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Prima pratica

Prima pratica

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Prima pratica refers to early Baroque music
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...

 which looks more to the style of 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...

, or the style codified by 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...

, than to more "modern" styles. It is contrasted with 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...

music. (Synonymous terms are stile antico
Stile antico
Stile antico, literally "ancient style", is a term describing music from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries. It refers to a manner of composition which is historically conscious, as opposed to stile moderno...

and stile moderno, respectively.) The term prima pratica was first used during the conflict between 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...

 and 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...

 about the new musical style.

At first, prima pratica referred only to the style of approaching and leaving dissonances
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 his Seconda parte dell'Artusi (1603), 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...

 writes about the new style of dissonances, referring specifically to the practice of not properly preparing dissonances (see Counterpoint
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,...

), and rising after a flattened note or descending after a sharpened note. In another book, his L'Artusi, overo Delle imperfettioni della moderna musica (1600) ("The Artusi, or imperfections of modern music") Artusi had also attacked Monteverdi specifically, using examples from his madrigal "Cruda Amarilli" to discredit the new style.

Monteverdi responded in a preface to his fifth book of madrigals, and his brother Giulio Cesare Monteverdi
Giulio Cesare Monteverdi
Giulio Cesare Monteverdi was an Italian composer and organist; he was the younger brother of Claudio Monteverdi.Giulio Cesare Monteverdi was born in Cremona where he was baptised on 31 January 1573. In 1600 he held the position of organist of Mantua Cathedral for a brief time. In August 1602 he...

responded in Scherzi Musicale (1607) to Artusi's attacks on Monteverdi's music, advancing the view that the old music subordinated text to music, whereas in the new music the text dominated the music. Old rules of counterpoint could be broken in service of the text. According to Giulio Cesare, these concepts were a hearkening back to ancient Greek musical practice.