocal music, motets, oratorios and madrigals which have continuo, similar to the late Monteverdi's ones....

 selectively used some of his techniques.

Monteverdi; transition to the "concerted" madrigal



Of all the composers of madrigals of the late 16th century, none was as central a figure as Claudio 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...

, who was often credited as the principal actor in the transition from Renaissance music to Baroque music. In his long career, he wrote nine books of madrigals, which showed the transition from the late 16th-century polyphonic style to the monodic
Monody
In poetry, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death....

 and concertato
Concertato
Concertato is a term in early Baroque music referring to either a genre or a style of music in which groups of instruments or voices share a melody, usually in alternation, and almost always over a basso continuo...

 style, accompanied by basso continuo, of the early Baroque. As expressive as Gesualdo, he avoided the extremes of chromaticism employed by that composer and instead focused on the dramatic possibilities inherent in the form. His fifth and sixth books include not only polyphonic madrigals for equal voices in the manner of the late 16th century, but also madrigals with parts for solo voice accompanied by continuo; additionally these works make use of unprepared dissonances and recitative-like passages, foreshadowing the eventual absorption of the solo madrigal into the aria. These madrigals also show the influence of monody
Monody
In poetry, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death....

, developing at the same time: Manfred Bukofzer called the development of the recitative-like 'stile rappresentativo' around 1600 as "the most important turning point in the entire history of music." To Monteverdi the words must be "the mistress of the harmony", and he explained this doctrine in his preface to his Fifth Book of Madrigals with his coinage of the term 'seconda pratica', in response to the fierce criticism of Giovanni Artusi
Giovanni Artusi
Giovanni Maria Artusi was an Italian theorist, composer, 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 era...

, who defended the polyphonic style of the 16th century with its controlled dissonance and equal voice parts, and attacked the "barbaric" new style.

After 1600: the "concerted madrigal"


During the first decade of the 17th century the madrigal moved away from the old ideal of an a cappella vocal composition for equally balanced voices, into a piece for one or more voices with instrumental accompaniment. The soprano and bass line became more important to the texture than the inner voices, if they existed at all as independent parts; functional tonality began to develop; composers treated dissonance more freely than before; and dramatic contrasts between groupings of voices and instruments became increasingly common. In the 17th century madrigal, two separate trends can be identified: the solo madrigal, which involved a solo voice with basso continuo, and madrigals for two or more voices, also with basso continuo. In addition, some composers continued to write ensemble madrigals in the older style, especially in England.
While the harmonic and dramatic changes in the madrigal around 1600 may seem abrupt, the addition of instruments was not a new development. Instrumental performance of madrigals had already been widespread for much of the 16th century, either in arrangements or in performances mixed with singers. As madrigals had originally been largely designed for performance by groups of talented amateurs, without a passive audience, instruments were also commonly used to fill in for missing parts. Instrumentation during the period was rarely specified; indeed Monteverdi indicated in his fifth and sixth book of madrigals that the basso seguente, the instrumental bass part, was optional in the ensemble madrigals. The most commonly used instruments for playing the bass line and filling in any inner parts, at this time, were the lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

, theorbo
Theorbo
A theorbo is a plucked string instrument. As a name, theorbo signifies a number of long-necked lutes with second pegboxes, such as the liuto attiorbato, the French théorbe des pièces, the English theorbo, the archlute, the German baroque lute, the angélique or angelica. The etymology of the name...

, chitarrone, and harpsichord
Harpsichord
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

.

One of the prominent composers of madrigals in the solo with continuo style, related to monody and descended directly from the experimental music of the Florentine Camerata
Florentine Camerata
The Florentine Camerata was a group of humanists, musicians, poets and intellectuals in late Renaissance Florence who gathered under the patronage of Count Giovanni de' Bardi to discuss and guide trends in the arts, especially music and drama...

, was Giulio Caccini
Giulio Caccini
Giulio Caccini , also known as Giulio Romano, was an Italian composer, teacher, singer, instrumentalist and writer of the very late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the founders of the genre of opera, and one of the single most influential creators of the new Baroque style...

, who published the first collection of solo madrigals with his Le nuove musiche in 1601/2. The point was anti-contrapuntal: Caccini and the Camerata believed that the words needed to be heard above all else, and polyphonic, evenly balanced voices easily obscured intelligibility. After Caccini, composers such as Marco da Gagliano
Marco da Gagliano
Marco da Gagliano was an Italian composer of the early Baroque era. He was important in the early history of opera and the development of the solo and concerted madrigal.-Life:...

, Sigismondo d'India
Sigismondo d'India
Sigismondo d'India was an Italian composer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the most accomplished contemporaries of Monteverdi, and wrote music in many of the same forms as the more famous composer.-Life:D'India was probably born in Palermo, Sicily in 1582, though...

, and Claudio Saracini
Claudio Saracini
Claudio Saracini was an Italian composer, lutenist, and singer of the early Baroque era. He was one of the most famous and distinguished composers of monody.-Life:Saracini was born to a noble family, probably in Siena...

 published collections of their own; while Caccini's music was almost entirely diatonic, some of these later composers, particular d'India, wrote their solo madrigals in a more experimental chromatic idiom. Monteverdi himself wrote only one solo madrigal, which he published in his Seventh Book of Madrigals in 1619. While it uses only one singing voice, it employs three separate groups of instruments – a considerable advance from the simple voice and basso continuo compositions of Caccini at the turn of the century.

Solo madrigals in the monodic style began to go out of fashion shortly before 1620, to be replaced by the aria. The last book of solo madrigals which did not contain any arias appeared in 1618; that was also the first year in which a group of arias was published which contained no madrigals. After that date arias outnumbered madrigals, and both Saracini and d'India, previously prolific composers of solo madrigals, ceased publishing them in the early 1620s.

Two collections of the late 1630s serve as a summation of late madrigal practice. Domenico Mazzocchi
Domenico Mazzocchi
Domenico Mazzocchi was an Italian baroque composer of the generation after Claudio Monteverdi. He was a composer of only vocal music, motets, oratorios and madrigals which have continuo, similar to the late Monteverdi's ones....

's 1638 book splits madrigals into continuo and ensemble works specifically intended to be performed a cappella; Mazzocchi's instructions are precise, and he even includes, for the first time in any printed music collection, symbols for crescendo and decrescendo. However, these madrigals were not intended for performance so much as study, and as such show that the form was being viewed in retrospect. Monteverdi's Book Eight, of the same year, contains some of the most famous madrigals of the entire epoch, including the enormous Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, a dramatic composition much like a secular oratorio. Among other innovations in this work is the stile concitato – the "stile of agitation", which uses, among other things, string tremolo. The pieces in Monteverdi's Book Eight, written over at least two decades, show just about every development in the madrigal since 1600.

Eventually the madrigal vanished as an independent form. The solo madrigal was supplanted by the aria and solo cantata; the ensemble madrigal by the cantata and dialogue. By 1640 few madrigals were still being published, and opera had become the predominant dramatic musical form.

English madrigal school



In England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, the madrigal became hugely popular after the publication of Nicholas Yonge
Nicholas Yonge
Nicholas Yonge was an English singer and publisher. He is most famous for publishing the Musica transalpina , a collection of Italian madrigals with their words translated into English...

's Musica Transalpina in 1588, a collection of Italian madrigals fitted with English translations; this publication initiated an entire school of madrigal composition in England. The unaccompanied madrigal survived longer in England than in the rest of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. There, composers continued to produce works in the late-16th century style of the genre after the form had gone out of fashion on the Continent.

Madrigals elsewhere in Europe


Madrigals influenced secular music in many other parts of Europe, and in some areas composers wrote actual madrigals, either in Italian or in their own languages. The amount of influence was roughly inversely proportional to the strength of the local secular musical tradition: for example France, which had the robust and sophisticated form of the chanson during the 16th century, never adopted the madrigal – they did not need it. However some French composers, especially those who had been to Italy, used madrigalian techniques in their writing. These composers included cosmopolitan figures such as Orlande de Lassus
Orlande de Lassus
Orlande de Lassus was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance...

, who wrote in at least four languages, as well as Frenchmen such as Claude Le Jeune
Claude Le Jeune
Claude Le Jeune was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance. He was the primary representative of the musical movement known as musique mesurée, and a significant composer of the "Parisian" chanson, the predominant secular form in France in the latter half of the 16th century...

.

The Netherlands was a major center of music publishing, and since Italian madrigals were easily available from publishing houses, some native composers wrote works either in influence or imitation. Cornelis Verdonck
Cornelis Verdonck
Cornelis Verdonck was a Flemish composer of the late Renaissance. He was one of the last members of the Franco-Flemish school of polyphony, and was a notable composer of madrigals in a style that blended both Italian and native Netherlandish idioms.-Life:Verdonck was born in Turnhout...

, Hubert Waelrant
Hubert Waelrant
Hubert Waelrant was a Flemish composer, teacher, and music editor of the Renaissance...

, and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck was a Dutch composer, organist, and pedagogue whose work straddled the end of the Renaissance and beginning of the Baroque eras. He was among the first major keyboard composers of Europe, and his work as a teacher helped establish the north German organ...

 all composed madrigals in Italian.

Germany was the home of several prolific composers of madrigals, including Lassus (in Munich) and Philippe de Monte
Philippe de Monte
Philippe de Monte , sometimes known as Philippus de Monte, was a Flemish composer of the late Renaissance. He was a member of the 3rd generation madrigalists and wrote more madrigals than any other composer of the time...

 (Vienna), the most prolific madrigal composer of all. Many Germans had gone south to study in Italy, particularly with the Venetians; Hans Leo Hassler
Hans Leo Hassler
Hans Leo Hassler was a German composer and organist of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras, elder brother of the less-famous Jakob Hassler...

 studied with Andrea Gabrieli
Andrea Gabrieli
Andrea Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance. The uncle of the somewhat more famous Giovanni Gabrieli, he was the first internationally renowned member of the Venetian School of composers, and was extremely influential in spreading the Venetian style in Italy as...

, and Heinrich Schütz
Heinrich Schütz
Heinrich Schütz was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi...

 with Monteverdi. Each brought back to Germany what they learned, and wrote madrigals or madrigalian pieces both in Italian and German. Musicians from the courts of Denmark and Poland also studied the Italian style either in their home countries or in Italy; Marenzio himself had worked in Poland near the end of his life.

Madrigals after the 17th century


In early 18th century England, singing of madrigals was revived by catch and glee clubs, and later by the formation of the Madrigal Society in 1741, which still meets today. As a result of the printing and singing of madrigals, particularly English ones, the madrigal became the best-known form of Renaissance secular music in England in the 19th century, even before the rediscovery of works by composers such as Palestrina
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music and the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition...

.

Choral groups continue to sing madrigals to the present day. The Philippine Madrigal Singers, which specializes in this genre, is one of the most internationally awarded choirs.

The King's Singers
King's Singers
The King's Singers is a British a cappella vocal ensemble who celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2008. Their name recalls King's College in Cambridge, England, where the group was formed by six choral scholars in 1968. In the United Kingdom, their popularity peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s...

 is an all-male madrigal group that is one of the most internationally recognized and critically acclaimed vocal ensemble groups in the world. It specializes both in traditional madrigal pieces as well as contemporary music.

In the United States madrigal choirs are particularly popular with high school and college groups, and often sing in the context of a madrigal dinner
Madrigal dinner
A Madrigal Dinner or Madrigal Feast is an American form of dinner theater often held by schools and church groups during the Christmas season. It is set in the Middle Ages and is generally comedic in nature. The meal is divided into courses, each of which is heralded with a traditional song...

. This may also include a play, Renaissance costumes, and instrumental chamber music
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

. The focus is generally on the repertoire of the English Madrigal School
English Madrigal School
The English Madrigal School was the brief but intense flowering of the musical madrigal in England, mostly from 1588 to 1627, along with the composers who produced them. The English madrigals were a cappella, predominantly light in style, and generally began as either copies or direct translations...

.

Early composers of madrigals

  • Jacques Arcadelt
    Jacques Arcadelt
    Jacques Arcadelt was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance, active in both Italy and France, and principally known as a composer of secular vocal music...

     - I Libro a 4, 1543. Author of the most reprinted book of madrigals.
  • Francesco Corteccia
    Francesco Corteccia
    Francesco Corteccia was an Italian composer, organist, and teacher of the Renaissance. Not only was he one of the best known of the early composers of madrigals, and an important native Italian composer during a period of domination by composers from the Low Countries, but he was the most...

     - court composer to Cosimo I de' Medici
  • Costanzo Festa
    Costanzo Festa
    Costanzo Festa was an Italian composer of the Renaissance. While he is best known for his madrigals, he also wrote sacred vocal music...

     - I Libro a 3, 1541. The first native Italian composer of madrigals
  • Bernardo Pisano
    Bernardo Pisano
    Bernardo Pisano was an Italian composer, priest, singer, and scholar of the Renaissance. He was one of the first madrigalists, and the first composer anywhere to have a printed collection of secular music devoted entirely to himself.- Life :He was born in Florence, and may have spent some time...

  • Cypriano de Rore- I Libro a 5, 1542
  • Philippe Verdelot
    Philippe Verdelot
    Philippe Verdelot was a French composer of the Renaissance, who spent most of his life in Italy. He is commonly considered to be the father of the Italian madrigal, and certainly was one of its earliest and most prolific composers; in addition he was prominent in the musical life of Florence...

     - I Libro a 5, 1535. One of the first madrigalists, also associated with the Medici court
  • Adrian Willaert
    Adrian Willaert
    Adrian Willaert was a Flemish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there....

     - Franco-Flemish composer, founder of the Venetian School

Late renaissance madrigal composers

  • Andrea Gabrieli
    Andrea Gabrieli
    Andrea Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance. The uncle of the somewhat more famous Giovanni Gabrieli, he was the first internationally renowned member of the Venetian School of composers, and was extremely influential in spreading the Venetian style in Italy as...

     - I Libro a 3, 1575
  • Orlando di Lasso
  • Francisco Leontaritis
    Francisco Leontaritis
    Francisco Leontaritis or Francesco Londarit or Francesco Londarit, Franciscus Londariti, Leondaryti, Londaretus, Londaratus or Londaritus was a Greek composer, singer and hymnographer from today's Heraklion of the Venetian-dominated Crete at the Renaissance age...

  • Philippe de Monte
    Philippe de Monte
    Philippe de Monte , sometimes known as Philippus de Monte, was a Flemish composer of the late Renaissance. He was a member of the 3rd generation madrigalists and wrote more madrigals than any other composer of the time...

     - author of the largest number of madrigal books.
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music and the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition...

     - famous mostly for his sacred music, he also wrote at least 140 secular madrigals.

On the threshold of the baroque

  • Camillo Cortellini
    Camillo Cortellini
    Camillo Cortellini was an Italian composer, singer, and violinist.Cortellini was born in Bologna on January 24, 1561, son of the composer Gaspare "the viola" Cortellini, and following his father's profession Camillo was nicknamed "violino." His musical education was received first from his father...

     - I Libro a 5 e 6, 1583
  • Carlo Gesualdo
    Carlo Gesualdo
    Carlo Gesualdo, known as Gesualdo di Venosa or Gesualdo da Venosa , Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, was an Italian nobleman, lutenist, composer, and murderer....

     - I Libro, 1594
  • Sigismondo d'India
    Sigismondo d'India
    Sigismondo d'India was an Italian composer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the most accomplished contemporaries of Monteverdi, and wrote music in many of the same forms as the more famous composer.-Life:D'India was probably born in Palermo, Sicily in 1582, though...

     - I Libro a 5, 1606
  • Luzzasco Luzzaschi
    Luzzasco Luzzaschi
    Luzzasco Luzzaschi was an Italian composer, organist, and teacher of the late Renaissance. He was born and died in Ferrara, and despite evidence of travels to Rome it is assumed that Luzzaschi spent the majority of his life in his native city.As a pupil of Cipriano de Rore, Luzzaschi developed...

     - I Libro a 5, 1571
  • Luca Marenzio
    Luca Marenzio
    Luca Marenzio was an Italian composer and singer of the late Renaissance. He was one of the most renowned composers of madrigals, and wrote some of the most famous examples of the form in its late stage of development, prior to its early Baroque transformation by Monteverdi...

     - I Libro a 5, 1580
  • Claudio 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...

     - I Libro a 5, 1587
  • Giaches de Wert
    Giaches de Wert
    Giaches de Wert was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance, active in Italy. Intimately connected with the progressive musical center of Ferrara, he was one of the leaders in developing the style of the late Renaissance madrigal...

     - I Libro a 5, 1558

Composers of Baroque madrigals


The old a capella style of madrigal for 4 or 5 unaccompanied voices continued in parallel with the new concertato style but the watershed of the seconda prattica is marked by Monteverdi's Fifth Book in 1605 which provided an autonomous basso continuo line.

Italy

  • Agostino Agazzari
    Agostino Agazzari
    Agostino Agazzari was an Italian composer and music theorist.-Life:Agazzari was born in Siena to an aristocratic family. After working in Rome, as a teacher at the Roman College, he returned to Siena in 1607, becoming first organist and later choirmaster of the cathedral there...

     - I Libro a 5, 1600
  • Adriano Banchieri
    Adriano Banchieri
    Adriano Banchieri was an Italian composer, music theorist, organist and poet of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He founded the Accademia dei Floridi in Bologna.-Biography:...

  • Giulio Caccini
    Giulio Caccini
    Giulio Caccini , also known as Giulio Romano, was an Italian composer, teacher, singer, instrumentalist and writer of the very late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the founders of the genre of opera, and one of the single most influential creators of the new Baroque style...

  • Antonio Cifra
    Antonio Cifra
    Antonio Cifra was an Italian composer of the Roman School of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the significant transitional figures between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and produced music in both idioms.-Life and works:Son of Costanzo and Claudia, Antonio Cifra was born...

     - I Libro a 5, 1605
  • Sigismondo d'India
    Sigismondo d'India
    Sigismondo d'India was an Italian composer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the most accomplished contemporaries of Monteverdi, and wrote music in many of the same forms as the more famous composer.-Life:D'India was probably born in Palermo, Sicily in 1582, though...

  • Marco da Gagliano
    Marco da Gagliano
    Marco da Gagliano was an Italian composer of the early Baroque era. He was important in the early history of opera and the development of the solo and concerted madrigal.-Life:...

     - I Libro a 5, 1602
  • Alessandro Grandi
    Alessandro Grandi
    Alessandro Grandi was a northern Italian composer of the early Baroque era, writing in the new concertato style...

  • Marco Marazzoli
    Marco Marazzoli
    Marco Marazzoli was an Italian priest and composer.-Early life:Born at Parma, Marazzoli received early training as a priest, and was ordained around 1625. He moved to Rome in 1626, and entered the service of Cardinal Antonio Barberini...

  • Domenico Mazzocchi
    Domenico Mazzocchi
    Domenico Mazzocchi was an Italian baroque composer of the generation after Claudio Monteverdi. He was a composer of only vocal music, motets, oratorios and madrigals which have continuo, similar to the late Monteverdi's ones....

     - Madrigali a 5, 1638
  • Claudio 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...

  • Giovanni Priuli
    Giovanni Priuli
    Giovanni Priuli was an Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods. A late member of the Venetian School, and a contemporary of Claudio Monteverdi, he was a prominent musician in Venice in the first decade of the 17th century, departing after the death of his...

     - I Libro, 1604
  • Paolo Quagliati
    Paolo Quagliati
    Paolo Quagliati was an Italian composer of the early Baroque era and a member of the Roman School of composers...

     - I Libro a 4, 1608
  • Michelangelo Rossi
    Michelangelo Rossi
    Michelangelo Rossi was an important Italian composer, violinist and organist of the Baroque era....

  • Salamone Rossi
    Salamone Rossi
    Salamone Rossi or Salomone Rossi was an Italian Jewish violinist and composer. He was a transitional figure between the late Italian Renaissance period and early Baroque.-Life:...

     - I Libro a 5, 1600. His Secondo Libro, 1602, is the first example of madrigals published with continuo.
  • Claudio Saracini
    Claudio Saracini
    Claudio Saracini was an Italian composer, lutenist, and singer of the early Baroque era. He was one of the most famous and distinguished composers of monody.-Life:Saracini was born to a noble family, probably in Siena...

  • Barbara Strozzi
    Barbara Strozzi
    Barbara Strozzi was an Italian Baroque singer and composer.-Life:...

     - I Libro a 2-5vv with bc, 1644
  • Orazio Vecchi
    Orazio Vecchi
    Orazio Vecchi was an Italian composer of the late Renaissance. He is most famous for his madrigal comedies, particularly L'Amfiparnaso.- Life :...

     - I Libro a 6, 1583

Germany

  • Hans Leo Hassler
    Hans Leo Hassler
    Hans Leo Hassler was a German composer and organist of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras, elder brother of the less-famous Jakob Hassler...

     - I Libro, 1600
  • Johann Hermann Schein
    Johann Schein
    Johann Hermann Schein was a German composer of the early Baroque era. He was born in Grünhain and died in Leipzig...

  • Heinrich Schütz
    Heinrich Schütz
    Heinrich Schütz was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi...

     - I Libro a 5, Venice 1611.

English madrigal school

  • Thomas Bateson
    Thomas Bateson
    Thomas Bateson, Batson or Betson was an English writer of madrigals in the early 17th century.He is said to have been organist of Chester Cathedral in 1599, and is believed to have been the first musical graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. He served as Vicar Choral and organist of Christ Church...

  • William Byrd
    William Byrd
    William Byrd was an English composer of the Renaissance. He wrote in many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard and consort music.-Provenance:Knowledge of Byrd's biography expanded in the late 20th century, thanks largely...

  • John Dowland
    John Dowland
    John Dowland was an English Renaissance composer, singer, and lutenist. He is best known today for his melancholy songs such as "Come, heavy sleep" , "Come again", "Flow my tears", "I saw my Lady weepe" and "In darkness let me dwell", but his instrumental music has undergone a major revival, and has...

  • John Farmer
  • Orlando Gibbons
    Orlando Gibbons
    Orlando Gibbons was an English composer, virginalist and organist of the late Tudor and early Jacobean periods...

  • Thomas Morley
    Thomas Morley
    Thomas Morley was an English composer, theorist, editor and organist of the Renaissance, and the foremost member of the English Madrigal School. He was the most famous composer of secular music in Elizabethan England and an organist at St Paul's Cathedral...

  • Thomas Tomkins
    Thomas Tomkins
    Thomas Tomkins was an English composer of the late Tudor and early Stuart period. In addition to being one of the prominent members of the English madrigal school, he was a skilled composer of keyboard and consort music, and the last member of the English virginalist school.-Life:Tomkins was born...

  • Thomas Weelkes
    Thomas Weelkes
    Thomas Weelkes was an English composer and organist. He became organist of Winchester College in 1598, moving to Chichester Cathedral. His works are chiefly vocal, and include madrigals, anthems and services.-Life:Weelkes was baptised in the little village church of Elsted in Sussex on 25...

  • John Wilbye
    John Wilbye
    John Wilbye , was an English madrigal composer. The son of a tanner, he was born at Brome, Suffolk, near Diss, and received the patronage of the Cornwallis family. It is thought that he accompanied Elizabeth Cornwallis to Hengrave Hall near Bury St...



Some 60 madrigals of the English School are published in The Oxford Book of English Madrigals

Contemporary

  • György Ligeti
    György Ligeti
    György Sándor Ligeti was a composer of contemporary classical music. Born in a Hungarian Jewish family in Transylvania, Romania, he briefly lived in Hungary before becoming an Austrian citizen.-Early life:...

  • Moondog
    Moondog
    Moondog, born Louis Thomas Hardin , was a blind American composer, musician, poet and inventor of several musical instruments. Moving to New York as a young man, Moondog made a deliberate decision to make his home on the streets there, where he spent approximately twenty of the thirty years he...

  • Bohuslav Martinů
    Bohuslav Martinu
    Bohuslav Martinů was a prolific Czech composer of modern classical music. He was of Czech and Rumanian ancestry. Martinů wrote six symphonies, 15 operas, 14 ballet scores and a large body of orchestral, chamber, vocal and instrumental works. Martinů became a violinist in the Czech Philharmonic...

  • Ned Rorem
    Ned Rorem
    Ned Rorem is a Pulitzer prize-winning American composer and diarist. He is best known and most praised for his song settings.-Life:...

  • Morten Lauridsen
    Morten Lauridsen
    Morten Johannes Lauridsen is an American composer. He was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 30 years.-Biography:Lauridsen was born February 27, 1943, in...

  • George Crumb
    George Crumb
    George Crumb is an American composer of contemporary classical music. He is noted as an explorer of unusual timbres, alternative forms of notation, and extended instrumental and vocal techniques. Examples include seagull effect for the cello , metallic vibrato for the piano George Crumb (born...

  • Emma Lou Diemer
    Emma Lou Diemer
    Emma Lou Diemer is an American composer. Diemer has written many works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, keyboard, voice, chorus , and electronic media...

  • Paul Mealor
    Paul Mealor
    Paul Mealor is a Welsh composer. Described by the New York Times as "one of the most important composers to have emerged in Welsh choral music since William Mathias", Mealor’s motets, songs and cycles have been performed, broadcast and recorded by artists around the world.-Biography:Born in St...


Musical examples

  • Stage 1 Madrigal: Arcadelt, Ahime, dov'e bel viso, 1538
  • Stage 2 Madrigal (prima practica): Willaert, Aspro core e selvaggio, mid 1540s
  • Stage 3 Madrigal (seconda practica): Gesualdo, Io parto e non piu dissi, 1590–1611
  • Stage 4 Madrigal: Caccini, Perfidissimo volto, 1602
  • Stage 5 Madrigal: Monteverdi, Il Combatimento di Tancredi et Clorinda, 1624
  • English Madrigal: Weelkes, O Care, thou wilt despatch me, late 16th century/early 17th century
  • Nineteenth century imitation of an English Madrigal: "Brightly dawns our wedding day" from the Gilbert and Sullivan
    Gilbert and Sullivan
    Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan . The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S...

     comic opera
    Opera
    Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

    , The Mikado
    The Mikado
    The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert, their ninth of fourteen operatic collaborations...

    (1885)
  • The song "Madrigal" by British progressive rock
    Progressive rock
    Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

     band Yes
    Yes (band)
    Yes are an English rock band who achieved worldwide success with their progressive, art, and symphonic style of rock music. Regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre, Yes are known for their lengthy songs, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, and live stage sets...


Media



Further reading

  • Oliphant, Thomas, ed. (1837) La musa madrigalesca, or, A collection of madrigals, ballets, roundelays etc.: chiefly of the Elizabethan age; with remarks and annotations. London: Calkin and Budd

External links