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The Performance of

16th-Century Music
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The Performance Of
16th-Century Music
Learning From The Theorists

By Anne Smith

1
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Library of Congress Cataloging‐in‐Publication Data


Smith, Anne, 1951–
The performance of 16th‐century music : learning from the theorists / by Anne Smith.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978–0–19–974262–2 (hardback)—ISBN 978–0–19–974261–5 (pbk.)
1. Performance practice (Music)—History—16th century. I. Title.
ML457.S65 2010
781.4'309031—dc22 2010007428
Oxford Web Music
Visit the companion website at:
www.oup.com/us/performing16thcenturymusic
For more information on Oxford Web Music, visit www.oxfordwebmusic.com

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Printed in the United States of America


on acid‐free paper
acknowledgments

I would herewith like to express my gratitude for being granted permission from the
publishers to use longer quotations from the following works.
Benito V. Rivera’s translation of Joachim Burmeister, Musica Poetica. Rostock. New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.
Almonte C. Howell and Warren E. Hultberg’s translation of Fray Thomas de Sancta
Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia, as The Art of Playing the Fantasia.
Pittsburgh: Latin American Literary Review Press, 1991.
Maria Rika Maniates’ translation of Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla mod-
erna prattica as Ancient Music Adapted to Modern Practice. New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1996.
Guy A. Marco and Claude V. Palisca’s translation of Part Three of Gioseffo Zarlino, Le
Istitutioni harmoniche as The Art of Counterpoint. New Haven: Yale University Press,
1968.
Vered Cohen and Claude V. Palisca’s translation of Part Four of Gioseffo Zarlino, Le
Istitutioni harmoniche as On the Modes. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983.
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about the companion web site

www.oup.com/us/performing16thcenturymusic

Oxford has created a web site to accompany Performing 16 th‐Century Music: Learning
from the Theorists to facilitate putting the content of the book into practice. By making
it possible to download the four complete musical examples in the text, both in fac-
simile and in transcription, we hope to encourage readers to get together with their
friends and colleagues and experiment with the ideas in the book.
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preface

This book is intended for practical musicians. Most of us come to the performance of
16th‐century polyphony with ideas and concepts from later music—we approach it in
just the same manner that we approach later music, read it just the way we read later
music, try and find the same sorts of harmonic consequence that we find in later music.
By doing so, we overlook some of the primary differences between this repertory and
that of later epochs, even that of the early 17th century. It is just these distinctions, how-
ever, that can make the difference between a stunning performance and one of relative
mediocrity.
In about 40 years of performing, teaching, and studying this repertory and the
theoretical sources appertaining to it, I have come to realize that by acquiring some of
the basic fundamentals of 16th‐century music‐making as revealed by the sources, both
practical and theoretical, a very different understanding of the music emerges. It has
come to seem much more foreign to me than I had ever envisioned it could be.
Because the manner in which musicians in the past learned music was so different
from our approach today, it is hard for us to perceive this music from their perspec-
tive, as we assume that their understanding of the fundamentals of music‐making was
the same as our own. It is just this difference in approach that I wish to investigate
with this book.
One of the problems of writing a practical music theory book is knowing where to
draw the line between practical instruction and musicological documentation.
Throughout this book I have been forced to perform a balancing act, attempting to
present practical concepts clearly in a manner readily accessible to today’s musicians—
which of necessity will require some sort of simplification, a winnowing‐out of local
variants from the general trends throughout the 16th century—while at the same time
doing justice to the sources. I hope that both the practical musicians and musicologists
will forgive me when I veer too strongly in the one direction or the other.
This journey, of course, must be limited to a few salient areas of study, ones that I
believe have the greatest impact on the way we approach, hear, and perform this music.
I begin with that which I consider to be the biggest difference, and the most significant
one, between current performance practice and that of the 16th century, namely the fact
that we live in a score‐based culture, whereas theirs was based around part‐books and
choir‐books. This in turn is examined in light of the basic learning methods of the
time, in particular memorization. It is only after this that solmization and its effect on
both the flow of the melodic line as well as the sound quality of the whole entity will
be explored. The effect of the application of the inherent quality of solmization sylla-
bles has, in particular, astonished people, leading the recorder player and conductor
x Preface

Peter van Heyghen, for example, to say that “it is the key to the performance of music
of this period;” or my colleague for historical improvisation Nicola Cumer to remark
that “it is shocking, because it would revolutionize the performance practice of this
music.” The fourth chapter concerns itself with the metric hierarchy as expressed by
the tactus and issues of rhythmic equality and inequality in the articulation of the
melodic line. The next few chapters are devoted to issues of structure and its relation
to rhetoric in both composition and performance. The basic elements defining struc-
ture are looked at first: cadences and modes. This information is then used in the con-
text of Burmeister’s rhetorical analysis of Lasso’s In me transierunt irae tuae as a means
of demonstrating how our understanding of the construction of the piece can affect
our performance of it. This is followed by a chapter on what musicians of the time
were expected to be able to do, and what was thought necessary for a good performance
of music. The final chapter, on how the changes in musical practice during the course
of the 16th century came to affect the musical substance around 1600, brings us back to
the differences between a musical culture based on part books and one based on
scores.
I am indebted to my colleagues and students over the years whose reactions to this
material have encouraged me to continue. First of all, I would like to take the opportu-
nity here to thank Joshua Rifkin for stimulating my interest in renaissance music when
I was an undergraduate at Brandeis University and for all the engaging conversations
over the years. The specific catalyst for this book was an invitation from Barthold
Kuijken to give a six‐hour lecture at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels on the subject
of what one could learn from the theorists about the performance practice of
polyphony. This was an unparalleled opportunity for gathering and ordering my
thoughts on this subject. Then there are all the years of teaching the renaissance flute
and playing in consort that have allowed me to experiment with the material. I would
especially like to thank Kate Clark and Sarah van Cornewal for their love and enthu-
siasm for the instrument and its music, as this served as a great impetus for my work
on this material. And, of course, I am very appreciative of the time that so many people
took to read first versions (of parts) of this book: Catherine Motuz, Gawain Glenton,
Bruce Haynes, Keal Kouper, Liz Rumsey, and Peter van Heygen. In particular the con-
structive comments of Boaz Berney, Bonnie Blackburn, Silke Leopold, Martina Papiro,
and Simon van Damme were of great value. Paul O’Dette and Scott Metcalfe with their
own passion for the music pushed me to go even further with their detailed construc-
tive criticism. In addition Paul, in his eagerness to bring greater rhetoric to this music,
even contributed further quotations from his own work on the subject. Anthony Bailes,
Sven Schwannberger and Thomas Leiniger were all generous is sharing their wealth of
information on small ornaments. Further my thanks goes to Hartwig Thomas and
Klaus Weimar for their assistance in the translation of the Latin texts, whereby it must
be said that the final responsibility for all unattributed translations in this book must
be laid at my doorstep. And finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the
Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and thus also the two directors of the institution under
which I have worked, Peter Reidemeister and Regula Rapp, for the opportunity it has
given me over the years to explore 16th‐century music.
contents

About the Companion Web Site vii


Preface ix

1. Introduction 1

2. Part‐Book versus Score Culture 4

3. Solmization 20

4. Metric Hierarchy, Articulation, and Rhythmic Flexibility 55

5. Cadences 71

6. Mode 88

7. The Rhetoric of Counterpoint 102

8. What Skills Were Expected of Professional Musicians? 131

9. Score Culture 153

10. Conclusion 162

Appendix: Modal Characteristics 165


Bibliography 233
Index 241
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1
introduction

Today polyphony is a word with many connotations—depending on our background,


it can conjure up the idea of the pure interweaving of melodic lines found in a Palestrina
motet, the stringency of a Bach fugue, or, in contemporary music, the prevailing of
multiple melodic lines over harmonic considerations. It is difficult for us today not to
mush all of these different meanings together when we think about a specific piece of
music. I know, in spite of all the time I have spent analyzing and performing 16th
century music, when I hear the word polyphony the thought of Bach is equally strong
in my mind, and with it the memory of learning to write four-part harmony to his
chorale melodies, with all of the implied harmonies. I think I have spent years search-
ing for the same sort of consequent use of vertical sonorities in 16th-century music,
rather than just looking at what is there and how that is used. And in doing so, I unin-
tentionally went far beyond the normal usage of the word polyphony in the 16th-cen-
tury Latin treatises where it simply implies music for multiple voices.
In addition, we have all grown up hearing this music; indeed it perhaps has the
longest unbroken performance tradition of all the early music we perform today,
largely due to Palestrina’s unquestioned position in the Catholic church and the English
tradition of sung services. Therefore at a very early age we have absorbed an image of
what this music should sound like, an image which most of us have not called into
question. I do not at all wish to say that this performance tradition has not undergone
change: it has certainly been influenced by the performance conventions of each era in
which it has been sung. But by the very fact that it has always been sung, we have a ten-
dency to just accept that this is the way things are.
In relation to this, I have come to wonder if one of the reasons that we do not often
hear moving performances of renaissance music is because of our inherited concept of
what renaissance music is. The pioneers of the early music movement—no matter what
music was involved—were reacting to a romantic ideal, and as a result perhaps went to the
other extreme, seeing 16th-century music as being something infinitely pure, even ascetic.

1
2 the performance of 16th-century music

Performances of this sort, however, have always left me unsatisfied, unfulfilled. As


a result I have been constantly plagued by the question of what can we do to make this
music interesting for an audience without employing superficial gimmicks. I think that
there is actually a relatively easy answer to that question: namely we need to approach
these pieces of music in the same manner as was done at the time, rhetorically. It is only
that we have lost the rhetorical tools we need for this music. Just as later audiences were
moved by CPE Bach’s performances, it is clear that this music had the power to move
people. This is manifestly illustrated by Othmar Luscinius when in Musurgia seu praxis
musicae (Strasbourg, 1536) he wrote the following of Paul Hofhaimer, with whom he
had studied in 1515:

Should I enumerate all musicians of importance and of first quality? . . . If one


wants to begin like Arat with Zeus, like Fabius with Homer, then one has to begin
with Paul Hofhaimer. Coming from the Noric Alps not far from Salzburg, he was
knighted by the blessed Emperor Maximilian, whose ear he enchanted with his
organ playing in church services and whose mind he knew how to direct at will—
and was at this an incomparably noble man with the greatest flexibility of spirit. . . . In
the execution of music, he showed just as much power as grace. He neither extended
himself in long songs causing distaste, nor in despicable brevity. Wherever he
turned his hands and mind to something, it flowed without interruption. Nothing
appeared barren, cold, or wearied in that angelic harmony; full-blooded, in open
streams everything glows and is full of vigor. The mobility of his fingers is marvel-
lous, without however harming the majesty of his musical construction. It is not
enough for him that something sound learned, it must be accompanied by grace
and beauty. All of his songs are rhythmically so perfect that if one were to take this
moment by itself, one would clearly hear the full harmony. His variety is so
immense that one can listen to him singing for years on end and not wonder as
much about how the ocean feeds all of the rivers, as about where he draws forth all
of his melodies.1

1
“Veruntamen quid attinet commemorare Musicos egregios, primaeque cohortis?. . . . Quarum si
quis Cathalogum texere uolet, rite ut Aratus a Ioue, Fabius ab Homero, ita ille quisquis futurus est, a
Paulo Hofhaimer auspicabitur. Hic in alpibus Noricis non longe a Saltzeburgo progenitus, stemmatis
donatus a diuo Maximiliano Caesare, cuius ille aures tenet, quoties organo sacris praecinit, trahitque
simul mentem quo lubet: nobilis alioqui, incomparabili in genio, summaque animi dexteritate. . . . Magna
illi in re Musica gerenda inest grauitas, neque leporis minus. Non illum protensa in longum Camoena,
ulli fastidiosum reddit, non breuitas despicabilem. Nihil non patente erumpit meatu, ubi ubi ille
manus, animumque intenderit. Nihil ieiunum apparet, nihil frigidum, at neque languet quippiam in
illa angelica harmonia: quinimmo ubere uena, ac patente meatu, feruent et succulenta sunt omnia.
Mira articulorum lenitas, non frangit sublimem illius modulandi maiestatem. Neque uero illi satis est
eruditum resonasse, nisi etiam amoenum quiddam et floridum concinuerit. Carmine quaeuis adeo
suis absoluta sunt numeris, ut si momentum inde ademeris, integritate sua destitutam plane iam har-
moniam sentias. Varietas illi tam immensa, ut si hunc aliquot annis quispiam audiat canentem, non
tam miretur, unde tot amnes euomat oceanus, quam unde ille depromat modos,” p. 18 (recte 16). This
is quoted in German translation in Hans Joachim Moser, Paul Hofhaimer, (Hildesheim: Georg Olms
Verlag, 1966), pp. 29–30.
3 Introduction

Have you ever actually been moved by a performance of Hofhaimer’s organ music?
Pontus de Tyard’s description of the effect of a lutenist’s playing—probably
Francesco da Milano—on his audience in his Solitaire second of 1555 is equally
dramatic:

The tables being cleared, he chose one, and as if tuning his strings, sat on the end
of a table seeking out a fantasia. He had barely disturbed the air with three
strummed chords when he interrupted conversation which had started among the
guests. Having constrained them to face him, he continued with such a ravishing
skill that little by little, making the strings languish under his fingers in his sublime
way, he transported all those who were listening into so pleasurable a melancholy
that—one leaning his head on his hand supported by his elbow, and another
sprawling with his limbs in careless deportment, with gaping mouth and more
than half-closed eyes, glued (one would judge) to those strings, and his chin fallen
on his breast, concealing his countenance with the saddest taciturnity ever seen—
they remained deprived of all senses save that of hearing, as if the spirit, having
abandoned all the seats of the senses had retired to the ears in order to enjoy the
more at its ease so ravishing a harmony; and I believe that we would be there still,
had he not himself—I know not how—changing his style of playing with a gentle
force, returned the spirit and the senses to the place from which he had stolen
them, not without leaving as much astonishment in each of us as if we had been
elevated by an ecstatic transport of some divine frenzy.2

And although these may be retrospective reports of the performances of the best
musicians of the recent past, ennobled to match the criteria of a later day,3 they indi-
cate to us where our efforts must be placed, namely in understanding the music and its
rhetoric to such a degree that we in turn may perform it in a way that is congruous
with the music. Only then will we begin to be able to move our audiences today.

2
Judy Tarling, The Weapons of Rhetoric, (Hertfordshire: Corda musica, 2004), pp. 73–74, in turn quot-
ing from the introduction to the complete works of Francesco da Milano, ed. Arthur J. Ness (1970), p. 2.
3
See Victor Coelho, “The Reputation of Francesco da Milano (1497–1543) and the Ricercars in the
Cavalcanti Lute Book,” Revue belge de musicologie 1 (1996), p. 56, for a discussion of how such posthu-
mous descriptions can be seen to serve the purpose of building up a reputation, rather than proffering
solid biographical “facts.”
2
part-book versus score culture

1. COMPOSITION IN THE 16TH CENTURY


Let us embark on this enterprise by looking at a fundamental transformation of
approach to music which took place towards the end of the 16th century: the change
from a part-book culture to a score culture. Music for multiple parts in the 16th century
(and earlier)—with very few exceptions—appeared either in choir-books with each
part carefully notated for itself, or in part books, where each part had its own book; it
did not appear in score. The only extant scores of vocal works that we have come from
the second half of the 16th century and were either made for study purposes or by
organists so that they could accompany the choir. Indeed Jessie Ann Owens has con-
tended in her book Composers at Work: The Craft of Musical Composition 1450–1600
that 16th-century composers seemed to have written their music down in the notational
form in which it would appear finally (i.e. in parts if it were later to appear in parts, in
tablature if it were to later appear in tablature).1 Although one can argue about the
degree to which composers were able to hear numerous simultaneous voices in their
heads, her evidence demonstrates that the practice of the time was significantly differ-
ent than the one we take for granted. Examination of some of this evidence will give an
idea of just what this difference between a part-book culture and a score culture might
mean for performance.
First of all, particularly competent musicians were apparently expected to have
some quite astonishing sight-reading skills. From Spanish sources, for example, we
know what sort of tests organists had to undergo when auditioning for a job. Bernardo

1
Jessie Ann Owens, Composers at Work: The Craft of Musical Composition 1450–1600, (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 196. This book was an inspiration to me, in that it brought musico-
logical corroboration to my conviction that 16th-century polyphony is most convincingly performed
from unbarred parts. It has been the major source of the information found in this chapter.

4
5 Part-book Versus Score Culture

Clavijo del Castillo, among other things, had to do the following when examined for a
professorship at the University of Salamanca: “a monachordio (spinet) was brought
into the examination room. The part-books of Clavijo’s own Motecta published at
Rome five years earlier were brought out, whereupon he was asked to sing and play one
of his six-part motets.” And at the competition for the organist position at Málaga
Cathedral in 1552 the following took place: “After vespers a choir-book was placed
before each, opened at random, and the sight and score-reading ability of each was
tested.”2 Further Bermudo writes that nobody can call himself a performer unless he
knows how to play his own music or that of others. He then goes on to say that the first
way to play this music on a keyboard instrument is by

. . . having a book of polyphony in front of one. He who wants to be a performer—if


he is a good singer who knows about composition—by studying what is in this
book and understanding the keyboard can play works on it [i.e., the keyboard]
with only having the book in front of him. This way of playing is very laborious, for
there is a lot of keeping track [literally, counting] when looking at all the parts, but
it is very profitable; one can make a lot of music this way.3

One could, of course, object that this was something that was only expected of organ-
ists, of musicians expected to play more than one part. But that this is not the case may
be seen in the theory books of the time in which most two-voice examples are notated
in parts, even examples of florid counterpoint. Three-voice examples, however, even in
the same sources were at times notated in some sort of score form. Pietro Pontio in his
Ragionamento di musica of 1588, in bringing a three-voice example after a number of
two-voice ones (in parts, of course), writes that the reader may find it easier to hear the
parallel octaves if he plays it on a keyboard instrument.4 One can thus conclude that he
expected the average reader to be able to read his two-voice examples without prob-
lems, but that they might have difficulty with a three-voice one.5
Furthermore, we have a letter from Luigi Zenobi, a cornetto player at the Ferrarese and
Viennese courts at the end of the 16th century, written at the behest of an unnamed prince,
about how one is to judge various types of musicians. His remarks about directors, in

2
Jessie Ann Owens, Composers at Work, pp. 48–49. These quotations were originally cited in Robert
Stevenson, Spanish Cathedral Music in the Golden Age, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961),
pp. 307–09.
3
“. . . . teniendo el libro de canto de organo delante. El que tañedor quisiere ser, si es buen cantor,
que sabe de composicion: con estudiar lo ya dicho en este libro, y entender el monachordio: puede
poner en el obras, con solamente tener delante el libro. Esta manera de poner es muy trabajosa, porque
llevan mucha cuenta mirando todas las bozes: pero es gananciosa. Hazen con ella gran caudal de
Musica.” Juan Bermudo, Declaración de instrumentos musicales, fol. lxxxiiv, as quoted by Jessie Ann
Owens, Composers at Work, p. 50.
4
Pietro Pontio, Ragionamento di musica, (Parma: Erasmo Viotto, 1588; facsimile, Kassel: Bärenreiter,
1959), p. 148.
5
I have begun practicing reading the examples and discovered that, although I find it quite diffi-
cult, it certainly is possible.
6 the performance of 16th-century music

particular, are of great interest in this context. First of all, he does not call a director a direttore,
but a rimettore, as one of his major jobs was to get people back into place who had gotten
lost. Indeed he writes that a rimettore must “have a ready, quick, and well-trained ear so as to
anticipate in a certain way anyone about to lose his part rather than waiting for him to
lose it.”6 Further, he must have a “voice that ranges with ease from high to low, but more low
than high, as a foundation, for if it fails, the director has more to worry about than if
something happens in the middle and the highest voices.”7 Here it is perhaps interesting to
note that he writes that a “real” bass should have a range of 22 notes of the same timbre
throughout, that is a range of three octaves.8 And finally he writes that a rimettore who
“directs well a single such singer in pieces with several sorts of difficulties can call himself a
skilled director, and he who directs two or three such singers in difficult pieces with various
problems when they have got off at the same time may justly call himself. . . . an accomplished
and extraordinary director.”9 So clearly a rimettore was expected to be able to follow all of the
voices from the choir-book, or part-books, and jump in wherever necessary. Zacconi sub-
stantiates this in what he writes about the requirements for a maestro di capella.10
And finally, apparently skill in this was something one learned through practice, as
is revealed in a section of Nicola Vincentino’s L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prat-
tica (Rome, 1555) in which he writes the following:

The scant experience of music students often gives rise to errors and mistakes in
compositions for three, four, five, or more voices. For instance, when an untutored
pupil must compose two sixths, the danger is that he will compose two fifths. The
inexperienced student makes frequent errors because he fails not only to concentrate
when composing but also to review his composition. So those who are not very
experienced should adopt the following rule.
To be certain that there are no errors in the case of a composition for
four or five voices, a student should begin with the soprano and check it dili-
gently note for note with all the other parts. When he has finished checking the
soprano with all the parts, he should then take the contralto and check it with

6
“che havere l’orecchia pronta, presta et aggiustata, prevenendo più tosto in certo modo, chi
[orig.: che] è per uscir della parte, che aspettando, ch’egli esca.” Bonnie J. Blackburn and Edward E.
Lowinsky, “Luigi Zenobi and his Letter on the Perfect Musician,” Studi musicali, 1993, p. 81, in the
translation p. 97.
7
“voce, che vada honestamente alto e basso, ma più basso che alto, come fondamento che man-
cando, apporta più pensiero al rimettitore di quel che fanno l’altre parti di mezzo, et estrema.” Bonnie
J. Blackburn and Edward E. Lowinsky, “Luigi Zenobi,” p. 81, in the translation, p. 97.
8
Bonnie J. Blackburn and Edward E. Lowinsky, “Luigi Zenobi,” p. 82 and in the translation p. 99.
9
“rimette bene un Cantor tale solo in cose difficili di più maniere si può dire valoroso rimettitore
[orig.: rimettere], e chi rimette in dette cose difficili e di diversa difficoltà due, o tre cantori tali usciti
[orig.: uscite] dalla parte loro in un medesimo tempo; meritamente si chiama Compositore e rimetti-
tore valentissimo, e raro.” Bonnie J. Blackburn and Edward E. Lowinsky, “Luigi Zenobi,” p. 87, in the
translation p. 104.
10
Lodovico Zacconi, Prattica di Musica, (Venice:Bartolomeo Carampello, 1596; facsimile, Bologna:
Forni Editore, 1983), p. 76.
7 Part-book Versus Score Culture

the tenor, with the fifth part, and finally with the bass. The same is to be done
with the tenor. Several tenors, several contraltos, or several sopranos should all
be checked according to this rule, part by part and note by note. If a pupil
wishes to check a composition for six, seven, eight, or more voices, he should
realize that it does no discredit even to a well-experienced person to bar the
composition by breves and longs. Checking a composition in this way consti-
tutes a reliable method of correcting mistakes.11

This passage makes it very clear that the student of music normally does not have
a score in front of him or her, but instead was forced to read proof by comparing the
parts one by one against one another. We know from various other sources that com-
posers usually had their music sung to check it for correctness. It is said of Josquin that
“Whenever he had written a new composition, he gave it to the choir to sing while he
was wandering about listening intently whether everything sounded right. When
something displeased him, he would step towards the choir and say: ‘Enough—I shall
change it.’”12
Which brings us to this question: How on Earth were the complex polyphonic
compositions of this time period composed? In her brilliant article about com-
positional process in the 15 th century, Bonnie Blackburn has carefully sorted
through the sparse bits of information that we have, building up evidence that in
the course of that century a fundamental change in composition took place,
leading to two types of compositional processes, one being older and the second
more modern:

. . . the first successive, in which different voices are added independently to a given
part, the second harmonic, in which all voices are composed in relation to each
other. As Tinctoris says, counterpoint can be produced in writing or in singing

11
“Per Cagione della poca prattica, de i Studenti della musica, molte volte nascono delle incorret-
tioni, et de gli errori, nelle compositioni, à tre voci, à quattro, à cinque & à piu voci, & il scolare che non
sarà avvertito, quando nel comporre gli occorrerà far due seste, allhora sarà pericolo di due Quinte, &
il Scolare non troppo prattico, molte fiate farà errore, si per non por mente quando compone, come
anchora che non rivede, la compositione. hora quello che non sarà troppo prattico piglierà questa
regola, che se la compositione sarà a quattro voci, & a cinque, per sua securezza incomincierà dal
soprano & lo rincontrerà a nota per nota, con tutte le parti diligentemente, & finito chè havrà de rin-
contrare il soprano, con tutte le parti, poi piglierà il Contr’alto, & lo rincontrerà con il Tenore, ò con la
quinta parte, & poi con il Basso, & il medesimo si farà con il Tenore, ò con più Tenori, ò più Contr’alti,
ò più soprani si debbono rincontrare con la Regola sopra detta à parte, per parte, à nota per nota; &
quando il Discepolo vorrà incontrare una compositione fatta à sei, à sette, à otto, & à più voci, non sarà
mal nissuno, ad ogni gran prattico, partire la compositione à brevi, à lunghe, & terrà il modo sopradetto,
da rincontrare detta compositione: che sarà sicuro modo di correggere i falli.” Nicola Vicentino, L’antica
musica ridotta alla moderna prattica. (Rome: Antonio Barre, 1555), Libro IV, fol. 93v-88 (recte 94).
Translation by Maria Rika Maniates, Nicola Vicentino, Ancient Music Adapted to Modern Practice,
edited by Claude V. Palisca, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), p. 299.
12
Helmuth Osthoff, Josquin Desprez, (Tutzing: H. Schneider, 1962–5), Vol. 1, p. 82.
8 the performance of 16th-century music

(cantare super librum). But res facta [a composition] can only be made in writing
because the parts have to be “put together.”13

The first process relates back to forms of improvised medieval polyphony, organum
and discant, in which additional voices were added to a cantus firmus. Gradually having
the ability to improvise notes against a given melody in accordance with the rules
concerning the treatment of dissonance and consonance came to be expected of
competent singers. This same successive process was used in composition. During the
course of the 15th century, composers began not only to write works in relation to a
single specific voice, but also learned to check each voice against one another to be sure
that the rules of consonance and dissonance were observed throughout the entire
network of the piece. It is composition by means of this second process which is of
particular interest us, as it makes immense demands on one’s ability to maintain and
retain a number of voices simultaneously in one’s mind.
Unlike later periods, we have very little philological evidence about how composers
went about their task. Jessie Ann Owens has collected together a number of manuscript
sources in which various composers, even important ones such as Cipriano de Rore and
Francesco Corteccia, are seen to have corrected and revised their work in some sort of
part-book format. The evidence she brings shows that composers had an ability to keep
the individual voices in their minds to a degree that most of today’s musicians find
astonishing. For instance, Owens presents three revisions she has deduced from the final
bars of Corteccia’s Con quel coltel entered on fol. 34v of Florence, Biblioteca Nationale,
Magl. 117, as seen in Figure 2.1a, along with a map and transcriptions to aid the reader in
deciphering the musical text (Figure 2.1b and 2.1c). The first two and a half lines are
taken up with a French chanson, originally notated on this folio, Les grans regretz. The
tenor of Con quel coltel begins on the fourth line and finishes on the end of the third
line; the superius is found at the beginning of the fifth stave; the alto begins at the end
of the fourth line and then moves down to the end of the fifth line; the bass is on the
bottom line, but the final notes are corrected, with the correction following immedi-
ately upon the passage as it was originally written. This single page illustrates so much:
that Corteccia—due to the costliness of the paper—chose to fill in the empty spaces on
partially filled pages of a manuscript available to him rather than waste a new piece of
paper on revision work; and also that he did not need to have the parts notated from top
to bottom, with each note carefully placed temporally above one another. This certainly
suggests, in line with all the other evidence, that professional musicians had greater
abilities to keep track of the individual voices in their heads. This, therefore, is something
that we should also be aiming for in our preparation of this music for performance.

13
Bonnie J. Blackburn, “On Compositional Process in the Fifteenth Century,” Journal of the
American Musicological Society 40 (1987), p. 266. See also her chapter on “Music Theory and Musical
Thinking after 1450” in Music as Concept and Practice in the Late Middle Ages, the new edition of Vol. 3
of The New Oxford History of Music, ed. by Reinhard Strohm and Bonnie J. Blackburn, (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2001), pp. 301–45, for an introduction of music theory in relation composition in the
period immediately preceding that of this book.
9 Part-book Versus Score Culture

(a)

fig 2.1.a Corteccia’s corrections of his madrigal Con quel coltel in Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale
Centrale, Magl. XIX 117, fol 34v. (By permission of the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali della
Repubblica Italiana/Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze).

(b)

fig 2.1.b Diagram of the placement of the parts from Jessie Ann Owens, Composers at Work, p.238.
(By permission of Oxford University Press Inc.)

On the other hand, we also know that composers used slates or some sort of tablet
or cartella for their work, surfaces that could be erased and used over and over again.14
These slates and tablets were valuable and not necessarily easy to come by, as one can tell

14
See Owens, Composers at Work, pp. 74–107, for detailed information and illustrations of such
tablets. Once again these paragraphs are indebted to her research.
10 the performance of 16th-century music

(c)

fig 2.1.c Jessie Ann Owens’ transcription of various versions of Francesco Corteccia’s Con quel
coltel, from Composers at Work, p.239. (By permission of Oxford University Press Inc.)

by the fact that Corteccia left his stone tablet for composing music to the Canon of San
Lorenzo when he died; or that Spataro, a theorist living in Bologna, had to ask someone
to bring him a cartella from Venice. There are only a few surviving examples of such
tablets, as well as some iconographic evidence indicating that they were of various sizes
and qualities. From this material one gathers that a normal tablet might have been the
size of an A4 page (15 x 29.7 cm) or smaller. Some of them obviously had staff lines
already marked upon them. Figure 2.2, for example, shows some quite large tablets
being used as a type of choir-book for angels. The question remains, however, how were
they put into use?
There is some evidence to indicate that a 10-line staff, the scala decemlinealis, was
used to represent the entire range of the gamut, whereby all of the parts could be
written in direct proximity to one another. Philomathes, for example, gave the following
11 Part-book Versus Score Culture

fig 2.2. Magnificat by Jan I. Sadeler (1550-1600) after Maerten de Vos (1532-1603), inventory number
28821 D. (Reproduction with permission of the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich.)

instructions on how to compose using a scala decemlinealis, using the diagram in


Figure 2.3 to illustrate the process:

Begin this way: draw on the board twice five marks [lines], and draw the signed
clefs at the specified places. Then place the voice you think should go first, but
you may place the media [tenor] first, for it is the foundation of the voices,
without which every composition is lukewarm. Once it has been correctly
placed, divide the tempora from one another with perpendicular lines lest you
be deceived. Then take care to place the suprema [discantus] immediately so
that it will sound correctly with the media [tenor] in whatever tempus. Then
place below the harmony of the gravis [bassus] properly such that it will sound
with the media and the suprema. Finally, you will form the acuta [altus] so that
it makes consonance only with the gravis. And let the forms meet where it is
suitable and as you see fit.15

15
“Incipe sic: trahe per pluteum bis quinque lituras:
In certisque locis signatas construe clavis:
Demum que primum tibi vox ponenda videtur:
Pone. sed in primis mediam posuisse licebit.
12 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 2.3. Venceslaus


Philomathes, De nova
domo, (1512) sig. e iiiv. (By
permission of the
Universitätsbibliothek
Freiburg i. B./Historische
Sammlungen.)

But as you can see in the diagram, without the lines connecting the various voices, it
would be difficult to visualize the linear structure of a typical 16th-century composi-
tion. Other theorists used different note shapes to distinguish the individual lines.16
Composition in this manner was further facilitated by intervallic tables such as that
found in Aaron’s Toscanello de la musica (Venice, 1523) seen in Figure 2.4. In it one finds
a means of determining the appropriate intervals between the bassus and the altus in
respect to the tenor, on the basis of what interval is found between the tenor and
cantus. For example, if there were a unison between the tenor and the cantus, indicated
by the Roman I in the leftmost column, one could then choose an interval of a 5th, 8th,
10th, 12th, or 15th lower than the tenor for the bassus, as seen in the middle frame of boxes.
If one chose the 5th, the left-most box in this category, one could accordingly then
choose the interval of a 3rd, 8th, or 10th above the bass for the altus part. Aaron indicated
the rare cases where the bassus was above the tenor or the altus was below the bass by
placing a stroke above or below the respective Roman numeral.
Both of these methods represent the successive process of composition referred to
by Bonnie Blackburn. But this method of composition could also be seen to represent
a stepping stone for beginners towards a more complete understanding of what com-
position entails. Aaron, for example, writes in his Toscanello that

Nam basis est vocum: sine qua tepet omne poema.


Qua recta posita: tractu perpendiculari
(Ne seducaris) distingue a tempore tempus.
Supremam cura vocem posuisse subinde: ut
Cum media resonet quovis in tempore recte.
Tum gravis harmoniam vocis suppone decenter:
Sic ut cum media sonet et cum voce suprema.
Postremum tandem vocem formabis acutam:
Ut cum voce gravi tantummodo consona fiat.
Et forme coeant ubi congruit: utque videtur.”
The Latin original and the English translation are found in Jessie Ann Owens, Composers
at Work, p. 17.
16
Jessie Ann Owens, Composers at Work, p. 41.
13 Part-book Versus Score Culture

fig 2.4. Pietro Aaron, Toscanello de la musica (Venice, 1523), sig. K 2.(Reproduced by arrangement
with Broude Brothers.)
14 the performance of 16th-century music

Many composers were of the opinion that the soprano should be composed first,
then the tenor, and after the tenor the bass. This happened because they lacked the
order and understanding of what was necessary to compose the alto. Thus they had
many awkward places in their compositions because they had to insert unisons,
pauses, and ascending and descending leaps that were difficult for the singer or
performer, so that those works had little sweetness and harmony. . . . modern com-
posers had a better idea, which is apparent from their compositions in four, five,
six, and more voices, in which each part has a comfortable, easy, agreeable place,
because they take all the parts into consideration at once. . . . And if you prefer to
compose the soprano, tenor, or bass first, you are free to follow that method and
rule, as some at present do, who often begin with the bass, sometimes with the
tenor, and sometimes with the alto. But because this will be awkward and uncom-
fortable for you at first, you will begin part by part; nevertheless, once you have
gained some experience, you will follow the order and method describe before.17

It is easy to imagine that a (tyro) composer might have used these basic structures
notated on the cartelle as a framework upon which he could then elaborate freely, hav-
ing by this means ascertained that the vertical sonorities were in accordance to the
rules of counterpoint.
Another possibility of how the tablets were used is suggested by the types of revi-
sions we find in the manuscripts Jessie Ann Owen has investigated as well as by the
structure of the music itself. In a normal 16th-century vocal piece, each phrase has its
own soggetto, or theme, which is imitated in the various voices and then brought to a
close. These individual phrases—depending of course on the time and place—overlap
with one another, with one or more voices beginning with the subsequent phrase before
all of the other voices have finished with the previous one. These individual sections are
short enough so that they would easily fit on a single page; on the other hand, weaving
them together in this intricate manner was apparently at times quite difficult—one had
to keep track of just how many tactus or measures each voice had occupied. And it is just
this sort of revision work that is often found in the manuscripts, the fiddling around
necessary in order that the sections interlock convincingly with one another.

17
“La imaginatione di molti compositori fù, che prima il canto si dovessi fabricare, da poi il tenore,
et doppo esso tenore il controbasso. Et questo avenne perché mancorno del ordine et cognitione di
quello che si richiede nel far del controalto: et però facevano assai inconvenienti ne le loro compositioni:
perché bisognava per lo incommodo che vi ponessino unisoni, pause, salti ascendenti et discendenti,
difficili al cantore overo pronontiante: in modo che detti canti restavano con poca soavità et harmo-
nia. . . . Onde gli moderni in questo meglio hanno considerato: come è manifesto per le compositioni da
essi a quatro a cinque a sei, et a più voci fatte: de le quali ciascuna tiene luogo commmodo facile et grato:
perché considerano insieme tutte le parti et non secondo come di sopra è detto. Et se a te piace compo-
nere prima il canto, tenore o controbasso, tal modo et regola a te resti arbitraria: come da alcuni al pre-
sente si osserva: che molte fiate danno principio al controbasso, alcuna volta al tenore, et alcuna volta al
contro alto. Mà perché questo a te sarebbe nel principio mal agevole et incommodo, a parte per parte
comincierai: non dimeno di poi che ne la pratica sarai alquanto esercitato, seguirai l’ordine et modo
inanzi detto.” As quoted and translated in Bonnie J. Blackburn, “On Compositional Process,” p. 215.
15 Part-book Versus Score Culture

The fact that composers did use the cartella in some way similar to this seems dem-
onstrated by a couple of quotations. For example in Borsieri’s dictionary of famous
Milanese, the following is written: “Orfeo Vecchi, late maestro di cappella at the Scala,
was a musician and composer of such skill that working with just the cartella he could
write a motet even for several choirs in the same time as it would take a very experi-
enced writer to write a letter.”18
And of Cipriano de Rore’s cartella Luzzaschi wrote:

. . . this cartella belonged to the most famous and most excellent Cipriano Rore,
Flemish composer and maestro di cappella of the late most excellent Lord, Duke
Ercole II d’Este, on which cartella he used to write the compositions made first by
him in his mind, as was always his custom. I, being at that time his student, saw him
write on the aforementioned cartella the Gloria of a Mass that he made in Ferrara
and others of his compositions made at various times. And he gave the aforemen-
tioned cartella to me when he left here, which was in 1557.19

Luzzaschi treasured this cartella so much that he kept it for 40 years, when he then gave
it to Borromeo.20
No matter how one looks at all of this material, what becomes apparent is that most
musicians of this time period had a considerable ability to process melodic lines seen
in part-form. Just as today musicians vary in their ability to read music, probably some
people were better at it than others. It seems likely that most musicians could keep
track of two parts, many of three, and proficient musicians of at least four or five. How
exactly composers wrote down the music, whether in short sections of scored notation
or whether they wrote directly in parts, may have to do with many factors: their skill
and experience, the complexity (or lack thereof) of the piece they were writing, the
time frame, and so on. None the less it seems clear that they could hear it as a whole
from part-books, and they could keep track of the various parts in their minds.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MEMORIZATION


This in turn brings us to another fundamental shift in learning, in education on the
whole in the 15th century, which began having its effect on music in the 16th century,
namely the advent of books printed with moveable type starting with the publishing of
the Gutenberg Bible in 1456. It is very difficult for us to imagine what it was like in a
world where personal access to books was either gained by copying them oneself by
hand in their entirety, or paying someone else to do so; and, in addition, parchment
was expensive. In medieval times education was of necessity centered around memo-
rization; there was no other equally efficient way of passing on information. Mary
Carruthers has written an incredible book on the subject, The Book of Memory: A Study

18
Jessie Ann Owens, Composers at Work, p. 96.
19
Jessie Ann Owens, Composers at Work, pp. 81–82.
20
Jessie Ann Owens, Composers at Work, p. 83.
16 the performance of 16th-century music

of Memory in Medieval Culture, which calls many of our assumptions about learning
and of what is humanly possible into question. I want to, as it were, just touch on the
surface of some of her observations, as it will shed some light about the singer’s
approach to reading and learning music, at least at the beginning of the period we’re
interested in.
In her introduction she gives the following definition of memory:

Memoria, meant, at that time, trained memory, educated and disciplined according
to a well-developed pedagogy that was part of the elementary language arts—
grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The fundamental principle is to “divide” the material
to be remembered into pieces short enough to be recalled in single units and to key
these into some sort of rigid, easily reconstructable order. This provides one with a
“random-access” memory system, by means of which one can immediately and
securely find a particular bit of information, rather than having to start from the
very beginning each time in order laboriously to reconstruct the whole system,
or—worse—relying on simple chance to fish what one wants out from the murky
pool of one’s undifferentiated and disorganized memory.21

In addition, she writes that memory was seen to be an attribute of a moral person: “it
was co-extensive with wisdom and knowledge, but it was more—as a condition of pru-
dence, possessing a well-trained memory was morally virtuous itself.”22 As such, it was
what one trained from the very beginning of a child’s education. The primers with
their pictures of letters were to be memorized as an exercise in learning to set up tables
in the mind, places where one could store bits of information in an ordered fashion. All
sorts of techniques were developed to help the scholar in this, ranging from marginal
notations and drawings to Canon Tables of related verses of the Bible. For me this also
implies that the miniatures and drawings we see in music manuscripts were not merely
decoration, but were also designed to assist musicians in the memorization of the
music on the page. Indeed it is specifically mentioned that by means of dramatic or
gruesome images in the miniatures, or the decorative shape of the initials, the recall of
the text associated with them was facilitated. Figure 2.5 taken from Cambrai,
Bibliothèque Municipale, Mss. 125–128, illustrates this point graphically.
Basically, some form of the following procedure was recommended for memo-
rizing a text: First of all one read it (lectio); then one memorized it (memoria). This in
turn was followed by a period of meditatio or cogitatio in which one went off on one’s
own and reflected upon the text until one had made it one’s own, written it as it were
“on the tables of your heart”; or digested it, as when Jerome writes: “Eating the book is
the starting-point of reading and of basic history. When, by diligent meditation, we
store away the book of the Lord in our memorial treasury, our belly is filled spiritually

21
Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture, (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 7.
22
Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory, p. 71.
17 Part-book Versus Score Culture

fig 2.5. Cambrai, Mediathèque Municipale, Mss. 125-128, Superius fol. 74r.

and our guts are satisfied.”23 One is also asked, like a bee, to store the honey of the
Scripture in one’s own memory.
This process of meditation was seen to be central to composition of texts. But as
Carruthers writes “composition [she is speaking here not of music but of texts] is not
an act of writing, it is rumination, cogitation, dictation, a listening and a dialogue, a
“gathering” (collectio) of voices from their several placses in memory. . . . The ancient
writers frequently speak of the importance of listening to what one is composing.”24
And further that “Cogitatio finds (invenire) things held in various memory-places and
collects them (colligere) into one place ready at hand (ad manum posita).”25 Indeed
St. Thomas Aquinas was known for prostrating himself on the floor, weeping even, and
staying in solitude until he had brought all of the strands of his thought together; he
would then come out and immediately dictate an entire chapter to his scribe.
So when Luzzaschi wrote that Cipriano de Rore always first made his compositions
“in his mind” and then wrote them on his cartella, it suggests that Cipriano had a clear
conception of the work in question before he began writing at all. If this is so, would
he really need to write them in score? I don’t think it is a question that can be answered
with surety.
But just the idea that scholars were trained from a very early age to memorize
things by sorting texts and topics and writing them accordingly on different tablets of
the mind, so that they could later access them at will, and collect them together at one

23
Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory, p. 44.
24
Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory, pp. 197–198.
25
Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory, p. 198.
18 the performance of 16th-century music

place, does make me wonder what would happen if the young musician were trained
to do the same thing with the music in the choir-books.26 As one—according to Hugh
of St. Victor—was expected to learn from many sources, so that like a bee, one “trans-
formed the many nectars of the reading-flowers in one’s memorial storehouse into a
single honey,”27 does it not seem very fitting to see the music of the time as being a col-
lecting together of individual voices into a single work?

IMPLICATIONS FOR TODAY


You may wonder why I have spent so much time and emphasis on this issue. I think
that it is very difficult for us to imagine what it was like without readily available
printed material. Just as a small example, I can recall a time when photocopying was
not a particularly attractive alternative to making excerpts by hand: The copies were
expensive, they faded when exposed to light, and were on slick paper that smelled
funny. You only copied what was absolutely necessary and did everything else by hand.
And in some way I do regret that this era has passed because I know that I learned a lot
from the process of writing things out by hand and implanted them in a different way
in my memory. How much greater the difference then between having the possibility
of mass-producing music—even if the printings were comparatively small by today’s
standards—and being exclusively limited to what one could notate by hand.
At the same time I am convinced that we will not get at the heart of the music if we
do not approach it in the same way, from the individual parts, allowing their flowing
together, their confluence to create the whole. To do so means we have to start playing
from the parts, often probably even memorizing them. Experience has shown that the
product is consistently of a higher quality.
Why are we then so reluctant to play renaissance music from facsimile? After all, we
have learned to play later music from facsimile and feel very virtuous when we do so.
There are a number of reasons. First of all the notation is a bit further away from
modern notation than that of late 17th- and 18th-century music. There are ligatures to be
dealt with and ways of notating triple meters that are foreign to us. In addition, we
have to be able to read all sorts of different sizes of instruments in all sorts of different
clefs. But after years of teaching people to read from facsimile, I think the main reason
we are reluctant to do so is because we lose our visual sense of metric orientation due
to the fact that there are no bar lines. Everybody immediately begins feeling extraordi-
narily insecure and as a result makes even more mistakes than they would make nor-
mally if forced to play in an unaccustomed clef. Nobody can decipher the rests, although
the signs are basically the same as in today’s notation. We obviously determine the
length of rests by seeing where we are in the bar, rather than looking at the form of the
rests themselves. At the beginning it often takes experienced musicians an entire hour

26
I have tried memorizing one part of the two-part examples in theory books, and it makes it sig-
nificantly easier to hear the two parts together.
27
Hugh of St. Victor on the ark of wisdom as quoted by Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory,
p. 220.
19 Part-book Versus Score Culture

to be able to play through a relatively simple four-part chanson from beginning to end.
The hardest thing for the teacher is being able to endure everybody’s extreme embar-
rassment at the fact that they have such difficulties at playing something that they
would be able to sight-read easily the first time through in modern score notation. This
just points out how far away we are from the renaissance ideal. For me, playing from
facsimile is not so much a matter of virtuousness, but one of training skills that we
seemingly cannot learn if we stick to modern score notation.
Following this procedure, however, we come into conflict with the modern concert
mentality. For one thing, a concert program of renaissance music often contains a large
number of shortish pieces. If it takes so long just to be able to get through a piece
reading from facsimile, imagine how long it takes to actually work out what the group
wants to do musically with it, and further how long it takes for everybody to feel as
though they know where they are in the piece, so that if someone gets lost that they can
easily find their way in again. Then you multiply this amount of time by the number of
the pieces in the program and you come up with an unbelievable number of hours
required to prepare for a first concert played in this manner. But imagine also what
exquisite music you might produce.
From what I have said up until now, it becomes clearer why there is no real trans-
mitted “theory” for this music, theory that is as we understand it today. Modal theory
was developed for chant, for monophony, and was modified so that it be applied to
polyphony, in a way not dissimilar to that of the surgeon turning all diseases into
things that can be cured with a knife. What I mean to say is that one gathered the
modal information that could be gleaned from an examination of the individual voices
and then made deductions about the whole on the basis of this. But because of this, the
information could by no means be an explanation for how the piece of music worked
as whole; at best it says that a certain class of pieces has these features in common. But
if nobody, except a few organists, had scores of the music, it is not surprising that one
was satisfied with a theory that looked at the various parts, talked about consonances,
and gave general rules for what intervals were allowed, but did not really speak of
construction of pieces as a whole. Perhaps it was even considered to be a secret of the
guild.
When one begins looking at what the theorists actually write about, and begins to
understand the music in their terms, the music begins to come to life in a new way. It
is for this reason that the rest of the book will be devoted to those things a beginner in
music would learn, for those are the foundation of the beliefs and habits that he would
later make use of in the performance of every piece of music.
3
solmization

THE GAMUT
Just as today, most 16th-century theory books began with a description of the tone
system and the manner in which one can learn to navigate through it. In this chapter I
want to first look at how the theorists explained its structure and then at the concept
of solmization and its consequences for the melodic line as well as for the sonority of
the individual chords.
The diagram, Figure 3.1, from Hermann Finck’s Pratica musica (Wittenberg, 1556)
is typical for its time and shows the gamut, or the tone system (musica recta) as cod-
ified and presented in the theoretical sources. The ambitus of the system was 20
“keys” or notes, from low G to e”, depicted in this diagram as a ladder representing
an ascending scale. On the left at the bottom you first see the octave extending from
Γ to G (Maiores et capitales), in modern usage from G to g, then the seventh from a
to g in small letters (Minores & acutas, or a to g’), then the final fifth from aa to ee
(Geminatas sive excellentes, a’-e”). Through its nomenclature the diagram demon-
strates an awareness of a melodic structure that repeats itself after every seven notes,
thus implying an equivalence of function for the notes at an octave, something that
is also eminently clear from the writings on proportions in many of the major
treatises.
Nevertheless, solmization, the system for teaching sight-singing, was not based on
octave equivalence, but rather upon a raster of interlocking major sixths, called hexa-
chords. These hexachords were based on three notes, the hard hexachord on G, the
natural one on C, and the soft one on F. Each hexachord has the same melodic struc-
ture—whole tone, whole tone, half tone, whole tone, whole tone—each individual step
receiving the same name in its respective hexachord: ut, re, mi, fa, sol, and la. This
meant that one was always aware of the relative intervallic content of the melody being
sung. Thus the solmization syllable of an individual note depends not only on its

20
21 Solmization

fig 3.1. Hermann Finck, Practica musica, Wittenberg, 1556, sig. Aiiii. (By permission of Georg Olms
Verlag AG, Hildesheim.)

absolute pitch, but also is a function of the hexachord in which one is currently singing.
In Hermann Finck’s chart these hexachords, with their names, are seen to the right of
the note names. The first one, on G, extends from G to e, the second from c to a, the
third from f to d,’ and so on.
There are two features of this system that seem strange to us today. First of all, most
of the notes have multiple solmization syllables associated with them. Therefore a
renaissance author will often refer to the specific pitch of a note by mentioning not
only its name, for example c, but also to the syllables associated with it, c sol fa ut,
thereby making it clear that the author can only be speaking of middle c. The system
itself came to be called the gamut, an elision of the name of the lowest note, gamma,
with its associated syllable, ut.
The second oddity is the fact that this system is largely diatonic, with the
exception of the addition of b-flat and b-flat’ in the upper octaves. This is neces-
sitated by the structure of the individual hexachords, for in order to maintain the
sequence whole tone, whole tone, half tone, whole tone, whole in the soft hexa-
chord on F, a b-flat is required. As G was the lowest note of the entire tone system,
however, theoretically the low B-flat was not part of the tone system, although
frequently used in practice. This anomaly is reflected in the diagram in that the
22 the performance of 16th-century music

third note in the leftmost column is signified by a natural sign, referring to


B-natural whereas the tenth and seventeenth notes are labeled respectively as b
and bb. In order to distinguish between b-flat and b-natural one spoke of b fa or
bb fa and b mi or bb mi respectively. Like octave equivalence, this presence of a
low B-flat was recognized by theorists of the time, but it did not cause them to
alter the basic theoretical structure of the tone system. What they did say, however,
was that sometimes current music went beyond this system and that one should
apply its basic structure to the additional notes, thereby implicitly employing
octave equivalence.

THE GUIDONIAN HAND


How did solmization develop? What purposes did it fulfill? It is only by answering
these questions that we can begin to understand why it continued to be maintained
and taught well into the 18th century.
In Chapter II we looked at the necessity of memorization in a world without
printed books. This was not merely true for learning in general, but also specifically for
music, where single manuscripts of music had to serve for an entire choir. For example,
in medieval monasteries each day was celebrated, apart from the mass itself, with eight
Divine Offices, each of which contained music special to the day. Thus much of a
monk’s day—apparently somewhere between 3 to 5 hours was normal—was spent
either singing the Divine Offices, or in learning or teaching these chants. Indeed we
have a description from the Northumbrian monk Bede of the “viva-voce” method of
instruction. In it the teacher sings the melody over and over again until the teacher is
in “a sweat”; at some point the “Holy Ghost acts,” at which point the student can retain
the melody and sing it perfectly.1
Two points are of interest in this story. First of all, one has to acknowledge the
amount of time spent singing each day.2 And secondly, imagine what a relief it must
have been when techniques of more easily teaching and learning this repertory began
to spread throughout Europe. In the 11th century methods of solmization, in which syl-
lables were associated with specific notes or intervallic patterns, began to be developed.

1
Peter Gülke, Mönche/Bürger/Minnesänger, Leipzig, 21980, p. 62.
2
That this continued to be true in the renaissance is substantiated by various archival reports. For
example, when Charles of Austria came of age in 1515, he reorganized his court, reinstating the tradi-
tional regulation of the Burgundian chapel, which specified that a High Mass, vespers, compline and
other offices of certain feast days were to be sung each day. In addition the skilled chapel musicians
were expected to give instruction to members of the nobility and to participate in the musical activities
of the court. Thus being a court musician was truly a full-time job, involving participation in both
sacred and secular music. For further details, see Martin Picker, The Chanson Albums of Marguerite of
Austria, (Berkley: University of California Press, 1965), pp. 21ff.
23 Solmization

That which came to predominate was one popularized by Guido of Arezzo, who lived
in the first half of the 11th century. He wrote the following of this method:

You have therefore a system for learning unheard melody most easily and cor-
rectly. . . . For after I began to teach my pupils this system, some of them were able
easily to sing melodies unknown [to them] in less than three days, which with
other systems would have taken many weeks.3

Thus one can conclude that solmization, at least in its origins, was a method not
only designed to help one sight-read, but also to memorize music. It made use of
the so-called Guidonian Hand (see Figure 3.2), on which the individual tones of
the gamut were placed at a specific locus, in this case on a specific joint of the hand.
The lowest note was located at the tip of the thumb (indicated by the number 1 and
its name in the diagram), and then one ascended step-by-step by first moving
downwards on the thumb, then to the joints at the base of the individual fingers.
Upon reaching the little finger, one then moved upwards, proceeding across the
tips of the individual fingers, down the index to the second joint, through the sec-
ond joints of the middle and ring fingers to the first joint of the ring finger, fol-
lowed by the first joint on the middle finger. The topmost note was found on the
back of the tip of the middle finger. One thus added the kinesthetic element of
pointing to each joint to the aural components of the pitch and its associated syl-
lable, something that modern didactics has shown to be an effective way of
enhancing the learning process. What is also perhaps of interest here is the fact
that the use of the hand for memorizing purposes was not restricted to music; it
was also used in rhetoric for the memorization of orations. There each joint repre-
sented a structural element of the oration. This is just another indication of the
close connection between rhetoric and music also in the medieval and renaissance
periods.4
The division of the system into hexachords makes more sense when seen in the
context of chant. Not only is the ambitus of the chant melodies often relatively
restricted, musicians seemed to have perceived their structure on the basis of where the
semitones lay in relation to the fourths and fifths associated with the underlying modes.
This perception of the music was adequately matched by the hexachords, in which
one’s attention is focused on the semitone between mi and fa.

3
“Habebis ergo argumentum ad inveniendum inauditum cantum facillimum et probatissi-
mum. . . . Namque postquam hoc argumentum cepi pueris tradere, ante triduum quidam eorum potu-
erunt ignotos cantus leviter canere, quod aliis argumentis nec multis hebdomadibus poterat evenire.”
Martin Gerbert, Scriptores ecclesiastici de musica sacra, (St. Blasien, 1794), vol. 2, p. 45; translation by
Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory, p. 106.
4
Karol Berger, “The Hand and the Art of Memory,” Musica Disciplina, XXXV (1981), pp. 87–120.
24 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 3.2. Ms. Ghent, Universiteitsbibliotheek, 70/(71), fol. 108v.

THE INHERENT QUALITIES OF THE SYLLABLES


Let us look to see how one was taught to apply these syllables in the first half of the 16th
century. For example, in a chapter entitled “About the six voices” (Von den Sechs stim-
men) in Musica Choralis deudsch (Wittenberg, 1533), a book for German Protestant
schoolboys, Martin Agricola writes the following:
25 Solmization

There are not more than six symbols for the voices, namely ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la.
With these six short syllables the melody or tone/accentuation [accent] of each
song is expressed.5

and later that

Some syllables of the voices are called the lowest ones, namely ut, re, mi. Some syl-
lables are called the highest ones, namely fa, sol, ut. And this division is useful for
solmization.6

A parallel definition may be found in Maximilian Guilliaud’s Premier Traicte des


Rudiments de Musique practique of 1555, which—like Agricola’s—was an introductory
tutor designed for a wide public. He writes:

Here therefore we call a voice a sound through which the virtue of the keys [notes]
is expressed, and there are six in all, demonstrated by six syllables, ut, re, mi, fa, sol,
la: of these the first three (namely ut, re, mi) are good for ascending and the three
others (namely la, sol, fa) are good for descending.7

The similarity of the definition is striking. They speak of the syllables expressing the
accentuation or virtue of the notes, implying that there is an inherent quality of a note
that manifests itself in the syllable linked with it. This is followed by the division of the
syllables into two groups, ut, re, mi and fa, sol, la, whereby Guilliaud specifies that the
first three are used for ascending lines and the last three for descending ones. This latter
division was designed to avoid unnecessary mutation from one hexachord to another
and may be understood in the following manner. Assuming you wish to ascend diaton-
ically from c1, you could look at Figure 3.1, in which that c has three syllables attributed
to it, sol, fa, and ut. As you wish to ascend, you choose ut as it belongs to the first group.
If, however, you wished to descend, you would also have to take the staff signature of
the piece into consideration: If there were a flat in it, you would sing sol, and if there
were none, you would sing fa. So the second half of this definition serves to aid the
beginning singer in deciding with which syllable to begin.

5
“Es sind nicht mehr denn Sechs zeichen der stimmen/nemlich/ut/re/mi/fa/sol/la. Mit diesen
Sechs kurtzen syllaben/wird ausgedrückt die melodey odder der accent/eins jedern gesangs.” Martin
Agricola, Musica Choralis Deudsch, (Wittenberg: Georg Rhau, 1533; facsimile, Hildesheim: Georg Olms
Verlag, 1969), sig. Av.
6
“Etliche syllaben der stimmen werden genant die untersten/Als/ut re mi. Etliche die öbersten/Als/
fa/sol/la. Und diese zuteilung dienet zu dem Solmisiren.” Ibid., sig. [Aviv].
7
“Icy donc nous appellons voix, un son par lequel la vertu des clefs est exprimée, & sont six en tout
demonstrées par six sylabes, ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la: Dont les trois premieres (à sçavoir ut, re, mi) sont
propres à monter, & les trois autres (à sçavoir la, sol, fa) propres à devaler.” Maximilian Guilliaud,
Premier Traicte des Rudiments de Musique practique, (Paris: Nicolas du Chemin, 1555; facsimile, Geneva:
Editions Minkoff, 1981), sig. Aiiv.
26 the performance of 16th-century music

What is fascinating to me, however, is how Agricola goes on to describe the varying
nature of the inherent quality of the syllables in a passage subtitled “About the
Difference between the Voices”:

Of the above-mentioned six voices, two are called b molles, namely ut and fa, for
they are sung extremely mildly, gently, sweetly and softly. They are of one nature
and character; therefore where the one may be sung, so may the other also be
sung.
Re and sol are called the middle or natural voices because they emit an
average sound, not too mild or too clear [scharff].
Mi and la are called N durales, that is clear [scharff] and hard syllables. For
they should and must be sung in a more manly and stronger [dapfferer] way than
the b molles and naturales.
This difference, when it is well noted and truly observed in singing, makes
all melodies sweet and pleasing. Therefore it should be the primary matter that one
should first get into the boys’ heads and then get them accustomed to, so that they
are very sure of this difference.8

Although Martin Agricola went further than most of his contemporaries in sug-
gesting differences in color between the syllables, he was by no means the first or only
theorist to make such distinctions. This is made eminently clear by Bonnie Blackburn
and Leofranc Holford-Strevens in two unpublished papers on music theory and erotic
practice, in which they show that there was a long-standing (literary) association of the
distinction between mi and fa as hard and soft syllables respectively with sexual innu-
endo.9 For example Bonnie Blackburn cites Elias Salomonis, writing about the nature
of the semitone step from E to F in his Scientia artis musice of 1274, in the following
manner:

The nature of E is that it has a very masculine and rigid value and takes mi and la
and no other [syllable], and always is struck [forcefully]. F has a womanly agreement
and the nature of the feminine sex, and on it only ut and fa may be sung, and

8
“Von unterscheid der stimmen.
Aus den obgemelten sechs stimmen/werden zwo bmolles genant/als/ut und fa/denn sie werden gar
fein linde/sanfft/lieblich und weich gesungen. Sie sind auch einerley natur und eigenschafft/darümb/
wo eine gesungen wird/do mag auch die andere gesungen werden.
Re und sol/werden mittelmessige odder natürliche stimmen genennet/drümb das sie einen mit-
telmessigen laut von sich geben/Nicht zu gar linde/odder zuscharff.
Mi und la/heissen  durales/das ist/scharffe und harte syllaben/Denn sie sollen und müssen menli-
cher und dapfferer gesungen werden denn die bmolles und naturales.
Diese unterscheid/wo sie wol gemerckt/und im gesang recht gehalten wird/macht sie alle melodey
süsse und lieblich/Darümb sol es auch der furnemesten stück eins sein/das man den knaben [z]um
ersten einbilden/und sie daran gewehnen sol/das sie dieser unterschied fein gewis werden.” Martin
Agricola, Musica Choralis Deudsch, sig. [Aviv].
9
Bonnie J. Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens, “Fa mi la mi sol la: Music Theory, Erotic Practice”
delivered at the ‘Eros and Euterpe’ Conference, Indiana University, 7 February 2004 (in publication).
27 Solmization

whenever the singer needs F, whether ascending or descending, it is necessary to


subdue it and soften it.10

This and similar literary references mentioned in their papers demonstrate that the
differentiation in the quality of the musical syllables was so commonplace that it could
be used as euphemism for many and various sexual practices.
In the 16th century most purely theoretical references to this practice seem to be found
in the sources from the circles around Georg Rhau and the German Protestant school
reform movement. But the fact that it was a widespread phenomenon is documented by
references of other prominent theorists, such as the humanist Heinrich Glarean and the
expert on keyboard improvisation Fray Thomas de Sancta Maria, who also speak of it.
Glarean in his Dodecachordon of 1547, for example, writes:

For I do not know according to which writer it is taught that ut fa are soft, re sol
natural, and mi la are hard tones, unless we prefer to observe the practical usage
rather than the theory.11

This suggests that although it was a convention observed in practice, it was not often
commented upon by theorists. This is corroborated by Sancta Maria in his when he
states that

The reason fa can never be converted into mi nor mi into fa is that fa is a soft tone,
sounded without force by the voice, while on the contrary mi is a hard and vigorous
tone which the voice sounds forcefully.12

And his distinction between a flat and a sharp is obviously based on that between fa
and mi:

One must understand here that [the term] flat signifies a tone that is soft, sweet,
and smooth, sounded by the voice without force, and chiefly when the melody

10
Blackburn, “Fa mi la mi sol la,” p. 10. “E. talis est naturae, quod virilissimi & rigidi valoris est, &
patitur mi, & la, & nihil aliud, & semper plangatur. F. muliebrem consensum & naturam feminei sexus
habet, nec potest cantari in ea nisi ut & fa, & quocumque modo cantor indigeat F. sive ascendendo, sive
descendendo, ipsam humiliare oportet & ipsam mollificare.” Ch. 2, edited in Marin Gerbert, Scriptores
ecclesiastici de musica sacra potissimum, (St. Blasien, 1784; facsimile Milan, 1931), vol. 3, p. 19.
11
“Nam, ut fa, molleis voces, re sol, naturales, mi la, duras, nescio quo authore doceant, nisi usum
magis quam artem spectare malimus.” Henricus Loritus Glareanus, Dodekachordon, (Basel: Heinrich
Petri, 1547; facsmile, Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1969), vol. 1, p. 2; translated as Heinrich Glarean,
Dodecachordon, by Clement A. Miller, “Musicological Studies and Documents 6, American Institute of
Musicology, 1965, vol. I, p. 42.
12
“La razon porque el fa. no se puede convertir en mi. ni el mi. en fa. es porque el fa. es boz blanda,
herida con la boz sin fuerça, y por el contrario, el mi. es boz dura y rezia, herida con la boz con fuerça.”
Fray Thomas de Sancta Maria, Libro Llamado El Arte de Tañer Fantasia, (Valladolid: Francisco Fernandez
de Cordova, 1565), book 1, fol. 14; translated by Almonte C. Howell and Warren E. Hultberg, (Pittsburgh:
Latin American Literary Review Press, 1991), p. 41.
28 the performance of 16th-century music

descends. The term sharp, on the contrary, signifies a tone that is strong and hard,
sounded by the voice with force, and chiefly when the melody ascends.13

Such remarks suggest that a qualitative differentiation between the syllables was a
matter of course at the time.
This is confirmed by Herman Finck’s opposition to a literal execution of this sort
of differentiation between the syllables. In his book Pratica musica (Wittenberg, 1556),
he claimed that it led to imbalances in performance: that singers in their desire to make
fa particularly soft, sing fae and fai instead of fa; that in order to make the mi particu-
larly hard, they sing mihi instead of mi; that some notes can barely be heard and others
are far too loud; that indeed such execution on a virginal is impossible because the
quills need to be equally regulated. This notwithstanding, he says that these attributes
of the syllables are inherent to them and are audible when one listens to performances,
even on an organ.14 I believe that Hermann Finck is differentiating here between an
excessive application of this theory without an understanding of the reasoning behind
it and some sort of inherent sound quality, timbre, or drive associated with a solmiza-
tion syllable and not a change in volume. This means that we have to be searching for
subtle differences in our application of this theory to the music.
In order to be able to examine the musical effect, both linearly as well as vertically,
of these distinctions in sound color between the individual solmization syllables, it is
first necessary to learn how to apply these syllables to the music.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE


SOLMIZATION SYLLABLES
In introducing solmization to beginners, theoretical sources often began with a
stepwise melody whose ambitus remained within the hexachord to illustrate the
principles involved. For example Sebald Heyden in his De arte canendi (Nuremberg,
1540) selected the Benedictus from Josquin’s Missa l’homme armé sextii toni for this
purpose (Figure 3.3a; the resolution of the canon is seen in the transcription in
Figure 3.3b). Each voice opens with an ascending hexachord followed by a descend-
ing one: The top part begins with the natural hexachord on C, the lower one with
a soft hexachord on F. Thus each part commences with the same sequence of sylla-
bles, the same sequence of sound qualities. Or to put it more precisely, each begins
with a soft sound on ut, goes on to an average one on re, continues further to a
harder, clearer sonority on mi before relaxing into the softness of a fa. And with

13
“. . . . para lo qual es de saber, que Bemol quiere dezir boz blanda, dulce, y suave, herida con la boz
sin fuerça, mayormente al subir del canto. Por el contrario, Sostenido quiere dezir boz rezia, y dura,
herida con la boz con fuerça, mayormente al subir del canto.” Sancta Maria, Libro, 14v, translation, p. 42.
14
Hermann Finck, Practica musica, sig. Bv—Biiv.
29 Solmization

(a)

fig 3.3. a) Benedictus from Josquin’s Missa l’homme armé sextii toni from Sebald Heyden’s De arte
canendi, (Nuremberg: Petreius, 1540), p. 12.

(b)

fig 3.3. b) Transcription of the Benedictus from Josquin’s Missa l’homme armé sextii toni from
Sebald Heyden’s De arte canendi.

that fa, the same sequence begins again, moving up through an average sound on
sol to conclude with a hard la. This means that within the ascending melodic line,
there is an increase of tension of line up to the half-tone step, at which point one
relaxes into the fa, only to start building up the tension again as one moves through
sol to la.
Although the question always arises of what it means to sing a hard or soft sound,
there actually seems to be general unspoken agreement on the subject. In my experi-
ence it is associated with the choice of overtones in a sound in relation to its funda-
ment. In any case, it is not a question of the absolute hardness or softness of individual
notes and certainly not of their volume, but rather of their sound quality in relation to
one another. Perhaps it is appropriate to note in this context that the weaker forked
fingerings on wind instruments are often associated with notes that would be sung
with a fa.
The real difficulties for us, however, arise—just as they did for beginners in the
16th century—when we try to apply the solmization syllables to melodies whose
ambitus extends beyond that of the hexachord. No matter whether we have learned
to sight-read by note names or by a solmization method based on eight notes, we
find it difficult to operate in a system where the intervallic sequence of the hexa-
chord is more important than octave equivalence. Learning hexachord solmiza-
tion, in particular in association with the intrinsic sound qualities associated with
the syllables, thus shifts our perception of the music and with it, how we drive the
melodic lines in performance.
30 the performance of 16th-century music

We will begin this process by looking at the basic rules concerned with 16th-century
solmization as expressed in Continental treatises.15 These will then be applied to two
exemplary pieces, with a discussion of the special features concerning solmization that
arise within them. In addition we will look at how the inherent nature of solmization
may play a role in the process of composition, in the association of music with text.
Once again, Martin Agricola’s Musica choralis deudsch will serve as a basis for this
discussion, as he presents the material in a clear, didactic manner. He gives two charts
indicating the mutation points, one for pieces with nothing in the staff signature, that
is to say using B-natural as part of its basic melodic material, and one for pieces with
B-flat in the staff signature. This was a standard means of distinguishing compositions
at the time, by the fact of whether they were written in “hard” or “soft” keys, with
B-natural or B-flat, respectively.
Figure 3.4 shows Agricola’s scale for pieces in the “hard” keys, those with
B-natural. For solmization of those pieces, only the hard and natural hexachords
are required. He writes that in ascending, one mutates hexachord at the point at
which one reaches the re of the new hexachord. Perhaps this is easier to put into
practice if one understands this as meaning that whenever you reach the lowest
note of the new hexachord within the old one (C or fa within a G hexachord, G or
sol within in a C hexachord) the following note (D or A respectively) will be re in
the new hexachord. This can be easily observed in the modern transcription of this
table in Figure 3.5. In descending passages, one always mutated on the la of the new
hexachord, that is to say on the A of the C hexachord and the E of the G hexachord,
as can be seen in Figures 3.4 and 3.5. Thus by keeping the endpoints of the hexa-
chords constantly in mind, mutation is made relatively simple. Needless to say, if
mutation was not required by the range of the melody, one stayed within a single
hexachord.
Martin Agricola follows the same procedure for compositions in “soft” keys,
pieces with B-flat in the staff signature. In this case only the soft and natural hexa-
chords are used. Once again in ascending one mutates hexachord at that point
when one reaches the re of the new hexachord. Or—to put it in other words—
upon reaching the fundamental tone of the new hexachord (C as sol in the soft
hexachord, or F as fa in the natural hexachord) one sings the following note as re
in the new hexachord (D in the new natural hexachord, and G in the new soft one),
as seen in Figures 3.6. and 3.7. And just as before in descending passages, one always
mutated on the la of the new hexachord, that is to say on the A of the C hexachord
and the D of the F hexachord, again as in Figures 3.6 and 3.7. Here, too, by keeping

15
The English solmization rules were significantly different than those on the Continent. The concepts
of the theorists who speak of them, writing between 1584–1638, while bearing many similarities with one
another, are not entirely consistent with one another. Jessie Ann Owens discusses the topic in detail in
“Concepts of Pitch in English Music Theory, c. 1560–1640,” Tonal Structures In Early Music, ed. by Cristle
Collins Judd, (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1998), pp. 183–246. She suggests that the dramatic change
in music education from the practical to the “academic” was “caused by the waves of reformation, restora-
tion, and then reformation,” causing English models to be substituted for those from the Continent.
31 Solmization

fig 3.4. Scale with mutation points for the hard and natural hexachords from Martin Agricola,
Musica choralis deudsch, sig. Biiiiv. (By permission of Georg Olms Verlag AG.)

fig 3.5. Transcription of the Martin Agricola’s table of the ascending and descending solmization
scales in the hard and natural hexachords.
32 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 3.6. Scale with mutation points for the natural and soft hexachords from Martin Agricola,
Musica choralis deudsch, sig. [Bvi]. (By permission of Georg Olms Verlag AG.)

the endpoints of the hexachords constantly in mind, mutation is made relatively


simple. It is interesting to note that although low F does not appear in Agricola’s
Scala musicalis,16 he considered it to be such a self-evident part of the tone system
for polyphonic compositions in “soft” keys that he included it in the solmization
scale for those pieces, writing that although it was forbidden in chant, it com-
monly appeared in instrumental music.17
Now that we know where to mutate within the hexachord system in ascending and
descending scales, let us look at how we can apply this to actual pieces of music. There
are three basic rules:

1. First you look at the staff signature. If there is nothing in the staff signature, you
use the scales found in Figures 3.4 and 3.5, involving the hard and natural
hexachords. If there is a flat in the staff signature, you use those found in Figures
3.6 and 3.7, involving the soft and natural hexachords. Discussion of composi-

16
Martin Agricola, Musica Choralis Deudsch, sig. [Aviiv].
17
Martin Agricola, Musica Choralis Deudsch, sig. Bvv-[Bvi].
33 Solmization

fig 3.7. Transcription of the Martin Agricola’s table of the ascending and descending solmization
scales in the soft and natural hexachords.

tions whose tonal content goes beyond the bounds of musica recta will be found
later in the chapter.
2. It is desirable to remain in a single hexachord as long as possible. This should always
be foremost in your mind when choosing in which hexachord to sing.
3. One proceeds in the selected hexachord until it is no longer possible to continue.
Only then do you mutate to the other associated hexachord in accordance with the
above-mentioned scales.

All the other more specific rules can more or less be derived from these three, and
it is largely through experience that one learns how to apply them most efficiently. It is
important to remember here that there are no absolute rights and wrongs in this
matter, that it is a subject matter where pragmatism and conventions reign.
Let us now take a guided solmization tour through a simple four-part setting of the
19 psalm by Claude Goudimel, Les cieux en chacun lieu (Music Example 118). Let us
th

begin with the psalm melody in the tenor, as it is very well-behaved as far as solmiza-
tion is concerned. First of all, the composition is in a “hard” key, therefore we will be
using the natural and hard hexachords for solmization purposes. The first note of
the tenor is g which is either—as you can see in Finck’s chart in Figure 3.1—sol in the
natural hexachord or ut in the hard one. As mentioned above, Guilliaud writes that the
first three syllables, ut, re and mi, are good for ascending and the second three, fa, sol
and la, are good for descending. Therefore as the tenor opens with an ascending fifth,
we know we can start on the ut of the hard hexachord. The entire first phrase remains
with the hexachord: ut sol sol la sol fa.

18
This example may also be downloaded in facsimile as well as in the modern transcription on the
website associated with this book.
34 the performance of 16th-century music

music example 1. Claude Goudimel, Les cieux en chacun lieu, from Les Pseaumes mis en rime
francoise, par Clement Morot et Theodore de Bese. Mis en musique a quatre parties par Claude
Goudimel. (Geneva: heirs of François Jaqui, 1565), sig. [Gvii-viii].
35 Solmization

music example 1. Continued

The second phrase moves with stepwise motion from c’ to f ’ before returning to
d.’ One solution would be to mutate hexachords, beginning with the ut of the
natural hexachord, once again the whole phrase remaining in the hexachord: ut re
mi fa mi re. Conventions of the time, however, dealt with the semitone above the
hexachord in a different fashion, treating it according to a rule that we tend to
associate with the application of musica ficta, namely una nota super la semper est
canendum fa or “a note above la is always sung as fa” when the musical phrase there-
after descends. This rule must be seen in view of the fact that in music from this
period we frequently encounter the semitone above the fifths D-A, A-E, G-D as a
high point of a phrase, from which one then descends. Thus rather than mutating
hexachords for a single note, one simply sang the semitone as fa, thereby assuring
the same sequence of sound colors for the semitone—hard, soft—as would be
found in its usual place in the hexachord between mi and fa.19 Probably therefore,
the typical musician of the time would have remained in the hard hexachord for the
second phrase of Les cieux singing fa sol la fa la sol. This is substantiated by the
psalter of Clément Marot and Théodore Bèze, Les Psaumes en vers français avec leurs
mélodies (Geneva, 1562) in which the solmization is included with the psalm
melody.20 The third phrase of Le cieux remains in the hard hexachord, being sung
with re fa fa mi re ut.
The second part opens an octave higher, on g,’ and then descends. One therefore
needs to mutate to the natural hexachord. As Sancta Maria writes:

19
Unfortunately there seems to be no parallel rule for a line that descends a half-tone below a hexa-
chord, something that would be frequently useful at cadences.
20
Clément Marot and Théodore de Bèze, Les Psaumes en vers français avec leurs mélodies, (Geneva:
Michel Blanchier, 1562; facsimile ed. by Pierre Pidoux, (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 2nd ed. 1986). This
psalter serves as a good basis for practicing solmization.
36 the performance of 16th-century music

When it is desired that a voice rise or fall by the leap of a 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, or octave, or
by any other leap requiring mutation within the leap, one should take the syllable
that would be taken if the melodic line ascended or descended by all the immedi-
ately successive steps, keeping to the above rules of mutation.21

Thus in this case, as one would sing ut re mi fa sol re mi fa sol to fill out all of the
intermediary steps of the octave leap from g-g,’ the second phrase will begin on sol.
Therefore one would sing sol sol sol fa mi re for this phrase. The following one remains
in the natural hexachord, with the syllables ut re mi fa mi re.22 At Par longue experience,
however, the melody begins on e,’ descending below c’ down to g. This necessitates a
mutation to the hard hexachord and is sung with la sol fa mi fa re ut. Due to the leap of
an octave at m. 19 one once again needs to mutate back to the natural hexachord for the
phrase, La nuit suivant la nuit, singing sol ut re fa mi re.23 At Nous presche & nous instruit,
the phrase begins with c’ and moves downward, therefore once again necessitating the
change of hexachord, so that the line is solmisized with fa mi re mi fa sol. The last phrase
moves through the entire range of the hard hexachord, sol la sol fa mi re ut.
With one exception, each phrase of the bass part—like the tenor part—remains in a
single hexachord. The one exception shows another typical aspect of solmization. The sec-
ond phrase, Publie en toutes parts, opens with c’ and descends. Therefore it is necessary to
begin with fa in the hard hexachord. But already the fourth note descends below that hexa-
chord, requiring a mutation to the natural one in which the f is also a fa. Thus one has the
progression fa mi fa fa la re, where the third fa refers to a different note than the first two.
This frequently happens with leaps of fourths and fifths, as was often remarked upon by
theorists. Naturally due to the prevalence of such intervals in the bass line, incidences of this
are most likely to be found there. Thus this must always be taken into account when
encountering fourths and fifths as a favored method of dealing with these intervals.
The alto part remains within the natural hexachord throughout the piece. None the
less, it does present us with one of the puzzles of solmization, namely how we should
sing raised notes. On the one hand we have Sancta Maria’s statement that “the term
sharp. . . . signifies a tone that is strong and hard, sounded by the voice with force, and
chiefly when the melody ascends,” a definition which sounds very much like his
description of how one sings a mi, “a hard and vigorous tone which the voice sounds
forcefully.”24 A little bit later, however, he also writes the following about the movement
between B to c and c-sharp and d and c or c-sharp respectively:

21
“Quando quiera que alguna boz subiere, o baxare de salto tercera, o quarta, o quinta, o sesta, o
octava, o otro qualquier salto, en los quales se oviere de hazer mutança en los tales saltos, sea de tomar
la boz, que se tomara si la solfa. subiera, o baxara todos los puntos arreo inmediatamente uno tras otro,
guardando las sobre dichas reglas de las mutanças.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia,
book 1, fol. 6–6v, in the translation, p. 16.
22
Interestingly enough, Marot and Bèze’s psalter suggest ut re mi fa la sol, thus treating the end of
the phrase as a case of fa super la. This means that the mutation takes place before it is absolutely
necessary. I personally often choose to mutate between phrases, as this makes sense to me musically.
23
Here, too, Marot and Bèze’s psalter already mutates to the natural hexachord, understanding this
as a situation of fa super la, singing sol, ut, re, mi, fa, la sol.
24
Cf. footnotes 12 and 13.
37 Solmization

. . . . in the ascent of the aforementioned two notes from the white key of B mi, we
always indicate and notate the second note, whether striking a white or a black key,
as C fa ut, and moreover we always sing it with the solmization (diziendo) mi, fa. To
an equal degree, in the descent of these two notes from the white key of D sol re,
whether the second note is struck on a black or a white key, we always indicate and
notate it as C fa ut, and furthermore we always sing it with the solmization re, ut.25

This implies that whereas one does distinguish between c and c-sharp in pitch and
in sound quality, one always uses the same solmization syllable for that note.26 Therefore
the entire alto part of Les cieux en chacun lieu would be sung in the natural hexachord
and the solmization syllable for the f-sharps in measures 6 and 15 would be fa. Because
they are raised, however, their intrinsic sound quality would be that of a mi, strong and
hard.
This is also true for the musica ficta found in cadential figures. In this context Sancta
Maria writes

. . . . when one of the voices has re, ut, re or sol, fa, sol, or la, sol, la, the ut, the fa, and
the sol are for the most part sharped notes in the natural as well as the transposed
[modes]. The reason and justification for this is the gracefulness of the melodic
line and also the resemblance to cadences, all of which are always subsemitonal
except mi, re, mi, which is a subtonal cadence.27

Thus, if one applies this information to the soprano part of Les cieux en chacun lieu, the
first two phrases are to be solmized in the hard hexachord. The second phrase con-
cludes with a typical cadence on d” that receives the same solmization syllables as if
one were to sing d,” c,” h,’ c,” d,” sol fa mi fa sol, but instead of c” one actually intones
c-sharp,” and sings the note with the sound quality of a mi. Although this is completely
counterintuitive for us today, it seems to have been the convention of the time.

25
“Assi mesmo, quando los sobredichos dos puntos se suben, desde la tecla blanca de Bemi, el
segundo punto, ora hiera en la tecla blanca, ora en la negra, siempre le señalamos y apuntamos en
Cefaut, y de mas desto siempre cantamos diziendo, mi, fa. Ni mas ni menos, quando los sobredichos
dos puntos se baxan desde la tecla blanca de Desolre. el segundo punto ora hiera en la tecla blanca, ora
en la negra, siempre tambien le señalamos y apuntamos en Cefaut, y de mas desto, siempre cantamos
diziendo re. ut.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia, book 1, fol. 19v,, in the translation,
p. 51.
26
One also finds specific reference to this in relation to la sol la and sol fa sol in Franchinus
Gaffurius, Practica Musicae, (Milan, 1496), sig. ee iii; translation by Clement A. Miller, Musicological
Studies and Documents 20, American Institute of Musicology, 1968, p. 146. Implicitly this practice is
generally followed by theorists who write on counterpoint, as the cadences on d, G, and a are referred
to as re ut re, sol fa sol and la sol la cadences respectively, and it is understood that the second tone must
be raised to obtain the necessary major sixth that leads to the cadential octave. See also chapter V.
27
“Assi mesmo quando alguna boz hiziere, re ut re, o sol fa sol, o la sol la, por la mayor parte el ut,
y el fa, y el sol, son puntos sostenidos assi en lo natural, como en lo accidental, La razon y causa desto
es por la gracia de la solfa, y tambien porque parecen Clausulas, las quales siempre son sostenidas,
excepto haziendo mi, re, mi, que es Clausula remissa.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer
Fantasia, book 1, fol. 74v; in the translation, p. 217.
38 the performance of 16th-century music

As it opens with c” and extends down to f,’ the third phrase of the soprano, Racontent
aux humains brings the first case of actual mutation in a melodic line. One is constrained
to begin on the fa of the hard hexachord and already with the second note—according to
the mutation chart given by Agricola (Fig. 3.5)—shift to the natural hexachord, thus singing
fa la la sol fa sol. In m. 8 we also have a cadential figure where the f’ receives the solmization
syllable fa, but one actually sings a f-sharp’ with the intrinsic sound quality of a mi.
The first two phrases of the second section are in the hard hexachord. In the second of
the two phrases, Du Seigneur va parlant, we have an example of fa super la in m.13 and a
typical cadential figure in m. 14. The melody at Par longue experience is exactly the same as
the conclusion of the first part and therefore is solmized identically. The next two phrases
are in the hard hexachord. Noteworthy is the g-sharp’ in m. 23, which is solmized as if it
were a g’ but should, however, be sung with the hard quality of a mi. The final phrase is
again almost identical to the conclusion of the first part and is solmized accordingly.
Interestingly enough, the accidental flats seem to have been treated differently from
the accidental sharps, in that they were usually solmized with fa. The reason for this
may perhaps be seen in their different function. Sancta Maria writes namely that

All the black sharps, which are accidental mis, were originated [to lend] grace and
beauty to the natural melodic line; hence in playing by means of the naturals one will
have no other need of [the sharps] than for the aforementioned grace and beauty of
the natural melodic line. When they ought to be used, therefore, depends on judgment
and the dictates of good taste (del buen sentido). But such is not the case with the black
flats, which are accidental fas, for they were originated out of pure necessity, for the
perfection and completion of the diapente, diatessaron, and diapason. And because of
the necessity of completing and perfecting these three consonances, fa is often assigned
to keys on which it does not occur [otherwise], as clearly appears in the ascent from the
fa of the black flat between D sol re and E la mi to the black flat of B fa acute, and then
another 4th up to the fa between D la sol re acute and E la mi acute, which encom-
passes the above three consonances, that is, the diapente, diatessaron, and diapason.28

Thus whereas the sharps were seen merely to enhance the beauty of the melodic line, the
flats were necessary to avoid forbidden intervals. Earlier theorists spoke of this distinction

28
“Todos los Sostenidos negros, los quales son Mies accidentales, fueron inventados para la gracia
y hermosura de la Solfa natural, de suerte que tañendo por lo natural no oviera necessidad de ellos, sino
fuera solamente por la gracia y hermosura de la Solfa natural (como ya esta notado). Y assi quando
quiera que dellos se oviere de usar, queda al arbritrio y juzio del buen sentido, Lo qual no es assi en los
bemoles negros, los quales son Faes accidentales, porque fueron inventados por pura necessidad, para
la perfecion y cumplimiento del Diapente, Diathesaron, y Diapason, y por la necessidad que ay de dar
cumplimiento y perfecion a estas tres consonancias, muchas vezes se haze fa. en teclas que no le ay,
como paresce claramente subiendo del fa. del bemol negro, que esta entre Desolre y elami, al fa. del
bemol negro de Befa. agudo, y despues quarta mas ariba al fa. que esta entre Delasolre y Elami agudos,
lo qual encierra en si las sobredichas tres consonancias (conviene a saber) Diapente, Diathesaron, y
Diapason.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia, book 1, fol. 16v-17; in the translation,
p. 44. For further details about the treatment of sharps and flats in 15th-century Spain, see Bonnie J.
Blackburn, “Music Theory and Musical Thinking,” pp. 314–15.
39 Solmization

in terms of causa necessitatis and causa pulchritudinis. The flats therefore received a dif-
ferent solmization syllable, a recognition of their relation to the semitone below them;
the sharps were merely sung with a different quality, but not with a different syllable.
This we will examine in the context of the following example in a “soft” key.
For this purpose we will take the well-known piece, Innsbruck ich muss dich lassen,
looking first at the basic skills necessary for solmizing music in soft keys and secondly
at the questions it raises concerning the addition of accidental flats (see Music
Example 229). Basically the approach is the same as that applied to Les cieux en chacun
lieu. Because of the flat in the staff signature, however, the soft and natural hexachords
are employed in the manner seen in Figure 3.7.

music example 2. Heinrich Isaac, Innsbruck ich muss dich lassen, transcribed from Ein auβbund
schöner Teutscher Liedlein / zu singen / und auff allerley Instrument / zu gebrauchen / sonderlich
auβerlesen (Nuremberg: Johann vom Berg and Ulrich Newber, 1549), Nr. 36.

29
This example may also be downloaded in facsimile as well as in the modern transcription on the
website associated with this book.
40 the performance of 16th-century music

music example 2: Continued

Let us begin with the superius. As we can see from Figure 3.1 the first note f ’ has
the attributes fa ut. As the melody at the opening of Innsbruck ascends, we are obliged
to begin with the syllable ut. The entire first phrase remains within the soft hexa-
chord, being solmized with ut ut re mi sol fa mi. The last note of the second phrase
extends one note below the soft hexachord. Unlike the case with the semitone above
the hexachord in which we can simply sing fa, here we are forced to mutate in order
to be able to accomodate the e’ in m. 7. Because the mutation point in descent is la,
and the line descends from the a’ (or la) in m. 6, this is where we choose to mutate to
the natural hexachord, singing mi sol fa re la fa mi. The third phrase remains in the
natural hexachord with fa sol fa mi fa sol. With the exception of the very first note,
the fourth and fifth phrases are a repetition of the first two, and are solmized accord-
41 Solmization

ingly. The final two phrases remain in the natural hexachord. The ascent to b-flat’ in
mm. 17 and 21 is simply sung as a fa super la, resulting in mi fa sol la fa la sol fa sol fa
fa mi fa.
The alto part is also unproblematic. It opens with an ascending line beginning
on c.’ Therefore we are obliged to begin with ut. The first phrase remains com-
pletely within the natural hexachord and is sung ut re mi fa ut fa mi fa. The second
phrase, however, although it also opens with c,’ descends, necessitating that we
mutate to the soft hexachord, with sol mi mi fa mi mi re ut re. The third phrase
simply remains in the soft hexachord. As mentioned before, the fourth and fifth
phrases are almost an exact repetition of the first two and are solmized accord-
ingly. In m. 15, however, we have a leap of an octave and are forced to mutate to the
natural hexachord. As the melody descends to one note below the hexachord, to
b-flat in m. 18, we are obliged to mutate in m. 17 on the la, the d’, resulting in the
following solmization: sol fa mi fa fa mi la sol la sol fa sol sol. This is, of course,
repeated for the final phrase.
The tenor part brings a slight expansion of the tone system with the movement to
e-flat’ in mm. 5 and 13. As in each case this represents merely a semitone movement
above the d,’ it can be sung as a fa super la in the soft hexachord. For the phrases Ich far
dahin mein strassen and die ich nit weiss bekummen, this would mean that one would
sing sol sol la fa la sol fa sol. One should however also note that although one is required
for reasons of beauty to raise the b-flat to b-natural at the cadences in mm. 6 and 14
one would sing the syllable fa, but with the character of a mi. Up through m. 16 the
tenor remains in the soft hexachord. The descent to the low e in m. 18, however, neces-
sitates a mutation to the natural hexachord at the la, the a in m. 17. This is then repeated
in the final phrase.
The bass voice, however, brings some challenges with it, which we can use to
exemplify the treatment of additional flats in solmization. The first phrase is
perfectly normal. As it begins on f and descends, it should be sung with fa re sol
fa la la sol fa sol fa . What does one do with the second phrase, however, in which
there is an e-flat that cannot be understood as a fa super la? Here we have two
choices: one is probably correct from the theoretical point of view, the other
probably more frequently employed in practice. Let us first look at the theoreti-
cally correct solution.
Once again we will turn to Sancta Maria for an explanation. He writes namely
that

The hard, natural, and soft hexachords are performed entirely on the white keys,
except for the fas of the black keys of B fa in the soft hexachord alone, these being
from the upper accidental series. . . .
Likewise it should be pointed out that one often plays the lower natural
series [white key] in accidental functions [i.e., transposed], which is done by feign-
ing syllables upon pitch signs on which they do not naturally occur. This is done
for two reasons: the first is from some necessity that may arise, such as giving the
pitch (tono) to the choir or to one who sings solo with the organ or some other
42 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 3.8. The transposed soft hexachord


(por bemol accidental ), as illustrated by Sancta
Maria.

keyboard instrument. Here we are compelled and forced to play all eight modes in
transposed locations, feigning syllables “accidentally” on natural pitch signs. This
comes about when the pitch of an instrument is not matched to that of the
voices.
The second reason [for feigning syllables on natural notes] is so that one
may supply syllables missing from among the sharps and flats of the upper acci-
dental series [the black keys] when such are needed to complete the six syllables
from ut to la.30

Thus if one were required to transpose a piece to meet the necessities of a soloist or
a choir, one just transposed the hexachords accordingly. Similarly, if accidentals not
contained within the gamut were required by a specific piece, one also was constrained
to feign syllables. Generally speaking, one can thus say that accidentals not included
within the gamut were accommodated by transpositions of the entire tone system
through the circle of fifths, with additional flats being attained by the use of hexa-
chords on B-flat and E-flat, additional sharps with hexachords on D or A. Sharp
hexachords seem to have been primarily employed by keyboard players, as they were
the ones most often required to transpose due to the needs of the choir.

30
“Todas las teclas blancas se cantan por bequadrado, natura, y bemol. Sacando solamente de la
propriedad de bemol, los faes de las teclas negras de befa, los quales son dela orden alta accidental, de
manera que aunque toda la orden baxa es natural, con todo esso tiene mezcla de cinco bozes acciden-
tales dela propriedad de bemol, que son, ut, re, mi, sol, la, las quales nascen de todos los signos de
Fefaut.
Assi mesmo sea de notar que por esta orden baxa natural, muchas vezes se tañe accidentalmente, lo
qual se haze fingiendo bozes en signos donde naturalmente no las ay. Esto se haze por dos razones.
La primera es por algunas necessidades que se ofreçen, como es dar tono al coro, o al que canta
solo con el Organo, o con otro qualquier instrumento de tecla. Por lo qual somos conpelidos y for-
çados a tañer por ella accidentalmente todos los ocho tonos, fingiendo bozes accidentales en signos
naturales, esto nasce de no estar proporcionado el tono de los instrumentos, con el tono de las
bozes.
La segunda razon es, por cumplir las bozes que saltan a los bemoles, y sostenidos de la orden alta
accidental, a los quales conviene complir todas sus seys bozes naturales, desde el ut hasta el la.” Sancta
Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia, book 1, fol. 3–3v, in the translation p. 8.
43 Solmization

fig 3.9. Ascending and descending solmization scales in the transposed soft and soft hexachords.

About the E-flat, the most frequently appearing accidental beyond the theoretical
note system—as represented by Figure 3.1 in 16th-century polyphony—Sancta Maria
specifically wrote that “the flat between D sol re and E la mi and its octaves [is sung] in
the soft hexachord transposed (por bemol accidental)” and illustrated this with Figure
3.8.31 This implies that for passages with E-flat a hexachord a fifth lower than the one
on F would be employed, that is one extending from B-flat to G. In line with the prac-
tice we have observed until now, this hexachord would be linked up with the soft hexa-
chord on F to accommodate the full range of melodies with both B-flats and E-flats as
part of their ductus. The table in Figure 3.9—based on those of Agricola—may be used
for the solmization of such melodies.
As a consequence the theoretically correct solution for the second phrase of the bass
of Innsbruck ich muss dich lassen would be to see it as being within a hexachord on B-flat.
As it descends from its initial tone F, one begins on sol, singing sol sol sol fa sol mi re.
Fleeting references in a couple of sources, however, have led me to believe that a
lazier solution was probably more frequently employed in such situations: One just
sang the syllable fa whenever a flat occurred that was just beyond the scope of the
linked hexachords currently in use (B-flat in “hard” keys, E-flat in “soft” keys). For in-
stance, Nicola Vicentino writes the following about the repetition of solmization sylla-
bles for two different notes:

If you consider this matter for a time, you will see that by chance we often sing the
same name for two notes in our practice. I show this with the example [Figure
3.10], in which you will say “fa” naturally for the second note, and on the third note

31
“Todos los bemoles negros, los quales son faes, se cantan por bemol, aunquel que esta entre
desolre, y elami, y sus octavas, por bemol accidental.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer
Fantasia, book 1, fol. 3v, in the translation p. 9.
44 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 3.10. Repeated Solmization Syllables according to


Nicola Vicentino.

repeat “fa” accidentally. Such repetitions do not annoy practitioners, save for the
usual trifles.32

Thus the practical musician of the time may have more frequently merely sung fa
when an “accidental” flat appeared in the melody, rather than mutating hexachords.33
For the second phrase of Innsbruck this would mean that one would sing fa fa fa fa fa
re ut, the fourth fa being an e-flat as opposed to all the others which would have been
on f. Once again this is something that appears counterintuitive to us today, but seems
to have been the convention of the time.
As mentioned previously, for solmization purposes Agricola extended the range of
the tone system down to the low F. Therefore the opening of the third phrase would
open with la re. As the fourth note, however, cannot be interpreted as a fa super la, due
to the e’-natural in the superius, one is forced to mutate to the natural hexachord on
the third note, thus singing singing la re re mi for the first four notes. The last two notes
of the phrase form the inversion of the fifth between G and d found between the sec-
ond and third notes and are thus also solmized with re re. We saw this characteristic
repetition of syllables for leaps of fourths and fifths in the bass part of the second
phrase of Les cieux en chacun lieu.
The fourth and fifth phrases of Innsbruck, as we have seen before, are more or less
repetitions of the first two, and therefore should be solmized accordingly. The sixth
one, with the ascending motion from c, opens with ut re sol fa and concludes with a
repetition of the fa with the falling fifth to B-flat. The seventh phrase remains within
the soft hexachord and is sung with fa sol la sol ut. These two phrases are then repeated
to bring the piece to a conclusion.
The basic procedure of the practical application of solmization syllables, together
with all of the most frequent anomalies, has been demonstrated with these two pieces.
With practice the process becomes relatively straightforward, one recognizes the muta-
tion points immediately. This in turn results in a change of perspective, in which the
placement of the semitone is of central importance. Imitation is frequently made more

32
“& se consideri alquanto, molte volte nella prattica che noi usiamo, accidentalmente occorre dire
un medesimo nome à due note, come ti dimostro con l’essempio che alla seconda nota dirai fa. natu-
ralmente, & alla terza ritornerai a dire fa. accidentalmente; & queste repliche di note non danno fastidio
al prattico, si non un poco per l’uso.” Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 15, in the translation p. 50.
33
Often a fa inserted in this manner in a descending line can be treated as a kind of fa super la,
having la immediately follow upon the fa, thus mutating into the other hexachord. This is corroborated
by the second phrase of the Morot-Bèze of Les cieux en chacun lieu, see above, as well as by Louis
Bourgeois, in his treatise Le droict chemin de musique (Geneva, 1550; facsimile Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1954),
sig. D with his solmization of the line puis que mes yeux ont eu in the psalm Or laisse Creator, where the
fa on B-flat is used to mutate (unnecessarily) to the soft hexachord.
45 Solmization

evident through the syllables, just as the singing of canons and transposition are facil-
itated by them.
Recent research on the late 15th-century theorist Florentius de Faxolis by Bonnie
Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens has brought to light other ways in which
solmization was used in order to facilitate singing. In their commentary to his Liber
musices, they write:

Florentius proposes that the text, whether in plainchant or a polyphonic com-


position, should be read through first. It should then be decided (on the basis
of the hexachordal structure of the melody) which of the notes on B should be
sung as mi and which as fa. These syllables should then be matched to the
corresponding syllables of the text. . . . The advantages of this method, though
it takes some preparation, is that there will be no hesitation in singing, if the
singer has fixed the notes to the syllables in his memory. Moreover, Florentius
says, it is a great help in cases where the clef changes in the middle of the staff.
If the singer loses his way between lines and spaces, he will remember where mi
and fa should fall because he has mentally attached them to the words of the
text.34

This not only makes it clear to which degree solmization was used to determine
whether mi or fa was sung on B (or in an extended fashion on E), but that it was also
used to orient the singer both in regard to the text as well as in relationship to the
specific mode of notation on the page. Further it is an indication of the widespread
role of solmization in various aspects of musical practice. Only now are modern per-
formers—once they have mastered the system—beginning to discover the significance
of solmization for the performance of this music.
Now that we know how to apply the syllables, we can examine how differentiating
their inherent quality in performance cannot only influence how we shape the
individual melodic lines, but also the intonation of a consort as a whole and the affect
of an interpretation.

SOLMIZATION AND INTONATION


When first experimenting with the differentiation of the inherent quality of solmiza-
tion syllables, I was struck with how the intonation of any consort, regardless of the
tuning system, almost inevitably improved significantly. I naturally asked myself why,
as it seemed incongruous that a phenomenon associated with melody should have this
sort of consistent influence on the vertical simultaneities. But with further reflection,
I came to realize that there is a logical basis for the effect.

34
From the commentary to 1.10.5; 1.11.1; 2.18.3 concerning fitting the text to the music in Florentius
de Faxolis, Book on Music, edited and translated by Bonnie Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens,
(Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), pp. 300–01.
46 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 3.11. The association of the solmization syllables with the notes of the gamut.

fig 3.12. Hard and Natural Hexachords.

fig 3.13. Natural and Soft Hexachords.

As we have seen there are eight different notes within the gamut, within musica
recta: the diatonic scale from gamma ut, plus b-flat, and, of course, their corresponding
octaves. Each of these notes can only be associated with one, two, or three of the sylla-
bles (see Figure 3.11). In practice, however, only in rare occasions will more than two of
the hexachords be used in singing any single piece. Compositions in “hard” keys are
sung with a combination of the natural and hard hexachords, while those in “soft” keys
are sung with the natural and soft ones (see Figures 3.12 and 3.13).
If one then applies these syllables to the triads that can appear in compositions of
the time, you discover there is a consistent structure underlying both of these combi-
nations (see Figures 3.14 and 3.15).
We have seen that at the time pieces of music were divided into two categories—
“soft” and “hard” keys—dependent on their staff signature. Similarly, individual notes
were associated with intrinsic qualities of soft, natural, and hard, depending on which
hexachord they were in. In this context, too, there are two levels on which these structures
are perceptible. First of all, there is the level of the triad. If you look at the first one on C,
you see that if we take the syllables fa, la and sol, the bass is soft, the G is natural (or in
comparison to the bass somewhat harder), and the E is hardest. Even if both the C and G
had ut as their attribute, G would be considered to be slightly harder, for the hardness of
the notes seems to progress through the cycle of fifths.35 This structure is true for all of
the other triads with major thirds, those on F and G in the progression where the hard

35
This is implicit in the transpositions of the entire system, for example, to deal with music with two
flats. The soft hexachord is then on B-flat, natural on F, hard on C. Similarly for music with two sharps,
the soft hexachord is on C, the natural hexachord on G, the hard hexachord on D. Thus it can be said the
further one goes in the flat direction, the “softer” it gets, and vice versa in the opposite direction.
47 Solmization

fig 3.14. Natural and Hard Hexachords.

fig 3.15. Soft and Natural Hexachords.

and natural hexachords are linked, and those on F, B-flat, and C in that where the soft and
the natural hexachords are joined together. Thus this understanding of the inherent
quality of the association of notes with hexachord syllables results in a common struc-
ture for the triads with a major third, in which the fifth is a note with greater tension than
the bass, and the third gives a certain hardness and clarity to the sound.
When we look at the triads with a minor third, say the one on D, we discover here
too, a similar pattern. Once again the fifth is always a little bit harder than the
fundamental tone. But here the third is consistently softer than the other two notes.
The system therefore also results in a distinction of sound color between triads with
major and minor thirds that goes beyond the mere difference between the intervals.
Thus this use of the syllables also brings with it a specific sort of sound for each
triad, one which varies in its degree of softness or hardness from all of the others. If
one were to set up a scale from hard to soft for the system in which the hard and
natural hexachords are linked, it would start with the major triads on G, C, and F and
continue with the minor ones on e, a and d. Likewise in the system linking the soft and
natural hexachords, the progression would be C, F, B-flat and a, d, g. As a consequence
this would imply that each mode not only had its own melodic properties, its own set
of cadences, but also its own particular progressions of hardness and softness within
the harmonies typical for it. Perhaps this is a partial explanation for why hexachord
theory managed to hold its own for so long after the development of polyphony: that
on some audible level, it also gave structure to the vertical harmonies.
This approach, however, requires an awareness of subtle differences in relation-
ships between notes, both horizontally and vertically, differences that go far beyond the
classification of chords that we learned in basic harmony. And solmization seems to
offer a path for our ears to learn to hear and want to create these differences.

TUNING SYSTEMS
When speaking of the influence of the different colors of solmization on intona-
tion, the question always arises of what tuning system is involved. Perhaps it is good
to recall that solmization was in use from the 11th century to the beginning of the 18th
48 the performance of 16th-century music

century and that the first theorist known to speak about distinguishing between the
hardness of mi and the softness of fa lived at the end of the 13th century. In addition,
as mentioned earlier, if solmization had not been part of general knowledge beyond
the spheres of music itself, it would not have embedded itself so deeply in erotic
vocabulary as indicated by the work done by Bonnie Blackburn and Leofranc
Holford-Strevens. Therefore, as there seems to have been a shift at the end of the 15th
century from Pythagorean tuning to other systems, the differentiation in sound
color must in some way have also shifted in relation to the change in tuning
systems.
Various tuning systems were in use in the 16th century, provoking much discussion,
both then and now.36 The source of the debate is the incompatibility of our desire for
pure fifths and pure thirds with the nature of sound. In tuning fifths through a “circle
of fifths,” one ends up roughly a quarter of semitone sharper when one returns to the
starting point. Similarly, although we conceive of an octave as being made up of three
major thirds, when we tune three pure thirds, we end up almost half a semitone flat to
the starting point. There is therefore no system in which pure fifths and pure thirds
may be maintained throughout the entire 12-note octave. All tuning systems are com-
promises, in which some aspect is favored at the cost of others. Whereas in equal tem-
perament all fifths are slightly small and all major thirds slightly large, in historical
tunings, some fifths or thirds are pure (or purer)—usually intervals that occur most
frequently in the music of the time—at the expense of others. Thus the favoring of the
purity of specific intervals, of specific triads, is part of historically informed performance
practice.
The fact that there was no single tuning system favored by all musicians in the 16th
century is perhaps most graphically reflected in the following quotation by Giovanni
Maria Artusi:

The difficulty consists in knowing [how to] distinguish among the instruments,
which ones are those that have whole tone and semitone equal, and which are those
that have either the one or the other, or both unequal. This being known, one can
then easily join either the similar ones among them together, or with a third kind
which accommodates themselves in each direction. Therefore I believe that they
may be joined together in the following manner.

36
This section is indebted to the following articles, which may also serve as a source of information
for those that wish to delve deeper into the subject: Ross W. Duffin, “Tuning and Temperament,” in
A Performer’s Guide to Renaissance Music, ed. by Jeffery Kite-Powell, 2nd ed. (Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 2007), pp. 279–289; the various articles by Mark Lindley in Oxford Music
Online: “Temperaments,” http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com:80/subscriber/article/grove/
music/27643; “Pythagorean intonation,” http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com:80/subscriber/article/
grove/music/22604; “Mean-tone,” http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com:80/subscriber/article/grove/
music/18222; “Just intonation,” http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com:80/subscriber/article/grove/
music/14564.
49 Solmization

First order: Second order: Third order:


Instruments which are Instruments which can Instruments which produce
tempered with an equal accomodate themselves in the whole tone divided into
whole tone and an unequal each direction. two equal parts and the
semitone. semitones are equal.
Primo ordine. Secondo ordine. Terzo ordine.
Instromenti, che sono Instromenti, che si Instromenti, che danno il
temperati co’l Tuono piegano per ogni verso. Tuono diviso in due parti
eguale, e’l Semituono eguali, & li Semituoni sono
ineguale eguali.

Organ (Organo) Human voices (Voci Lutes (Lauti)


humane)
Harpsichord (Clavacembalo) Trombones (Tromboni) Viols (Viole)
Spinett (Spinette) Trumpets (Trombette) Viole bastarde (Viole
bastarde)
Monochords (Monocordi) Rebecs (Ribechini) Citterns (Cetera)
Double Harps (Arpe doppie) Cornetti (Cornetti) Lyres (Lire)
Recorders (Flauti)
Dulcians (Dulzaine)

You can now recognize from the above table which instruments can be
united together, and which are far from this union, that the first cannot [be joined]
with the third, nor can it ever be so joined without offense to [our] sense of hearing,
[as] recognized by our intellect. One can most excellently join the second [order]
together with the first, and also with the third.37

This classification of instruments by tuning system reflects not only the music of
the time, but the construction of the specific instruments. Instruments with fixed
string or pipe length required some form of temperament to make the whole tones

37
“la difficoltà consiste nel sapere discernere de gl’Instromenti, quali siano quelli che hanno il
tuono, e’l semituono eguale; & quali siano quelli, che l’uno ò l’altro, overo ambidui gli habbino
ineguali: ilche conosciuto, facilmente potete poi unirli, & fra di loro gli simili, overo, con una terza
sorte, che si piegano in ogni verso: Però crederei, che si potessero unire nel seguente modo. . . . [see
the table in the text]. . . . Potrete hora dalla sopraposta divisione conoscere quali Instromenti si pos-
sono unire insieme, & quali siano da questa unione lontani, che la prima spetie con la terza non
può, nè potrà mai unirsi senza offesa dell’udito, conosciuta dallo intelletto; potrà benissimo la
seconda con la prima, & con la terza unirsi insieme.” Giovanni Maria Artusi, L’Artusi overo delle
imperfettioni della moderna musica, (Venice: Giacomo Vincenti, 1600; facsimile Bologna: Forni
Editore, 1968), fol. 10v-11.
50 the performance of 16th-century music

equal; instruments with frets had equal semitones. The voice, as well as bowed and
wind instruments, has the capability for adjusting its intonation to the context.
Although Artusi writes that it is not possible for keyboard instruments and lutes
and gambas to play together in tune, we know that they did perform together.
Presumably they found means to deal with the situation, just as we do today. What
follows is a short description of the various tuning systems in use in the 16th
century.
In Pythagorean tuning, the only tuning system described up until the middle of
the 15th century, the fifths are pure with the exception of the “wolf fifth,” the exces-
sively small fifth obtained when we return to the starting point in tuning a “circle
of fifths.” Whereas this fifth was between E-flat and G-sharp in standard
Pythagorean tuning, Henri Arnout (ca. 1440) introduced a transposed system in
which it was between B and F-sharp. This meant that the four major thirds that are
close to being pure in the system (B to D-sharp, D to F-sharp, E to G-sharp, A to
C-sharp) were frequently found just before cadences. As the closes themselves were
usually without a third at this time, this meant that pure harmonies often pre-
vailed at cadences.
Due to the change in the musical style, pure thirds became increasingly important
at the end of the 15th century, and a new system of tuning was developed in which pure
thirds were given preference. In the standard form of this tuning, ¼ comma mean-
tone, four fifths (C to G, G to D, D to A, and A to E) are tuned sufficiently and equally
smaller, so that the resulting major third C to E is pure. All the other notes are tuned
as pure thirds. Two notes are virtually unusable in this system unless one has split
keys: D-sharp and A-flat. These notes, however, rarely occur in the music of this time.
When they do begin occurring, other less extreme forms of meantone temperament,
as well as irregular temperaments in which the size of the thirds and the fifths vary,
begin to prevail. As Russ Duffin says, however, “It is impossible to overemphasize the
positive and colorful effect of ¼ comma meantone on keyboard music of the
Renaissance.”38
As we have seen above, equal temperament—particularly after 1550—was a preva-
lent system for fretted instruments. There is, however, some theoretical and musical
evidence for the use of meantone temperaments on these instruments throughout the
century. Although a regular distribution of the frets served as a basis for the tempera-
ment, due to the fact that they were made of gut, they could be adjusted to meet the
needs of a specific situation. Indeed, additional partial frets could be added for specific
notes. In addition, good players have always been able to adjust the pitch by pushing
and pulling on the stopped string. Thus the best performers would have been able to
play together with keyboard instruments in meantone temperament, particularly if the
open strings were tuned to it.39

38
Ross W. Duffin, “Tuning and Temperament,” p. 282.
39
Jack Ashworth & Paul O’Dette, “Proto-Continuo,” in A Performer’s Guide to Renaissance Music,
ed. by Jeffery Kite-Powell, 2nd ed. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007), p. 233.
51 Solmization
And then finally there is just intonation, a system in which all fifths and thirds are
pure, although it is and was recognized that this is not possible within a closed
system.40 Nevertheless it cannot be overlooked that Zarlino wrote that singers per-
formed using “natural” intervals (ones with simple ratios), not having to make use
of the tempered ones found on (keyboard) instruments.41 Indeed Vincenzo Galilei
claimed that “voices sing musical intervals in their true and perfect ratio, whereas
most artificial instruments play them more or less distantly from their true form,”
and this notwithstanding the fact that he personally preferred the temperament of
the instruments.42 Thus singers needed to remain flexible in their tuning, slightly
adjusting the pitch of specific notes within the musical context, while still remaining
at the same level overall. Various contemporary groups have shown that this is
possible.43
Although all of these tuning systems were being discussed throughout the 16th
century, often just as polemically as is the case today, intonation was never referred to
in relation to solmization and the differentiation of the sound color of the individual
syllables. This seems to have been an inherent characteristic of a note within the con-
text of a hexachord, regardless of the actual specific pitches involved. Nonetheless an
improvement in intonation, regardless of the tuning system, is often perceived when
these distinctions are made. I have come to suspect that it is related to the tuning of the
partials of the notes concerned. In any case, it is a subject that needs further study and
exploration.

DIFFERENTIATION OF SOUND COLOR IN PRACTICE


As already mentioned, everybody always wants to know exactly how to create this
difference in inherent sound color between the syllables. Although this is something
that we cannot know, but rather something that each musician has to investigate and
make decisions about for him or herself, I have discovered there is an innate consensus
about how these characteristics might be interpreted. This having been said, I will now

40
The information on just intonation is largely taken from Ross W. Duffin’s online article, “Just
Intonation in Renaissance Theory and Practice,” Music Theory Online, 2006, http://mto.musictheory.
org/issues/mt0.06.12.3/mt0.06.12.3.duffin.html.
41
Gioseffo Zarlino, Le istitutioni harmonice, (Venice, 1558; facsimile New York: Broude Brothers,
1965), Seconda parte, Cap. 45, pp. 135–137.
42
“le voci cosifatte cantano gl’intervalli musici nella vera et perfetta forma loro, dove la più parte
degl’artifiziali strumenti gli suonano chi più et chi meno da essa lontana.” Vincenzo Galilei, Discorso
particolare intorno all’unisono, (Florence: Giorgio Marescotti, 1589), ed. and translated by Claude
Palisca, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), pp. 205–07, as quoted by Ross Duffin, “Just
Intonation,”[52].
43
Russ W. Duffin has also devised some exercises for performers desiring to learn more about just
intonation, “Just Tuning Exercises,” http://mto.societymusictheory.org/issues/inf0.06.12.3/duffin_exer-
cises.html.
52 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 3.16. Chords for Practicing the Distinction of Sound Colors.

suggest a procedure by which one can approach these differences in sound color in
consort.

1. Let us begin with a triad on G, such as the first one found in Figure 3.16. Assuming
that g is an ut, it should be sung or played softly, mildly. Remember that what we are
interested in are differences of sound color, or timbre, not in dynamic variations;
we want to avoid the excesses described by Hermann Finck mentioned above. If we
remain in the hard hexachord, d” will be a sol and therefore neutral, neither hard
nor soft, but somewhere between the two. The b is then a mi, has a hard and clear
quality. The fact that the pure, unbeating third of just intonation and mean-tone
temperments should be hard seems to bother modern musicians, as they often per-
ceive it as being endlessly sweet by equal-tempered standards. It was, nevertheless,
considered to be an interval to be employed for “hardness, cruelty, or other such
affects.”44 It helps to keep in mind that one meaning of the word scharff used by
Agricola to describe the quality of mi and la is clarity, as in the sharpness of
something clearly in focus. First sing or play the fifth. When it is in tune, add in the
third.
2. In the second chord, the third has been changed to a minor third. Let us assume that
the chord is in a soft hexachord. The G in the bass would then be a re, a neutral note,
the d a la or hard, the b-flat’ a fa of exquisite softness. Again sing or play the fifth and
octave and add in the third later.
3. Let us now take another aspect into consideration in the third chord. First of all,
just as the hexachords increase with hardness as they move through the circle of
fifths, F being soft, C natural, and G hard, the individual notes seem to increase
in hardness or softness in relation to where they are within the circle of fifths.

44
Thomas Morley, A Plain and Easy Introduction to Music, ed. by R. Alec Harman, 3rd (London:
J. M. Dent & Sons, 1966), p. 290.
53 Solmization

As mentioned above, flattened notes outside the tone system were always sung
as fa, whereas the sharps were sung with a mi quality while receiving the name
of the syllable it would have received without the sharp. If one takes a D chord
with a major third, the D is softer than the a’, which is still softer than the
f-sharp’. Or vice versa, the f-sharp’ is very hard, the a’ less so, and the D even
softer. Again sing or play the fifth and octave, followed by the third.
4. It is particularly important to apply this knowledge to chords that are on the sharper
side of the “circle of fifths,” such as E. Once again we have the same progression, the
e being softer than the b which is softer than the g-sharp’. Here, too, we are looking
for hard clarity for the g-sharp’. Once again sing or play the fifth and octave and add
in the third.
5. And finally, it is important for the individual player to distinguish between the
desired sound quality of the individual part and that of the chord as a whole. This
can be perhaps best demonstrated with a chord such as the fifth one on f. As a whole
this chord should be much softer than a G or C chord, to say nothing of an E chord.
Here the F will be an ut, which is softer than the c”, a sol, and much softer than the
a”, a mi. Again sing or play the fifth and octave and add in the third. Although it feels
wrong to give the a” a hard quality in a chord in which one desires the whole to have
a soft quality, this is one of the best ways to achieve a balanced soft, sweet quality for
the ensemble as a whole on that triad.

Keeping these differences in sound quality in mind, now sing or play a piece of
music aiming for a similar differentiation within the melodic line. Over time this will
produce a new way of driving the line and new way of hearing the harmonies. To
encourage such experimentation, all of the complete musical examples in this book
will also be underlaid with solmization syllables.

DIFFERENTIATION OF SOUND COLOR AND AFFECT


It is at times evident that composers made use of the differentiation of sound color due
to the solmization syllables to enhance some textual affect. This can, for instance, be
seen in a simple way in Innsbruck ich muss dich lassen. The text is one ruing the
departure from a beloved city:

Innsbruck ich muss dich lassen/


ich far dahin mein strassen/
in fremde land dahin/
mein freud ist mir genommen/
Die ich nit weiss bekummen/
Wo ich in elend bin.

Innsbruck, I must leave you,


I am traveling away on my road
To a foreign land.
54 the performance of 16th-century music

My joy has been taken from me,


Which I do not know [how to] retrieve,
There where I am abroad.

In m. 5, at the words “ich fahr dahin mein strassen,” the lower two voices move to E-flat,
a note that is quite foreign to the mode of the piece, Lydian, thus illustrating the text.
The distance from the mode is made all the clearer by the softness of the harmonies
there. In addition, the softness of the B-flat chords in mm. 17 and 21 at the word “elend,”
which at the time meant “outside the country” or “abroad,” only serves to heighten
the melancholy nature of the piece.45 Thus this differentiation of sound color was
just one of the resources that the composer could turn in order to bring out the affect
of the text.

THE JOYS OF SOLMIZATION


There are usually two immediate results when musicians start thinking about
16th-century polyphony in this manner. On the one hand, the intonation is inevitably
much improved. On the other, the lines have a natural flow and the structure of the
whole becomes much more transparent. The ebb and flow of tension is always cen-
tered around the semitone, around the mi and fa, thus bringing out the fourth and fifth
structures inherent in the melodic lines. Our ears become much more tuned into the
associations between notes based on similar intervallic patterns. We become more
aware of the impact of the differences between small intervals, something that is often
overlooked today. Our threshold for hearing distinctions, for hearing dissonance, for
sensing minor degrees of tension has gone sky-high because of the cacophony we hear
throughout the day, both musically and otherwise. As soon as we as musicians begin to
take these differentiations into account in shaping a line, however, we become very
aware of them. And this helps to bring polyphony to life.

45
The later etymological development of the word “elend” from meaning “abroad” to “misery”
speaks only too greatly of the prevalent mental state of the homesick emigrant.
4
metric hierarchy, articulation,
and rhythmic flexibility

It is now common knowledge in the performance practice of the 18th century that
musicians of the time understood their music as having been composed within a
metric hierarchy, in which certain notes—the stronger ones of whatever unit was
under scrutiny—were perceived to be “better” than the others. As a consequence,
notes of the same value were not played entirely equally; the “better” ones were length-
ened or accentuated in comparison to others. This hierarchy was perceived at all
levels, from that of the measure down to that of the individual beat. A large portion
of the character attributed to certain meters, to certain dances, is a product of the
codification of this metric hierarchy. This differentiation between the weight of notes
of similar appearance, however, was also made at the level of the faster note values,
best known in the context of French inégalité, in which the first of two notes of equal
notated value was lengthened and the following one shortened in such a way that it
becomes linked to the next (longer) one by means of articulation. Although this sort
of “inequality” among smaller note values is perhaps best known in French baroque
music, other nations had their own versions of this as well, as is indicated by the
instructions for many kinds of instruments that call for some sort of alternating
pattern in their articulation.
Not unsurprisingly the basis for this metric hierarchy may be found in the music of
earlier eras. Indeed the concept of tactus is one of the features that radically separates
music of the 16th century from that of later periods. Today we see the measure as being
the basic unit of rhythmic organization in which a certain number of notes of a specific
value is “beaten” to establish the tempo. In contrast to this, theorists between the end
of the 15th century to the middle of the 17th century speak of marking the space of a
measure by means of a movement that is related to the pulse, or other natural phe-
nomena of a twofold nature. Adam of Fulda is the first to speak of this movement in
De musica (1490): “The tactus is the continuous motion of the ratio contained in the
measure. . . . It is nothing other than the necessary and appropriate measure of the

55
56 the performance of 16th-century music

mode, tempus, and prolation.”1 Or as Lanfranco writes in 1533, the battuta is nothing
other than “a certain sign formed in imitation of the movement of a healthy pulse by
the elevation and lowering of the hand.”2 Martin Agricola explicitly describes the
coordinating function of the movement in his definition of tactus:

The tactus or beat, as it is commonly executed, is a constant and moderate


movement of the hand of the singer, by means of which—as it were a guide—
according to the signs [note values], the simultaneity of the voices and notes of the
music are correctly directed and measured.3

As the tactus is a continuous movement that never stops, it serves as a means of


bringing order to the voices without giving accentuation to a specific place within
the measure. It takes on the visual function of the barlines of later music without
their tendency to interrupt the melodic line. The tactus was always divided into two
parts, equal ones in duple time and unequal ones in triple time, whereby the first
portion was twice as long as the second. Up until about 1530 it was beaten at the level
of the brevis in  and at the level of the semibrevis in . After that both were beaten
increasingly in semibreves, albeit at a faster tempo in  than in  . One could, how-
ever, if the vocal ensemble was particularly adept still beat  at the brevis; indeed,
Praetorius remarks that it is still beaten that way in several prestigious courts.4 On
the other hand, if one were working with beginners or performing complex music
(towards the end of the century), one could also choose to beat the minima. Thus as
Ruth DeFord sums up, “the choice of tactus could depend on the preference of the
conductor, local custom, the skill of the singers or the rhythmic character of the
specific piece.”5
Experience shows that the tempo of the tactus is constrained by the exigencies of
the movement: If it is too slow or too fast, the necessary rhythmic clarity is not achieved
and the motion is in no way commensurate with the music. Zacconi eloquently speaks
of this as one of three features that require attention in the performance of sacred
music:

1
“Tactus est continua motio in mensura contenta rationis and Nihil enim aliud est, nisi debita et
conveniens mensura, modi, temporis et prolationis.” Adam da Fulda, De Musica, 1490; edited in Marin
Gerbert, Scriptores ecclesiastici de musica sacra potissimum, (St. Blasien, 1784; facsimile Milan, 1931),
vol. 3, p. 362.
2
“e un certo segno formato a imitatione del moto del Polso ben sano per elevatione: & de positione
della Mano.” Lanfranco, Giovanni Maria, Scintille di musica, (Brescia: Lodovico Britannico, 1533;
facsimile, Bologna: Arnaldo Forni Editore, 1970), p. 67.
3
“Der Tact odder schlag / wie er alhie genomen wird ist eine stete und messige bewegung der hand
des sengers / durch welche gleichsam ein richtscheit / nach ausweisung der zeichen / die gleicheit der
stymmen und Noten des gesangs recht geleitet und gemessen wird.” Martin Agricola, Musica Figuralis
Deudsch, (Wittenberg: Georg Rhau, 1532; facsimile, Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1969), sig. Giiiv.
4
Michael Praetorius, Syntagma Musicum 3, (Wolfenbüttel: Elias Holwein, 1619; facsimile Kassel:
Bärenreiter, 1978), p. 49.
5
Ruth I. DeFord, “Tempo Relationships between Duple and Triple Time in the Sixteenth Century,”
Early Music History 14 (1985), pp. 3–4.
57 Metric Hierarchy, Articulation, and Rhythmic Flexibility

The third. . . . is the tactus with which music is controlled and guided, which, although
the person who administers it is free to administer it as he pleases, nevertheless has
its proper limits; that is, it should be neither so slow that it creates tedium and
langour nor so fast that it produces dissonance, displeasure, and disgust. I say this
because I have heard it beaten so fast in some chapels that instead of giving pleasure
and delight, the music made some people turn their backs, close their ears, and at
times even leave the church. And I have been amazed especially to see that the singers
beating with such great speed, being unable to keep up with the speed of the tactus,
were always half a tactus behind; and one clashing with the voice of another, they
made such discordant melody (if I should call it melody) that nothing similar could
be heard [anywhere]. . . . I have also seen this when the tactus is so fast: the motions
from one interval to the next, which are those that we commonly call the beat, not
being equal, are altered in an ugly and monstrous way, there being always more time
on the upstroke than on the downstroke, and it seems that in lowering his hand, the
person who is beating always touches things that sting or shock him.6

Beyond this the tempo was dependent on the text, the skill of the singers, the situation,
and the taste of the performers. The tactus thus gave a large metric framework, one in
which the two extremes points of the movement, the positio and the levatio, indicated
the beginning and middle of the metric unit. If the voices coincided at these points,
then the coordination of the piece was secured. With this comes a sense of pulse, with
a stronger and a weaker point where the direction of the movement changed, a coming
and a going that allows for some rhythmic flexibility between these points.
This rhythmic flexibility is reflected on lower metric levels in the instrumental
tutors of the time when they speak of articulation. Diruta perhaps expresses it most
clearly in Il Transilvano (Venice, 1595):

Realize that the knowledge of fingering is more important than anything I have yet
discussed. Say what one will, such knowledge is of the greatest importance and

6
“Il terzo. . . . si è il tatto, con cui le Musiche vengano sumministrate, & informate: il quale, quan-
tunque sia in libertà di colui, che lo ministra, di ministrarlo communque vuole, con tutto ciò, vi è pur
la sua debbita limitatione; cioè, che non sia, ne troppo lento, che generi tedio, e languidezza, nè anco
poi tanto veloce, che venghi à produrre dissonanza, dispiacere, e schifezza. Questo io lo dico; perche, hò
sentito in alcune capelle suministrarlo tanto velocemente, che in luogo le loro Musiche d’aggradire,
piacere, e dilettare, faceano volger le spalle, chiuder l’orecchie, & anco alle volte dalla Chiesa uscire. Et
io in particolare mi son preso non picciola maraviglia, in vedere, che i Cantori battendosi con tanta
accelerità e prestezza, per non poter loro seguitar la velocità del tatto, andavano sempre mezzo tatto
indietro; & uno urtando con la voce dell’altro, far la più disorbitante melodia, (se melodia la debbo
chiamare) ch’altra simile non si potea udire. . . . Hò veduto anco questo di più nel batter cosi presto: che
gl’atti d’uno intervallo e l’altro, che sono quelli, che noi communemente chiamamo battuta, non
essendo equali, sono alterati di brutta, e mostruosa alternatione, essendo sempre più tempo nella
levata, che nella caduta; e pare apunto che quel tale che batte, nel calar della mano, tocchi sempre cose,
che lo punghino, ò scottino,” in Lodovico Zacconi, Prattica di Musica Seconda Parte, (Venice: Alessandro
Vincenti, 1622; facsimile Bologna: Forni Editore, 1983), p. 56; translation by Ruth I. DeFord in “Zacconi’s
Theories of Tactus and Mensuration,” Journal of Musicology 14 (1996), p. 158.
58 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 4.1. The designation of good and bad notes in Girolamo Diruta’s Il Transilvano.

they are wrong who say that it does not matter with which finger one plays a “good”
or “bad” note.
Note that we have five fingers on the hand. The first is called the thumb, the
second the index, the third middle, the fourth the ring finger, the fifth the little
finger. The first finger takes a bad note, the second a good one, the third bad, the
fourth good, and the fifth bad. In playing fast passages, the second, third, and
fourth fingers are the ones that do all the work. What I say for one hand applies to
the other. Fast notes also proceed in the same order, that is, good and bad, as you
can understand from the example given below. 7

The example makes it clear that the first note of two notes of the same value, in this
case the semiminim, was considered to be good (B for buona or good) and the second
to be bad (C for cattiva or bad). That this distinction also held for smaller note values,
even when the first or first two notes were replaced by dots or rests, is shown in the
examples in Figure 4.2. Thus the twofold movement at the larger unit of the measure
is also reflected in the alternation of good and bad notes in faster note values. Hence
the basic understanding of the rhythmic structure of the time incorporated an
alternation between stronger and weaker notes at all metric levels. As indicated by the
quotation from Diruta, this was considered to be an integral part of the articulation on
keyboard instruments. Indeed essentially all instrumental tutors of the time suggest
some sort of alternating pattern of articulation, whether of specific fingers as on key-
board and plucked instruments, of the bowing direction on bowed stringed instru-
ments, or of syllables on winds.8 Together with the slow movement of the tactus, this

7
“Sappiate pure, che la cognitione delle dita è la più importante cosa, che habbi ancor detto, e dichi
pur chi vuole, che tal cognitione è di grandissima importanza, & errano quelli, che dicono poco rilevare
con qual dito si pigli la nota buona, e cattiva: Hor vedete, cinque dita habbiamo nella mano, il primo
dicesi pollice, il secondo indice, il terzo medio, il quarto anulare, il quinto auriculare. Il primo dito fa la
nota cattiva, il secondo la buona, il terzo la cattiva, il quarto la buona, il quinto la cattiva: & il secondo,
terzo, e quarto dito sono quelli, che fanno tutta la fatica, in far le note negre, e quello, che dico d’una
mano: dico dell’altra, le note negre vanno ancor loro con lo medesimo ordine, cioè, buona e cattiva,
come per l’essempio posto qui di sotto intenderete.” Girolamo Diruta, Il Transilvano, (Venice: Giacomo
Vincenti, 1593; facsimile, Bologna: Forni Editore, 1969), fol. 6; translation by Murray C. Bradshaw and
Edward J. Soehnlen, The Transylvanian, (Henryville: Institute of Medieval Music, 1984), p. 56.
8
See the introduction to Richard Erig, Italienische Diminutionen/Italian Diminutions, (Zurich:
Amadeus, 1979); Edward Tarr and Bruce Dickey, Articulation in Early Wind Music: A Source Book with
Commentary, Pratica Musicale 8, (Winterthur: Amadeus, 2007); or the articles on specific instruments
in Jeffery Kite-Powell, A Performer’s Guide to Renaissance Music, for further information.
59 Metric Hierarchy, Articulation, and Rhythmic Flexibility

fig 4.2. Examples of good and bad notes in relation to fingering in Girolamo Diruta’s Il
Transilvano.

allows for a great deal of rhythmic flexibility or looseness within the context of the
larger framework.
That this sort of alternation at times became codified, perhaps more accentuated,
is revealed by a few sources that speak of unequal forms of articulation. Louis Bourgeois
is the first theorist to speak of this in a small introductory treatise on music, Le droict
chemin de musique, published in Geneva in 1550. At the end of a chapter on notation,
in which he first discusses the notes and ligatures, proportions, and meter, he writes
about how to sing semiminims:

The manner in which to sing the semiminims in diminished meters—


—is to sing them two by two, staying a little bit
longer on the first than on the second, as if the first had a dot and the second were
a fusa, because the first is a consonance and the second is most often a dissonance
or (as one says) a false concord. [This is] because the musicians have such liberty
in their composition. And because they have more grace when they are sung this
way, I believe, than when all [are] equal, as in the following:
60 the performance of 16th-century music

[He adds that] one needs to do the same with the fusae in the integral
meters— —as follows:9

The fact that this appears—with no restrictions whatsoever—in a musical primer as a


basic instruction on how to interpret notation indicates that it was standard practice to
play the shorter note values in this manner in the Huguenot circles in which this trea-
tise was used. As the primer was intended in the humanist tradition for schoolboys
learning to sing psalms, one can assume that this instruction was valid for both vocal
and instrumental music, both sacred and secular.
A jamais croy recouvrer mon adresse by Johannes Lupi may serve as a good piece to
experiment with playing notes inégales in a French style, as there are a large number of
semiminims in all the parts (Music Example 310). What one is searching for here are
light, elegant, supple lines, sung with a basic inégal rhythm, but one that varies
according to the text and context.

9
“De chanter les demiminimes. La maniere de bien chanter les demiminimes en ces signes
diminués. . . . est de les chanter comme de deux en deux, demourant quelque peu de temps d’avantage
sur la premiere, que sur la seconde: comme si la premiere avoit un poinct, & que la seconde fust une
fuse. A cause que la premiere est un accord, & que la seconde est le plussouvent un discord, ou
(comme on dit) un faux accord. Car les Musiciens ont telle liberté en leur composition. A cause aussi
qu’elles ont meilleure grace à les chanter ainsi que ie dy, que toutes egales, comme il sensuit. . . . Il
faudra faire le semblable des Fuses, en ces signes entiers. . . . ainsi:” Louis Bourgeois, Le droict chemin,
sig. [C8-C8v].
10
This example may also be downloaded in facsimile as well as in the modern transcription on the
website associated with this book.
61 Metric Hierarchy, Articulation, and Rhythmic Flexibility

music example 3. Johannes Lupi, A jamais croy recouvrer mon adresse, transcribed from Premier
livre des chancons à quatre parties (Antwerp: Tielman Susato, 1543), on fol. 7v in all of the part books.
62 the performance of 16th-century music

music example 3. Continued


63 Metric Hierarchy, Articulation, and Rhythmic Flexibility

music example 3. Continued


64 the performance of 16th-century music

music example 3. Continued

The fact, however, that the figurative notes in a composition often were played in
an unequal manner in other countries as well can be seen in Sancta Maria’s book on
playing the clavichord. Indeed he devotes an entire chapter to the method of playing in
good rhythmic style in which he writes:

Concerning a good rhythmic style of playing [tañer con buen ayre]. . . . note that it
requires that semiminims be played in one manner and quavers in three. The manner
to be employed in playing semiminims consists of pausing on the first and hurrying the
second, and to the same degree pausing on the third and hurrying the fourth, and so on
for all the semiminims. This is done as if the first semiminim were dotted, the second
were a quaver, the third again dotted, the fourth a quaver, and so on. But observe that
the semiminim that is hurried must not move too quickly, but somewhat moderately.
65 Metric Hierarchy, Articulation, and Rhythmic Flexibility

In order that we may clearly see and understand the difference between
playing the semiminims in one manner and the other, they are noted [below]
without dots and with dots.11

Here we see the same practice as that referred to by Bourgeois for semiminims, again
without restrictions of any sort about where this rule should be applied. In distinction
to Bourgeois, however, he indicates that the dotted rhythms should not be extreme, but
only moderate, perhaps an indication that the notation is not to be taken literally, but
only as the best means of indicating an aural practice.
Sancta Maria goes on to say that the still smaller note values primarily used in dim-
inutions should also be played in an unequal manner. Here, however, he gives three
different possibilities:

Of the three manners of [playing] quavers, two are done in almost the same way,
which is to pause on one quaver and hurry the other. These differ from one another
in this: the first manner is begun by pausing on the first quaver, hurrying the sec-
ond, and to the same degree pausing on the third and hurrying the fourth, and so
forth with all, doing so as if the first were a dotted quaver, the second a semiquaver,
the third again a dotted quaver, and the fourth a semiquaver, and so forth. This
manner serves for works that consist entirely of counterpoint, and for [both] long
and short passages of glosa.

11
“Quanto al tañer con buen ayre. . . . se advierta, que para esto se requiere tañer las Seminimas de
una manera, y las Corcheas de tres. La manera que se ha de tener para tañer las Seminimas, es detenerse
en la primera, y correr la segunda, y ni mas ni menos detenerse en la tercera, y correr la quarta, y desta
forma todas las Seminimas, lo qual se haze, como si la primera Seminima tuviesse puntillo, y la segunda
fuesse Corchea, y semejantemente la tercera tuviesse puntillo, y la quarta fuesse Corchea, y desta man-
era todas las Seminimas. Y tengase aviso, que la Seminima que se corre, no ha de yr muy corrida, sino
un poco moderada.
Para que claramente se uca, y se entienda la differencia que ay de tañer las Seminimas de la una
manera y de la otra, se pornan apuntadas sin puntillos, y con puntillos.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado,
Arte de tañer Fantasia, fol. 45v, in the translation p. 118.
66 the performance of 16th-century music

The second manner is performed by hurrying the first quaver and pausing
on the second, and to the same degree hurrying the third and passing on the fourth,
so continuing, with all as if the first quaver were a semiquaver, the second quaver
were dotted, similarly the third a semiquaver, the fourth dotted, and so on. In this
manner the dotted quavers do not fall on the beats but on the offbeats. This manner
serves for the brief glosas that are used both in [composed] works and in [the
improvised] fantasy. Note that this style is much more elegant [galana] than that
described before.

The third manner consists of hurrying three quavers and pausing on the
fourth, then hurrying the next three and pausing on the fourth; and observe that
this prolongation must be for whatever time may be necessary to enable the fifth
quaver to sound in its proper place at the half-tactus; and all [continue] in this way.
Thus they must go four by four, which is done as if three of the quavers were semi-
quavers and the fourth quaver were dotted. This third manner is the most elegant
style of all, and serves for [both] long and short glosas.
Observe that the prolongation of the quavers must not be great, but only as
much as has been indicated—and this is to be understood as very little; for extreme
prolongation produces a highly awkward and ugly effect in the music. And also, by
the same token, the three quavers that are hurried must not be hurried too much,
but only moderately, in conformity with the prolongation of the fourth quaver.
That all may be understood with great clarity, and thus easily applied to pieces, the
67 Metric Hierarchy, Articulation, and Rhythmic Flexibility

notated examples have been given with a dot above [or below] the note head of
each quaver and semiquaver that fall on the half-tactus.12

It appears from this text, that although there were some musicians who played such
passages in an equal manner, this style was not considered to be elegant; the notes in
contrapuntal music were expected at the very least to be mildly inégales, mildly dotted.

12
“De las tres maneras de las Corcheas, las dos se hazen quasi de una mesma manera, que es dete-
niendose en una Corchea, y corriendo otra. Difieren la una dela otra en que, en la una manera se
comiença a detener en la primera Corchea, corriendo la segunda, y ni mas ni menos deteniendose en la
tercera, y corriendo la quarta, y desta manera todas, lo qual se haze, como si la primera Corchea tuviesse
puntillo, y la segunda Corchea fuesse Semicorchea, y semejantemente, la tercera Corchea tuviesse pun-
tillo, y la quarta Corchea, fuesse Semicorchea, y desta forma todas. Esta manera sirve para las obras que
son todas de contrapunto, y para passos largos y cortos de glosas.
La segunda manera se haze, corriendo la primera Corchea, y deteniendose en la segunda, y ni mas
ni menos corriendo la tercera, y deteniendose en la quarta, y desta manera todas, lo qual se haze como
si la primera Corchea fuesse Semicorchea, y la segunda Corchea tuviesse puntillo, y semejantemente la
tercera Corchea fuesse Semicorchea, y la quarta Corchea tuviesse puntillo, y desta suerte procediendo.
En esta manera las Corcheas que tienen puntillo, nunca hieren en golpe, sino en vago. Esta manera sirve
para glosas cortas, que se hazen assi en las obras como en la fantasia. Y notese, que esta manera es muy
mas galana, que la otra sobredicha.
La tercera manera se haze, corriendo tres Corcheas, y deteniendose en la quarta, y despues cor-
riendo otras tres, y deteniendose en la quarta, y adviertase, que este detenimiento ha de ser todo el
tiempo que fuere necessario, para que la quinta Corchea venga a herir a su tiempo en el medio Compas,
y desta manera todas. De suerte que van de quarto en quatro, lo qual se haze como si las tres Corcheas
fuessen Semicorcheas, y la quarta Corchea tuviesse puntillo. Esta tercera manera es la mas galana de
todas, la qual sirve para glosas cortas y largas.
Tengase aviso, que el detenimiento en las Corcheas no ha de ser mucho, sino solamente quanto se
señale, y se de a entender un poco, porque el mucho detenimiento causa gran desgracia y fealdad en la
musica, y assi mesmo por esta mesma razon, las tres Corcheas que se corren, no se han de correr
demasiadamente, sino con moderacion, conforme al detenimiento que se hiziere en la quarta Corchea.
Y para que con mayor claridad todo se entienda, y assi facilmente se pueda poner por obra, se porna en
los exemplos apuntados un puntillo sobre la plica de cada Corchea y Semicorchea, que hiriere en el
medio Compas.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia, book 1, fol. 45v-46, in the transla-
tion pp. 118–120.
68 the performance of 16th-century music

But these could be exchanged in short passages for lombardic rhythms, particularly in
improvised fantasies. Most elegant of all, however, was a manner of playing that could
not be illustrated, even approximated, in the notation of the time, in which the
individual notes in four-note groups received unequal treatment, the first three being
hurried and the fourth prolonged just enough to maintain the beat. For all these,
Sancta Maria stresses that the inequality should not be extreme, for then it becomes
“awkward and ugly,” an indication that the dotted rhythms in the text should be under-
stood as an attempt to notate a practice in which it was expected that the performing
(and at times improvising) musician create elegant and supple lines by means of
rhythmic differentiation.
This is corroborated by Bovicelli in his Regole Passaggi di Musica (Venice, 1594)
when he writes the following for singers:

In order not to always, as the proverb says, frequently repeat the same tune [canti-
lena] to the great boredom of those who listen, it is a very great ornament to vary it
often, yes, with passages of the same notes, but divided in diverse ways. Just as in
writing or speaking the greatest boredom for those who listen or read comes if the
oration is without any color of [rhetorical] figures—it becomes wearisome on its
own accord: so it is with the ornamental passages in singing if they are not [sung] in
diverse ways—as it were with ravishing colors—which instead of [bringing] delight
bring disgust. I want to say that the passages at times have to be in stepwise motion
and of a single [note] value; and at another time the same notes [have to be] in a
different variated manner, so that although they are the self-same notes, they none-
theless appear to be different because of the different way of presenting them.13

13
“Per nen haver sempre, come si dice per Proverbio, a ripetere la stessa cantilena con gran tedio
molte volte di chi sente; ornamento grandissimo par che sia, l’andare spesso variando con Passaggi
delle stesse note si, ma diversamente compartite. Perche si come nello scrivere, ò nel dire grandissimo
tedio è, a chi sente, od’à chi legge, se l’oratione senza alcun colore di figure, và da se stessa languendo:
cosi i Passaggi nel cantare, se non sono con diversi modi quasi, che con colori ravvivati, in luogo di
diletto, apporteranno fastidio: Voglio dire, che i Passaggi alcuna volta devono esser di note seguenti,
e d’uno stesso valore; e le stesse alcuna nolta [sic!] in altra guisa variate: di maniera, che se ben saranno
quelle stesse note, nondimeno parranno diverse, per il diverso modo di porgerle.” Giovanni Battista
Bovicelli, Regole Passaggi di musica, (Venice: Giacomo Vincenti, 1594; facsimile, Kassel: Bärenreiter,
1957), p. 10.
69 Metric Hierarchy, Articulation, and Rhythmic Flexibility

Similarly, Antonio Brunelli writes the following in his Varii Esercitii (Florence, 1614):

Various examples with crome and semicromes in which one sees that [when] sung
in an ordinary fashion they do not bear beauty. But as one often finds such pas-
sages in these exercises as well as in compositions, one needs to sing them in the
manner written below in FIG 4.3., as one sees:14

FIG 4.3. Examples of rhythmic variety with Antonio Brunelli’s Varri Esercitti.

Here Brunelli distinguishes between notes notated in an ordinary fashion (passo


ordinario) and the rhythmically altered versions in performance that were better
(meglio) and best (migliore).
All these references to rhythmic inequality in the performance of the smaller,
figurative note values, indicate that this was a widespread practice. A regular inégal

14
Vari esempii di Crome, e Semicrome ne’ quali si vede Che cantando ordinariamente non ten-
dono vaghezza però trovandosi detti passi tanto in questi esercitii, quanto in altre Compositioni, bisog-
nerà cantarle nelli sotto scritti modi, come qui si vede.” Antonio Brunelli, Vario Esercitii, (Florence:
Zanobi Pignoni, 1614), fol. vv; modern edition by Richard Erig, Italienische Diminutionslehren 2,
(Zürich: Musikverlag zum Pelikan, 1976), p. 2.
70 the performance of 16th-century music

FIG 4.3. Continued

rhythm at the level of simiminims seems to have been standard for Hugenot France
and in Spain. Rhythmic delicacy and freedom were obviously cultivated in diminu-
tions. What remains to be investigated is how this rhythmic inequality varied according
to time, place, and repertoire. Naturally the accentuation and flow of each language
will have affected the singer’s basic approach to its musical realization. This in turn
will have influenced the instrumentalists, leading to differences in articulation,
whether they be ones of fingerings on keyboard and plucked instruments, of tongu-
ing on wind instrument or of bowing on string instruments. A study of the notation
of the period in relation to these forms of rhythmic flexibility might also bring new
insights. This is one of the areas of 16th-century performance practice where much
may still be discovered.
5
cadences

It is a long-standing tradition in Western music that music is compared to language.


In particular, it is seen to have a syntax with a regular alternation between tension and
relaxation in the flow of notes that is punctuated in a way similar to that with which we
deal with a sequence of words. It is this punctuation, created by the composer and
observed by the performer, that then lends the work a structure that in turn makes it
comprehensible to an audience. Highlighting the cadences and their function in the
work is one of the foremost ways of making this structure audible in polyphony, as well
as in essentially all other music. It has been my experience, however, that cadences are
frequently inaudible in performances of 16th-century polyphony. Indeed I have made
experiments in playing recordings of well-known vocal ensembles to audiences of
musicians, asking them to mark down on a piece of paper each cadence they hear. For
one and the same piece of music, I have received answers between one and twenty-
three. Also in my teaching I have come to realize that the performers are only all too
often not aware of the cadences, particularly of the evaded ones, designed to make only
small caesuras in the piece. It is for this reason that it seemed important to present this
basic material on the means of forming and differentiating between cadences.
Let us therefore begin with a few definitions of cadences, starting with one that is
from slightly before the period we are looking at. Its central statement, however,
remains constant throughout the 16th and early 17th centuries. In 1475, Johannes
Tinctoris, perhaps the most influential theorist of his time, as well as a respected per-
former and composer, wrote that a “cadence is a small part of any part of a song at
the end of which is found either general repose or perfection.”1 So Tinctoris in his

1
“Clausula est cuiuslibet partis cantus particula. in fine cuius vel quies generalis vel perfectio rep-
eritur.” Johannes Tinctoris, Terminorum musicae diffinitiorium, Treviso, 1475, sig. Aiiir, as quoted in
Karol Berger, Musica ficta: Theories of Accidental Inflections in Vocal Polyphony from Marchetto da
Padova to Gioseffo Zarlino, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 129.

71
72 the performance of 16th-century music

definition refers to the division of a piece of music into parts, each of which end with
a sense of quietness, accompanied by a perfect consonance. A contemporary of his,
John Hothby added a new element to this when he wrote:

By “cadences” one understands all the notes between one line and another. They
follow the cadences of the words, of which there are principally three, namely,
comma, colon and period . . . As I said, the cadences of a song should be similar to
the cadences of the words, so that if the cadence of the words is suspending, that is,
the colon, the cadence of the song should be distant from the final step [of the
mode]. And if the cadence of the words is a smaller punctuation, that is, a gram-
matic comma, the cadence of the song should be moderate, not too long, and not
too close to the final step. But if the cadence of the words is the period, that is, the
end of the sentence, the cadence of the song should be on the final step or on the
reciting pitch.2

Hothby therefore is seen to apply grammatical theory to musical composition, indi-


cating that the choice of note on which one cadences is related to the function of the
individual phrases of the text within the composition as a whole.
In his introductory treastise for students Recanetum de musica aurea (Rome, 1533),
the theorist and choir director Stephanus Vanneus combines elements of both of these
definitions in his own when he writes:

Cadence, therefore, is a small part of any section of a song at the end of which is
found either general repose or perfection. Or cadence is a certain close of this same
section of song, just as in the context of speech the middle and final signs of
punctuation. Experienced musicians seek to place cadences where the speech or its
clauses end.3

2
“Per le clausule sintende tutte le note intra luna righa et laltra. Et seguitano le clausule delle
parole. che principalmente sono. 3. Cioe. Coma. Colon. et periodus:. . . . Et come decto: le clausule della
cantilena deno essere simile: alle clausule delle parole: per tal modo che se la clausula delle parole e
suspensiva Cioe. Colon: la clausula della cantilena de essere da longa dalla voce finale. Et se la clausula
delle parole e una subdistinctione. Cioe una Coma grammatica: la clausula del canto de essere medi-
ocre: non troppo da longa: ne troppo apresso alla voce finale. Ma se la clausula delle parole e parieto (.i.
periodus). Cioe fine della sententia: La clausula del canto de essere nella voce finale. overo nel tenore.”
John Hothby, Tractatus quarundam regularum artis musicae, Ms. Florence, Biblioteca Nayionale
Centrale, Palat. 472, fols. 12–12v,, as quoted by Karol Berger, Musica ficta, p. 129. In a private communi-
cation, Bonnie Blackburn pointed out that the words “da longa” were originally incorrectly translated
by Berger. I have corrected the above translation accordingly.
3
“Cadentia igitur est, cuiuslibet partis cantus particula, in fine cuius, vel quies generalis, vel
perfectio reperitur. Vel Cadentia est quaedam ipsius Cantilenae partis terminatio, perinde atque in
orationis contextu Media distinctio, atque Distinctio finalis. Studentque periti Musici, ut
Cadentiarum Meta fiat, ubi & orationis pars, seu membrum terminat.” Stephano Vanneo, Recanetum
de musica aurea, Rome, 1533, fol. 85v–86, as quoted by Karol Berger, Musica ficta, p. 130. Here, too,
Bonnie Blackburn suggested a more fluent translation of the last line of the quotation, which I have
included above.
73 Cadences

This eagerness of musicians that the cadences coincide with textual entities is note-
worthy here, indicating that as performers our attention should be focused not only on
the music and its structure, but also on how it is linked up with that of the text.
In mid-century Venice in the circles around Adrian Willaert, the theoretical interest
in the relationship between text and music grew to new heights. This is revealed, for
example, in Gioseffo Zarlino’s definition of cadence in Le Institutioni harmoniche
(Venice, 1558):

A cadence is a certain simultaneous progression of all the voices in a composition


accompanying a repose in the harmony or the completion of a meaningful segment
of the text upon which the composition is based. We might also say that it is a sort
of termination of part of the harmonic flow at a midpoint or at the end, or a sepa-
ration of the main portions of the text. The cadence is very necessary in harmonic
writing, since it is needed for marking off sections of the music, as well as of the
text. But it should not be used unless the end of a clause or period of the prose or
verse has been reached, that is, only at the end of a section or part of a section. The
cadence has a value in music equivalent to the period in prose and could well be
called the period of musical composition. It is found also at resting points in the
harmony, that is, where a section of the harmony terminates, in the same way that
we pause in a speech, both at intermediate points and at the end. It should not be
put always in the same tone, but, in the interest of grateful, pleasing harmony, its
location should be varied. The end of a sentence in the text should coincide with
the cadence, and this should not fall on an arbitrary tone but on the proper and
regular steps of the mode used.4

Here, too, the emphasis is on the coordination of the musical structure with that of the
text, with that of the words being perceived as having priority. Zarlino relates this to
the tonal structure of the composition of a whole, saying that for variety one needs

4
“La Cadenza adunque è un certo atto, che fanno le parti della cantilena cantando insieme, la qual
dinota, o quiete generale dell’harmonia, o la perfettione del senso delle parole, sopra le quali la canti-
lena è composta. Overamente potemo dire, che ella sia una certa terminatione di una parte di tutto’l
concento, & quasi mezana, o vogliamo dire finale terminatione, o distintione del contesto della
Oratione. Et benche la Cadenza sia molto necessaria nelle harmonie: percioche quando non l’hanno,
mancano di un grande ornamento necessario, si per la distintione delle sue parti, come anco di quella
della Oratione; non è però da usarla, se non quando si ariva alla Clausula, overo al Periodo contenuto
nella Prosa, o nel Verso; cioè in quella parte, che termina il Membro di essa, overo una delle sue parti.
Onde la Cadenza è di tanto valore nella Musica, quanto il Punto nella Oratione; & si può veramente
chiamare Punto della Cantilena. È ben vero, che si pone anco dove si riposa, cioè dove si trova la termi-
natione di una parte dell’harmonia, nel modo che si fermiamo etiandio nel contesto della Oratione,
quando si trova non solamente la distintione mezana, ma ancora la finale. Ne la dovemo por sempre in
un luogo; ma si bene in luoghi diversi, accioche dalla varietà ne seguiti più grata, & più dilettevole
harmonia. Et debbeno terminare insieme il Punto della oratione & la Cadenza; non gia sopra qual si
voglia chorda; ma nelle propie chorde regolari de i Modi, ne i quali sarà composta la cantilena.” Gioseffo
Zarlino, Le Istitutioni harmoniche, Terza parte, (Venice: 1558), p. 221, translated by Guy A. Marco and
Claude V. Palisca as The Art of Counterpoint, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), pp. 141–142.
74 the performance of 16th-century music

cadences on various notes, but for unity the more important cadences should be on
tones of structural significance to the mode.
That this way of thinking about cadential structure was influential long into the 17th
century—particularly in German-speaking countries in which the musical development
at one and the same time lagged behind and followed that of Italy—is demonstrated
by a definition from Johann Andreas Herbst’s Musica poetica sive compendium melopo-
eticum of 1643. Although it is late, one can recognize that it contains many elements
from the previous definitions, but expands upon them, making it very clear how they
are to be understood and used:

A Clausula formalis is—in various parts and voices and with many lovely conso-
nances—an artful and pleasant concordance for the ears, which divides the music
into its members and parts, as in its finâl and conclusion, either a moment of peace
or inactivity, or a perfection and completion is required. And they are called clausu-
lae from the Latin word claudo, because they close the piece of music at the end, or,
as it were, bring a sentence or period in the middle of the piece to a close. And
therefore they are mainly used when namely in the text a complete thought occurs,
to indicate that a new period will follow, which one normally begins with a fugue
[imitative passage] and customarily ends and closes with the clausula. To be sure
they are called formales because they make a marvellous and beautiful harmony,
and also give the music great grace, almost assuming a form and natural calm or
painting a lively color. For the more clausulae formales are used in a piece of music,
the more pleasant the music will be, and there is such a power and force in the
clausulis that in a certain way and degree by means of syncopation. . . . they make
the dissonances pleasing to the ear.5

Although the similarity of such definitions to 18th-century discussions of musical


syntax is striking, performers seem to find it much more difficult to come to grips with
the concept in 16th-century polyphony. It seems that we are so taken in by the floating
endlessness of the individual line, the transparence of the horizontal structure, that we

5
“Clausula formalis ist in mancherley Partibus und Stimmen / durch allerhand liebliche
Concordantien, eine künstliche / und den Ohren eine angeneme Zusammenfügung / welche den Gesang
in seine membra und Glieder abtheilet / da in deroselben finâl und Endschafft / entweder eine Ruh oder
stillstand / oder eine perfection und Vollkommenheit erfordert wird. Und werden darumb Clausulae
genennet, von dem lateinischen wort Claudo, weil sie den Gesang am End / oder einen Sentenz und
periodum im mitten de Gesangs gleichsam schliessen. Und werden fürnemlich darumb gebraucht /
wenn nemlich in dem Text eine vollkommene Red fürfält / anzuzeigen da ein newer periodus folgen
werde / welchen man gemeiniglich mit einer Fugen anzufangen / und mit der Clausula zu enden und
zu schliessen pflegt. Formales aber werden sie genennet / weil sie eine herrliche und schöne Harmoniam
machen / auch den Gesang mächtig zieren / und gleichsam eine Form und natürliche Ruh zueygnen /
oder eine lebendige Farb anstreichen. Dann je mehr im einem Gesang Clausulae formales gebraucht
werden / je lieblicher der Gesang seyn wird / und ist in den Clausulis eine solche Macht und Gewalt /
dass sie auch die dissonantias auff gewisse weiss und mass / durch die Syncopation. . . . wohlklingend
machen.” Johann Andreas Herbst, Musica poetica sive compendium melopoeticum, (Nuremberg:
Jeremias Dümler, 1643), p. 58.
75 Cadences

fig 5.1. Two-part Cadence.

find it difficult to acknowledge what is happening vertically without giving up the


independence of the parts. These definitions, however, make the central importance of
cadences clear and indicate that we must investigate them in relation to both the text
and to the mode of the piece concerned. We will first examine their basic structure, and
then look at some considerations concerning their execution.
Throughout the 16th century—based on the theory of previous centuries—a
cadence was considered to be defined by the two-part structure seen in Figure 5.1. In it,
the cantisans clausula, which strictly speaking only consists of the last three notes of the
upper voice in each of these examples, moves down to the lower neighbor note and
back, while the tenorisans clausula, the lower part, either descends in stepwise motion
over three notes or moves to the upper neighbor note and back. The first sonority in
each of these examples is a consonance, which is then followed by a sixth or octave; in
the middle of the tactus the stepwise movement of the tenor voice turns this interval
into a seventh, which resolves to a major sixth followed by an octave. Important here is
that one of the voices have a semitone and the other a whole tone leading to the octave.
The first cadence in Figure 5.1 is on F, in which the semitone step in the cantisans
clausula is provided by the tonal system. Where this is not the case, one was expected
to add musica ficta, a “feigned” tone to create the major sixth necessary for giving the
sense of completion.6 Interestingly enough the major sixth was an interval that one was
asked to use sparingly in counterpoint as it was considered to be asper, harsh. As Nicola
Vicentino, another theorist in the circle around Willaert, writes:

Still, students should note that the major sixth acts more like a dissonance than a
consonance. Because it arises between the minor sixth, which has little intrinsic
harmony, and the seventh, which is an utter dissonance, the major sixth receives
only a little help from the minor sixth and even less from the seventh. Consider the
following consecutive sequence: seventh, major sixth, minor sixth, and fifth. Here
the minor sixth seems to breathe a little because the fifth is nearby, while the
seventh, a very bad dissonance, makes the major sixth seem rather good. And

6
Discussions of musica ficta in the performance of 16th-century music are unavoidable and fasci-
nating. The subject has received so much attention in the past, that it did not seem necessary to cover
it in this book. For those who are interested in learning more, Karol Berger’s book, Musica ficta: Theories
of Accidental Inflections in Vocal Polyphony from Marchetto da Padova to Gioseffo Zarlino, Cambridge,
1987, is a marvellous source.
76 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 5.2. Two-part cadences with the cantisans clausula in the lower part.

because of its paucity of harmony, the major sixth, when sung, seems to call for
help from the perfection of its neighbor, the octave. For the latter is always as close
as a semitone away, either above or below.7

Although this perception of the major sixth no doubt in part originally stems from
Pythagorean tuning, where—as the sixth is very large—it warrants this characteriza-
tion, it seems rather astonishing to us today, particularly in the context of meantone
tuning where it is pure, and extraordinarily sweet in comparison the major thirds and
sixths in equal temperament. It is nonetheless interesting to note in this connection
that the semitone leading into the octave in the cantisans clausula was always sung with
a mi quality, which in turn probably contributed to attribution of harshness to the
major sixth.
Needless to say, these melodic lines could be inverted, with the tenor melody or the
tenorisans clausula in the top part and that of the soprano, the cantisans clausula in the
lower one. You could then not only have the progression 7–6-8, but also 2–3-1, as you
see in Figure 5.2. The other two parts were added to this basic structure, over time gain-
ing their own form such as those we learn today in basic harmony, in particular the
falling fifth of the bass formula. In the second half of the century we often encounter
cadences where this falling fifth is substituted for the tenorisans clausula, thereby cre-
ating a fourth between the parts that is resolved to a third before they proceed to the
octave, as can be observed in the outer voices of the first cadence in Figure 5.4. It is just
there where we see the beginning of the transition to a later understanding of harmonic
progression.
In addition to this form of cadence there are the Phrygian or subtonal cadences, in
which the semitone is found in the tenorisans clausula. It is called Phrygian because
that is the only mode where it occurs naturally, where there is a semitone between the

7
“& si dè avertire che la Sesta maggiore participa più, di dissonza che di consonanza, perche è nata
fra la Sesta minore, che hà poca harmonia in sè, et fra la settima, che discorda del tutto; si che la Sesta
maggiore ha poco aiuto dalla Sesta minore, & manco dalla Settima; & quando si comporranno con-
tinuamente una doppò l’altra, cioè settima & sesta maggiore, & poi minore, et poi quinta: La Sesta
minore allhora parerà che spiri alquanto, perche appresso lei havrà la Quinta: & la Settima ch’è disso-
nanza molto cattiva, farà alquanto parere buona la Sesta maggiore, et quando ella sarà cantata, parerà
che per la poca sua armonia che chiami aiuto dalla perfettione della sua vicina che sarà l’ottava, perche
egli è sempre vicino con il grado del semitono, ò di sotto ò di sopra.” Vicentino, L’antica musica, Libro
2, fol. 35v-36, in the translation, pp. 115–116.
77 Cadences

fig 5.3 . Two part subtonal or Phrygian cadences.

fig 5.4. Three-part cadences.

first and second note of the mode. Examples of this may be found in Figure 5.3, both
in the regular as well as the inverted form.
When a lower third voice is added here, however, to the subsemitonal cadences, that
is if you were to add a bass line of f—c—f to the first cadence on F in Figure 5.1, as seen
in Figure 5.4, the c in the bass would create a fourth with the f ’ in the soprano. This
fourth would then resolve to the third e’ before proceeding to the octave. This simple
scenario is not possible with a Phrygian cadence, as is made evident by the second
cadence in Figure 5.4. If the bass were simply transposed down a tone to e—B—e as
seen above, it would cause a tritone with the f, which is a forbidden interval. One could
perhaps, according to the rules for musica ficta, consider lowering the B to a B-flat to
perfect the fifth, but this in turn would create both melodic and harmonic tritones with
the various E’s. As there was no alteration possible that would preserve the structure of
the cadence, one was forced to find other solutions. One very typical way of dealing with
Phrygian endings was to make the cadence on the final shortly before the conclusion of
the piece, as we see Willaert’s Dulce exuviae in m. 93, and then round it off with some
sort of movement from A to E in the bass, as seen in Figure 5.5. For modern ears, this
leaves one often a bit uneasy about which note is the actual final.
78 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 5.5. Conclusion of Adrian Willaert’s Dulce exuviae, Motettorum IV Vocum Liber secundus,
(Venice: Gardane, 1545), No. 11.

In addition to these cadential forms there were also the cadenze fuggite, the “evaded
cadences.” Zarlino writes that “a cadence is evaded. . . . when the voices give the impres-
sion of leading to a perfect cadence, and then turn instead in a different direction.”8 To
exemplify this he presents a bicinium with many such cadences, seen in Figure 5.6. In
this example, a transcription of the bicinium found in Le istitutioni harmoniche is
notated in the middle two staves. The lines above and below the bicinium show what
the voices would have to do to form the perfect cadences which they are evading. Eight
different procedures were used to evade cadences in this example:

1. In the cantisans clausula the final note descends in a stepwise fashion instead of
moving to the proper cadence tone. This may be found in mm. 3 (first in the upper
part and immediately thereafter in the lower), 8, 12, 14, 18, and 33.
2. One of the voices (at times filled out by stepwise melodic movement) makes a leap
to a consonant interval instead of moving to the final octave. This may be found in
mm. 4, 6, 9, 11, 14, 21, and 24.
3. A special case of this is when—instead of the falling fifth at the end of the bass for-
mula typical for the 16th century—the voice moves up or down a third. This may be
found in m. 4.
4. Instead of moving to the octave from the major third (with the falling fifth bass for-
mula), the upper voice makes a leap of a third, while the lower voice sustains its
note. This may be found in m. 6.
5. When the dissonance is initiated by a syncopation in a fashion such that a cadence
is expected, the voices then “resolve” too soon (i.e. move to the wrong consonances
on the weak portion of the beat, thereby circumventing the cadential process). This
may be found in mm. 8–9 and 31.

8
“l Fuggir la Cadenza sia. . . . un certo atto, il qual fanno le parti, accenando di voler fare una termi-
natione perfetta, secondo l’uno de i modi mostrati di sopra, & si rivolgono altrove.” Gioseffo Zarlino,
Le Istitutioni harmoniche, Terza parte, p. 226, in the translation, p. 151.
79 Cadences

6. The bass formula, instead of falling a fifth, moves up a step at the cadence creating
a sixth with the upper voice. This bears great similarity with today’s deceptive
cadence, but in the 16th century it was only one of many means to evade a cadence.
This may be found in m.15.
7. The lower voice joins in the stepwise descent of the evasive upper one, rather than
bringing the falling fifth of the bass formula, as in m. 33.
8. One of the two voices all of a sudden is silent, has a rest, just when the cadential note
should come. This may be found in mm. 19, 26, and 31.

It goes without saying that all of these procedures could be used in combination with
one another. For this reason the same cadence may be referred to more than once in
the list above.

fig 5.6. Zarlino’s bicinium demonstrating cadenze fuggite from Le institutioni harmoniche, Terza
parte, p. 226.
80 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 5.6. Continued


81 Cadences

One of the considerations that needs to be made in performance is how to apply


musica ficta to these evaded cadences, as only then does it really become clear to an audi-
ence that a form of musical punctuation is taking place. Generally the theorists do not
distinguish between the various sorts of cadences as far as ficta is concerned. Nonetheless
some forms of evasion make the placement of ficta impossible. In the above example
there are some cases where they would be perfectly acceptable, such as m. 14.
The group of cadences in which the final note of the cantisans clausula moves down-
ward a step, instead of going to the octave, makes sharpening the penultimate note
impossible. If one is reading from part-books and hears the syncopation and dissonance
typical of a cadence, the temptation to sing a ficta, however, is great. On the other hand,
it is clear that the line is descending and that if one adds the sharpened tone the modal
order will be disturbed. This sort of evaded cadence can best be indicated by means of
an accentuation of the dissonance and by the timing within the melodic line.
And finally there is the group of cadences in which there is a leap following the res-
olution of the seventh. Here it is worthwhile to examine each of the cases separately. In
the first one in m. 8, the resolution of the seventh in the upper voice is matched by
stepwise movement upwards in the lower voice, thereby creating a fifth rather than a
sixth. This, of course, prohibits the addition of ficta, as it would create the forbidden
vertical sonority of an augmented fifth.
The next case in mm. 20–21 is much more tantalizing. In it the upper voice resolves
the seventh by moving from g’ to f ’ and then leaps to a b.’ A singer performing from a
part would once again hear the syncopation and dissonance and want to sing an
f-sharp.’ The melodic leap from an f ’ to b,’ however, would also produce the reflex to
sing the b’ as a b-flat’ to avoid the tritone. The singer would then face the difficulty of
knowing which of these rules had priority. A passage from Vicentino sheds some light
on this situation:

To avoid a multitude of errors, it is a good idea in cadences to mark all notes


requiring accidental signs. . . . To develop fluency with inconclusive leaping cadences,
I shall show the novice many leaps that redeem cadences that become dubious
when sharpened, demonstrating when he needs to leap before or after accidental
signs.
Composers should write such cadences so well that singers cannot bungle
the intonation. Indeed, in a good ensemble you can sing any awkward leap, both
natural and accidental, as in [Figure 5.7]. There I show natural and accidental
cadences that leap by means of various and diverse leaps.9

9
“Per fuggire molti errori, sarà buono segnare’ tutte le cadentie che havranno bisogno di loro
segni, come di sopra ho detto, & per dar facilità à quelle che salteranno, & che non vorranno conclu-
dere, dimostrarò al nuovo scolare molti salti, che salveranno le cadentie dubbiose di sustentationi; &
quando gli occorrerà saltare con segni accidentali. Il Compositore avvertirà à fare quelli talmente bene
composti, ch’il Cantante non possi fallare l’intonatione di quelli, perche con la buona compagnia, si
canta ogni cattivo salto, si naturale come accidentale, come darò notitia con gli essempi di quelle, che
salteranno naturalmente, & accidentalmente, con varij & diversi salti.” Nicola Vicentino, L’antica
musica, fol. 53, in the translation, p. 168.
82 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 5.7. Nicola Vicentino’s inconclusive leaping cadences.

In relation to the cadence in Zarlino’s bicinium the third and forth of Vicentino’s
inconclusive leaping cadences are of particular interest, as they indicate that at least for
highly proficient singers both possibilities were feasible. As neither was notated, it was
up to the singer to choose. It must, however, be noted that Vicentino continued as
follows:

A diversity of cadences occurs in compositions. The cadences notated in [Figure


5.7] are as good in one tone or mode as in another. Good for two voices, they would
be better for three or more voices. The notes of these leaps may be either lowered
by applying flats or raised by sharps, as composers see fit. The ear should learn
every bad leap with practice, so that there will come a time when all the natural and
accidental modes and leaps will be sung as effortlessly as we sing the good leaps of
the octave and the just fifth nowadays. Today we sing a few awkward and very
strange leaps. Therefore, the more we use my archicembalo,10 the easier will be the
difficult leaps.11

So the caveat with this example is that only the very best singers were expected to
be able to sing unusual leaps with unusual accidentals. Indeed one wonders how many

10
A harpsichord with many divided keys designed in or to be able to play Vicentino’s reconstruc-
tions of the diatonic, chromatic, and enharmonic genera of the ancient Greeks.
11
“Nelle compositioni occorreno la diversità delle cadentie. Queste sopra scritte saranno cosi
buone in un tono. overo in un modo, come in l’altro; et come sono buone à due voci, meglio saranno
à tre voci, & à più; & i salti di queste tanto si potranno notare con i b. molli all’in giù, come con i Diesis
all’in sù, secondo che verranno bene al Compositore; & ogni mal salto con la prattica à gli orecchi
s’imparerà di modo, che verrà tempo che tutti i modi e salti naturali, et accidentali. si canteranno si
agevolmente, come hoggi i buoni salti, di ottave, & di quinte giuste si cantano, come hora parte de salti
cattivi, & molto stranij cantiamo; & come piu si pratticherà il nostro Archicembalo, piu facili saranno
i salti difficultosi.” Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 53v, in the translation, p. 169.
83 Cadences

fig 5.8. Excerpt from Antonio de Cabezon’s intabulation of Josquin’s Benedictus de la missa delome
arme.

fig 5.9. Excerpt from Albert de Rippe, Fantasy II, mm. 36/71-39/78.

singers outside of Vicentino’s immediate circle would have been capable of this. The
question in the case of the cadence in mm. 20–21 of Zarlino’s bicinium, is whether the
leap from f-sharp’ to b’ would have seemed prohibitively difficult, or the pull to the
more usual f ’ to b-flat’ would have stronger.
In Antonio de Cabezon’s intabulation of the Benedictus from Josquin’s Missa
L’homme armé ficta of this nature as found in Figure 5.8 is repeated seven times in this
and in transposed versions in mm. 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, and 43. More extreme forms of
this are found in Albert de Rippe’s fantasies for lute, as can be seen in the following
excerpt from Fantasy II in Figure 5.9. Thus such “forbidden intervals” were certainly
employed in evaded cadences in instrumental music. These examples indicate perhaps
that in such cases we should be more adventurous in application of ficta, also in vocal
music, than we have been wont to do in the past.
The final case of a leaping cadence is in m. 24. Here again it is perhaps a question
of how experienced the singer of the time was in singing accidentals, whether he would
choose the path of raising the g’ or not. For us again it is more a question of what pro-
vides greater satisfaction to our ears.
The importance of these evaded cadences cannot be overestimated. They provided
the composers with a way of structuring their music in a very refined way, allowing for
many different degrees of closure, depending not only on the text, but also the musical
context. Zarlino wrote:
84 the performance of 16th-century music

In conclusion I want to say the cadences were devised to mark off full sections
of a larger harmonic composition and to punctuate the complete sentences of
the text. Such a termination rightly concludes with the most perfect conso-
nances—octave or unison—so that what is completed comes to a perfect
conclusion. But to make intermediate divisions in the harmony and text, when
the words have not reached a final conclusion of their thought, we may write
those cadences which terminate on the third, fifth, sixth, or similar conso-
nances. Such an ending does not result in a perfect cadence; rather this is
now called “evading the cadence” ( fuggir la cadenza ). It is fortunate that we
have such evaded cadences. They are useful when a composer in the midst
of a beautiful passage feels the need for a cadence but cannot write one
because the period of the text does not coincide, and it would not be honest
to insert one. 12

To do justice to this distinction between degrees of closure in the structure of the


music, performers must not only have given the composition sufficient study to be
aware of it themselves, they must also make it in some form audible to the audience. As
the salient features of the cadence are the syncopated movement in the cantisans
clausula and the subsequent dissonance with its resolution, these serve as signals to the
listener that cadential activity is taking place. Often the syncopation seems to be
brought out to the detriment of the dissonance.
Simon van Damme has pointed out that this is not only true today, but seems to
have also been the case in the 16th century, quoting various theorists who permit disso-
nance because they were of the opinion that only the consonant beginning of the syn-
copation is heard, not the following dissonance. He traces this back to

. . . . the problematic gap between the theory of musical sound and the way it is
perceived in reality.
When theorists try to define musical sound, the duration of it is rarely taken
into account. Their main concern is to explain how sound can physically move
from its cause (motion or percussion) to the human ear. The fact that notes have

12
“Il perche concludendo hormai dico, che se le Cadenze furono ritrovate, si per la perfettione
delle parti di tutto il concento; come anco, accioche per il suo mezo si havesse a finire la sentenza per-
fetta delle parole; è honesto, che volendola terminare per esse, chi si finisca per una delle consonanze
perfettissime, cioè per la Ottava, o almeno per l’Unisono; accioche il Perfetto proportionatamente si
venga a finire col Perfetto. Ma quando si vorrà fare alcuna distintione mezana dell’harmonia, & delle
parole insieme, le quali non habbiano finita perfettamente la loro sentenza; potremo usar quelle
Cadenze, che finiscono per Terza, per Quinta, per Sesta, o per altre simili consonanze: perche il finire a
cotesto modo, non è fine di Cadenza perfetta: ma si chiama fuggir la Cadenza; si come hora la chia-
mano i Musici. Et fu buono il ritrovare, che le Cadenze finissero anco in tal maniera: conciosia che alle
volte accasca al Compositore, che venendoli alle mani un bel passaggio, nel quale si accommodarebbe
ottimamente la Cadenza, & non havendo fatto fine al Periodo nelle parole; non essendo honesto, che
habbiano a finire in essa; cerca di fuggirla.” Gioseffo Zarlino, Le Istitutioni harmoniche, Terza parte,
p. 225, in the translation pp. 150–151.
85 Cadences

also a duration and therefore also dynamically unfold in time, is somehow


neglected.
Apparently, music theory was in a way distant from actual practice. It
adhered to the scientific tradition established by Aristotle and confirmed during
the Middle Ages. The conception that sound arose from single percussions enabled
the legitimation of “normal” dissonances (e.g. suspensions) because of their pro-
claimed perceptual silence.13

He also noted that this contradiction between the theory of musical sound and its
perception in reality could be perceived in writings of Zarlino, who in one and the
same book wrote that

Such a dissonance is tolerable, because in singing the syncopated semibreve the


voices holds firm, and a certain suspension is heard, a taciturnity that is noticed
amid the percussions that produce the tones and make them distinguishable from
one another in time. So the ear barely notices this dissonance, not being sufficiently
stimulated by it to comprehend it fully.14

and

As I have said, every composition, counterpoint, or [to put it one word, every]
harmony is composed principally of consonances. Nevertheless, for greater
beauty and charm dissonances are used, incidentally and secondarily. Although
these dissonances are not pleasing in isolation, when they are properly placed
according to the precepts to be given, the ear not only endures them but derives
great pleasure and delight from them. They are of double utility to the musi-
cian. . . . The first has been mentioned: with their aid we may pass from one
consonance to another. The second is that a dissonance causes the consonance
which follows to sound more agreeable. The ear then grasps and appreciates
the consonance with greater pleasure, just as light is more delightful to the
sight after darkness, and the taste of sweets more delicious after something
bitter. We daily have the experience that after the ear is offended by a disso-

13
Simon van Damme, “Quasi una taciturnità: The Theoretical Silence and Perceptual Salience of
Dissonance,” unpublished paper presented at the Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference in
Vienna, 2007, which he kindly has shared with me. A revised version of this contribution appeared as
“Quasi una taciturnità: The Silence Salience of Dissonance According to 16th-Century Theorists,” Early
Music 38 (2010), pp. 237-47. For further information concerning the theory of perception of musical
sound in the 16th century, see Claude Palisca, Music and Ideas in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006), pp. 131–160.
14
“tal Dissonanza si potrà sopportare: percioche nel cantare la Semibreve sincopata, si tien salda la
voce, & si ode quasi una sospensione, o taciturnità, che si trova nel mezo della percussione, dalla quale
nascono i suoni, & per essa si discerneno l’un dall’altro, & consiste nel tempo; onde l’Udito quasi non
la sente.” Gioseffo Zarlino, Le Istitutioni harmoniche, p. 197, in the translation pp. 95–97.
86 the performance of 16th-century music

nance for a short time, the consonance following it becomes all the more sweet
and pleasant.15

This last excerpt makes it clear that Zarlino expected the dissonances be heard and that
much of the emotional and aesthetic pleasure derived from a composition is derived
from the appropriate alternation between the tension caused by dissonance and its
resolution.
Two other of the more practically oriented theorists also make remarks substanti-
ating this desire that the dissonances be heard. Whereas Vicentino merely gives advice
about how one can best write counterpoint so that the singers will not be tempted to
shorten notes in order to breathe,16 Pietro Pontio explicitly discusses the issue of how
syncopated semibreves are to be performed:

Nonetheless there are others who are of the opinion that half of the note value of
the syncopated semibreve is deemed to be dead—whereby the second half is
meant—because the ear only judges the first part of the note which it hears due to
the percussion of the motion; and also because one observes the majority of the
singers to have dropped the [second] half of the syncopated semibreve. This abuse
which has been so unfortunately introduced is worthy of reprehension, because
the composers have placed their notes in their works so that they may be sung and
not passed over in silence.17

15
“Et benche (come altrove si è detto) ogni Compositione, & ogni Contrapunto: & per dirlo in una
sola parola, ogni Harmonia, si componghi di Consonanze principalmente; nondimeno per più sua
bellezza, & leggiardria, si usano anco secondariamente in essa, per accidente le Dissonanze, lequali
quantunque poste sole all’udito non siano molto grate; nondimeno quando saranno collocate nel
modo, che regolarmente debbeno essere, & secondo li precetti, che dimostraremo; l’Udito talmente le
sopporta, che non solo non l’offendeno: ma li danno grande piacere, & diletto. Di esse il Musico ne cava
due utilità, oltra le altre che sono molte, di non poco valore: La Prima è stata detta di sopra, cioè, che
con l’aiuto loro si può passare da una consonanza all’altra: La Seconda è, che la Dissonanza fa parere la
Consonanza, la quale immediateamente le segue, più dilettevole; & con maggior piacere dall’udito è
compresa, & conosciuta; si come dopo le tenebre è più grata, & dilettevole alla vista la luce; & il dolce
dopo l’amaro è più gustevole, & più soave. Proviamo per esperienza ogni giorno ne i suoni, che se per
alquanto di tempo, l’udito è offeso da alcuna dissonanza, la consonanza che segue dopo se li fa più
soave, & più dilettevole.” Gioseffo Zarlino, Le Istitutioni harmoniche, p. 172–73, in the translation pp.
52–53. The words added in brackets are from Bonnie J. Blackburn’s article, “Compositional Process in
the Fifteenth Century,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 40 (1987), p. 231.
16
Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 28v and 30v, in the translation, pp. 91–92 and 98.
17
“Nondimeno altri sono, i quali hanno opinione, che la metà della figura di Semibreve fatta in
elevatione della misura sia riputata come morta; il che s’intende della parte seconda; perche l’orecchia
solamenta fa giuditio di quella parte prima della figura, ch’essa sente per rispetto della percussione del
moto; & ancora perche hoggidì dalla maggior parte delli cantori si vede essere lasciata con la voce la
metà della figura di Semibreve fatta in elevatione della battuta. Il qual abuso così malamente introdotto
è degno di riprensione; percioche gli compositori pongano le lor figure ne’ Canti, acciò siano cantate,
& non tacciute.” Pietro Pontio, Ragionamento di Musica, (Parma: Erasmo Viotto, 1588; facsimile Kassel:
Bärenreiter, 1959), p. 81.
87 Cadences

The implication of these remarks is that although singers often only sang the
beginning of the syncopated semibreves, this was something reprehensible, to be
abhorred, to the degree that Vicentino actually gave hints on how composers could
best circumvent this laxness. For us today this means that we have evidence of two
practices of the time, one—more related to current theory of sound perception and
the sloth of singers—in which the cadential syncopation was emphasized and the other
encouraged by composers wherein the piquancy of the cadential dissonance and its
subsequent resolution was highlighted.
What we can learn from all of this is that an increased focus on the cadences within
a piece and their relationship to both the text and composition as a whole, as well as
their relative importance to one another is necessary if we are to do justice to the com-
plex rhetorical structure of the music of this period. As performers we need to
experiment with how we can articulate the cadences through greater differentiation of
timbre, dynamics, timing, and articulation to make the impact of this structure audible
to an audience, to make the compositions, as it were, speak.
6
mode

VARIOUS PERSPECTIVES ON MODE


An understanding of mode, of the multiple concepts feeding into the term, is something
one only gains after years of study. This does not mean that mode is insignificant—that
it is not real, as Harold Powers once rhetorically questioned1—but rather that it served
different purposes for the musician of the time than functional harmony does in ours.
A historical description of how modes developed or a schematic presentation of their
scale structures, while interesting in and of themselves, shed little light on how the
music works. In addition, this material is highly contradictory, as theorists of the time
were not only attempting to apply medieval modal theory—which was largely restricted
to melody—to polyphony, but also to correlate this material with their (at times faulty)
understanding of the recent humanist discoveries concerning antique modes. For the
performer today, it is perhaps of greater interest to examine the parameters of a com-
position that were regularly associated with the mode. To be sure these features varied
according to context, both in relation to time and place, as well as in relation to whether
the concept was being used prescriptively by a composer or improviser, or descriptively
by the singer, scholar, or analyst. For all of these reasons, we will first look at why the
concept of mode in relation to 16th-century polyphony is so difficult to grasp today.
This will be followed by a catalog of the characteristic structural and affective features
of the modes assembled from the works of many theorists, which may then be used
both as a foundation and framework for further study of modal use.2

1
Harold Powers, “Is Mode Real? Pietro Aron, the octenary system, and polyphony,” Basler Jahrbuch
für historische Musikpraxis 16 (1992), pp. 9–52.
2
For further information on the history and development of modes in Western music, as well as
further bibliographical information, the following works may be consulted: Harold Powers, et al,
“Mode,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 17 Aug. 2008, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/
subscriber/article/grove/music/43718pg3 ; David E. Cohen, “Notes, scales, and modes in the earlier

88
89 Mode

To begin with, the importance of the monophonic repertory—primarily that of


Gregorian chant, which had its own century-long history independent of that of
polyphonic music—both in the training and in the daily life of musicians in the 16th
century should not be overlooked. It was from this material that the ongoing musician
obtained his basic structural knowledge of the modes. As the modes originally served
to describe and organize preexistent melodic phenomena by grouping the chant mel-
odies in families of similar structure, singing them daily served as a form of regular
training in modal distinction.3 Further, chant melodies were not only frequently
employed as a cantus firmus in polyphonic compositions, they also were used as tenors
for improvised counterpoint, one of the basic building blocks of a 16th-century musi-
cian’s training. As such they served as a focal point for learning basic contrapuntal
progressions in polyphony.4 Thus a musician of the time when examining his part in a
polyphonic work was not merely looking at its range and structural features; he was
hearing it both in relation to the chant melodies of certain mode, as well as in relation
to polyphonic progressions associated with that mode. And as in the 16th century the
average musician never saw anything other than a single voice of a composition—only
organists and lutenists ever played polyphonic compositions in some sort of (often
intabulated) score notation—a modal theory that concerned itself only with melodic
structure was sufficient, even for polyphony.
Indeed as Cristle Collins Judd writes “modal theory . . . retained its practical
association with the chant repertory of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the
early sixteenth century.” She goes on to say that

Under the umbrella of modal theory were a number of categories of pitch organi-
zation related to specific chant types: modes. . . . psalm tones, magnificat tones,

Middle Ages,” and Cristle Collins Judd, “Renaissance modal theory: theoretical, compositional, and
editorial perspectives,” The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, ed. by Thomas Christensen,
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), chapters 11–12, pp. 307–406; Claude Palisca, “Humanist
Revival of the Modes and Genera,” Chapter V of Music and Ideas, pp.71–98. Bernhard Meier’s Die
Tonarten der klassischen Vokalpolyphonie, (Utrecht: Oosthoek, Scheltema, & Holkema, 1974) presents a
comprehensive study of their use in the 16th century.
3
In this connection, I remember only too well a comment from the audience at the Symposium on
“Modus und Tonalität” at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in 1991 concerning my paper on “Willaert’s
Use of Mode in “Mirabile mysterium” and “Ave Regina coelorum,” Basler Jahrbuch für historische
Musikpraxis 16, pp. 141–165. In this paper I had discussed the modal ambiguity of Ave Regina coelorum,
whether it should be understood as being in Phrygian or Hypoaeolian, illustrating my points with live
music. In the discussion afterwards, a monk, who had been singing chant daily for the previous 40
years, said that given his exposure to chant there was no way he could not hear the piece in Phrygian,
an appraisal that I would now fully endorse. To me this was a notable example of the influence of one’s
previous aural experience on one’s understanding of the music.
4
A few years ago, when I began practicing improvising two and three parts to psalm melodies, I
was struck by how one’s musical attention was focused entirely on the tenor and its melodic structure,
as well as by the fact that its structure in the improvisatory situation more or less determined the inter-
vallic progressions of the other voices. This brought home to me, at a very elemental level, how one’s
training can influence one’s perception, in this case making it clear to me how one could conceive of
determining the mode of a polyphonic work merely by means of the melodic structure of its tenor.
90 the performance of 16th-century music

gospel tones, and so forth. While modes, psalm tones, and other recitation formulas
share a number of features, it is important to realize that they represent discrete
entities.5

In particular, theorists frequently talk about modes and psalm tones in the same
chapter, implying in a way that they are speaking of the same thing, while at the same
time making distinctions between their form and use. Although it cannot be denied
that they are related and do have an influence upon one another, it is also clear that
their function is different, “that they represent discrete entities.”
As part of the humanist movement, scholars and theorists began examining the
antique Greek sources on modal theory, attempting to amalgamate the older theory
with current practice. One of the most dramatic results of this was Heinrich Glarean’s
Dodecachordon (Basel, 1547), in which the author proposed, on the basis of antique
sources—which, it must be added, he did not completely understand—that there were
twelve modes instead of the traditional eight. In doing this he also dealt with some of
the inconsistencies of the medieval system, where the theory did not reflect the prac-
tice. Most important of these, perhaps, was the resolution of the problem of the mode
on F, Lydian, which in traditional terms was sung with a b-natural. As, however, this
caused a tritone with the final, often a flat was added to the staff signature, a tacit
acknowledgement of actual practice. By introducing a mode on C, Ionian, he created a
structural entity for this modification of Lydian. Pieces in F were then perceived to be
in transposed Ionian. Furthermore, the addition of Ionian solved another problem, in
that it allowed for the inclusion of the enormous amount of dance music in C within
the modal system. This is reflected also in Glarean’s discussion of the mode where he
writes that it was “very suitable for dancing.”6
The four new modes, although they provoked discussion and were adopted in his
own way by Zarlino, never really gained full acceptance.7 Most musicians, as is revealed
by sources as late as the 18th century, still thought in terms of the traditional eight
Church Modes. This causes difficulties for us today, forcing us to decide how we want
to look at the music after Glarean, whether we want to see it in terms of eight or twelve
modes. Perhaps we need not perceive this issue exclusively from one point of view or
the other, but rather look at the specific pieces from both perspectives and in the end
selecting that which proffers us the greatest understanding of the composition.
One of the most significant differences between a modern view of the modes and
that of the 16th century is that today we view them as octave scales, similar to our major
and minor ones. Most theorists of the time, however, introduced the modes as being
conjunctions of the various species of fourth and fifth. It was perceived that there were

5
Cristle Collins Judd, “Renaissance Modal Theory,” p. 368.
6
“hic Modus saltationibus aptissimus est.” Heinrich Glarean, Dodecachordon, p. 115, in the transla-
tion, vol. 1, p. 153.
7
See also Cristle Collins Judd, Reading Renaissance Music Theory: Hearing with the Eyes,
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), for a description of both Glarean’s and Zarlino’s
reception and promulgation of modal theory.
91 Mode

only three different possible diatonic progressions of fourths within the gamut, namely
whole tone, semitone, whole tone; semitone, whole tone, whole tone; and whole tone,
whole tone, semitone. In their attempt to link up their perceptions of mode with an-
tique theory, they placed the first species on A, which then extended up to d. The sec-
ond and third species were accordingly started on B and c respectively, as may be seen
in Figure 6.1 taken from Vicentino.
Likewise it was acknowledged that there were four different possible diatonic
sequences for fifths within the gamut: whole tone, semitone, whole tone, whole tone;
semitone, whole tone, whole tone, whole tone; whole tone, whole tone, whole tone,
semitone; and finally whole tone, whole tone, semitone, whole tone. The first of these
progressions was seen as starting on d and extending up to a, the following three species
on e, f, and g respectively, as may be seen in Figure 6.2.
These species of fourths and fifths were seen to be linked together to form the seven
species of octave, as seen in Figure 6.3. The following passage from Vicentino, whose
presentation of the modes is comparable to those of other theorists, makes it unmis-
takably clear that this was really the way he understood these progressions:

The following arrangement defines the first octave: it derives its beginning and
creation from the first fourth and first fifth; these when placed together, create the
first species of the first octave. The species is the start of the second order of the
hand, called by music practitioners A re or the lowest A la mi re, and ascends
through the steps of one octave. . . . The second octave begins on B mi in the hard

fig 6.1. The three species of fourth, first diatonically and then by leap, as represented by Nicola
Vicentino, Musica antica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 43v.

fig 6.2. The three species of fifth, first diatonically and then by leap, as represented by Nicola
Vicentino, Musica antica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 43v.
92 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 6.3. The seven species of octaves from Nicola Vicentino, Musica antica ridotta alla moderna
prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 44.

hexachord or the lowest B fa mi. It ascends through one octave up to the low B fa
B mi, with the second fourth placed below the second fifth to form the second
octave. The third octave is formed by the third and last fourth plus the third fifth.
It ascends through eight pitches up to C sol fa ut, with the third fourth below the
third fifth to form the third octave in the same way as the other two described. The
fourth octave [should be] formed by the fourth fifth. But because there are no
more than three fourths and four fifths in the arrangement of fourths and fifths, it
is necessary to go back and choose the above-mentioned fourths and place them
above the fifths in order to form the remaining octaves. Thus, to form the fourth
octave, you place the first fourth over the first fifth. The fourth octave begins on D
sol re and ascends stepwise through the pitches up to D la sol re. The fifth octave is
formed by the second fifth with the second fourth placed over it, beginning on the
low E la mi and ascending through eight pitches up to the high E la mi. It is in this
way that the formation of the fifth octave is discovered. The sixth is formed by the
third fifth with the third fourth placed over it, as in the preceding arrangement.
These intervals form the sixth octave, beginning on the low F fa ut and ascending
through eight pitches up to the high F fa ut. The seventh and last octave is the high-
est. It is formed by going back and choosing the first fourth and then placing it over
the fourth fifth, which begins on g sol re ut. These two intervals create the seventh
octave.8

8
“e la prima Ottava terrà questo ordine, e havrà il suo principio, & la sua creatione dalla prima
quarta, & dalla prima quinta, le quali insieme poste crearanno la prima spetie della prima Ottava,
et sarà il principio nel secondo ordine della mano; da prattici della Musica detto, A re. ò Alamire
93 Mode

This exhaustive list—which, of course, is a typical feature of the 16th-century scholastic


approach—forces us to consider the possibility of hearing these octave scales as being
formed by the conjunctions of fourths and fifths; it does not leave space for any other
interpretation.
The fact that numerous treatises present a short phrase that reflects the character-
istics of the mode rather than giving a mere scale, however, is further evidence that the
modes were perceived as being made up of a conjunction of fourths and fifths related
to their melodic structure, to the melodic families upon which the original distribu-
tion of tunes into modes was made. For example, for Dorian Vicentino gives the phrase
found in Figure 6.4 as being typical for the structure of the mode. Here not only the
octave is outlined diatonically, but also the upper fourth a-d,’ as well as the lower fifth,
d-a, both ascending and descending. This reflects the significance of the fourth and
fifth division in Dorian. If one compares this with the arithmetic division of the same
octave species, that is with Hypomixolydian, as seen in Figure 6.5, one discovers that
the octave species is used in an entirely different manner. Here it is the upper fifth, g-d,’
that is melodically prominent, joined together with the lower fourth from d-g. It is just
this sort of distinction that was of significance to the musicians of the time, the distinc-
tion that served to separate Dorian from Hypomixolydian melodically. It is no doubt
for this reason that they also insisted on defining the modes by their inner division into
fourths and fifths, rather than just relying on the octave scales. It is a truly different way
of hearing this music.
Another classification of the modes was made on the basis of whether the fourth
was above or below the fifth. Those with the fourth above the fifth were said to divide
the octave harmonically and were called Authentic. Those with the fourth below the
fifth were said to divide the octave arithmetically and were called Plagal.
As mentioned before, theorists at times discussed psalm tones and modes in the
same chapter because they were perceived to have similar functions, albeit for different
categories of music. This is clearly expressed by Sancta Maria when he writes:

gravissimo ascendente per gradi d’una Ottava; . . . . la seconda Ottava incomincierà da B mi. per . B fa
 mi gravissimo, ascendente per una Ottava, fin à B fa b mi. grave, con la seconda quarta, posta sotto la
seconda quinta, & formerà la seconda Ottava: la terza Ottava si formerà con la terza & ultima quarta, e
con la terza quinta, incominciando da C fa ut ascendente, per otto voci, fin à C sol fa ut, con la detta
quarta sotto la sopra detta quinta, & formerà la terza Ottava, nel modo che sono state formate l’altre
sopra dette: la quarta Ottava si formerà della quarta quinta, & perche nell’ordine delle quarte & delle
quinte si ritrovano se non tre quarte, & quattro quinte: è necessario ritornare à torre le quarte ante
dette, & porre quelle sopra le quinte, & formare l’altre ottave: et volendo formare la quarta Ottava, si
riporrà la prima quarta, sopra la prima quinta, & si formerà la quarta Ottava, incominciando da D sol
re. ascendente per gradi, di voci fin à D la sol re. la quinta Ottava sarà formata della seconda quinta, &
della seconda quarta, posta sopra la quinta, incominciando da E la mi. grave, ascendente per otto voci,
fin à E la mi. acuto; & con questo modo si ritroverà formata la quinta Ottava: la sesta Ottava si formerà
della terza quinta, & della terza quarta, sopra posta alla quinta con l’ordine sopra detto, & formeranno
la sesta Ottava, incominciando da F fa ut grave ascendente per otto voci, ad F fa ut. acuto: la settima &
ultima Ottava è la più alta, & sarà formata dalla quarta quinta, che ha il suo principio in G sol re ut, &
ritornerà à torre la prima quarta & di sopra sè posta.” Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 43v-44, in the
translation, pp. 138–39.
94 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 6.4. Example of Dorian, from Nicola Vicentino, Musica antica ridotta alla moderna prattica,
Rome, 1555, fol. 44v.

fig 6.5. Example of Hypomixolydian, from Nicola Vicentino, Musica antica ridotta alla moderna
prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 46.

For a fundamental understanding of the second feature by which the modes are dis-
tinguished [the first was by their fourth-fifth structure], namely, their cadences, we
must be aware that the modes are played in two ways. One is according to the natural
properties possessed by each mode, and it is these that we must constantly maintain,
imitate, and pursue, for in these we find the proper tonal successions and cadences of
each of the eight modes, and in conformity to these all compositions are made.
The other way [of playing the modes] is in accordance with the psalm-tone
pertaining to each mode, which serves only for playing psalms, hymns, and canti-
cles in the Church.9

Thus the modes not only served as a form of melodic distinction, each was also
associated with a set of cadential points normal for the mode that were similar to but
not identical with those of the affiliated psalm-tone. Although the cadence points were
not identical, those of the psalm-tones, as well as their recitation tones, none the less
had an influence on the modal cadential points actually employed in practice.
The recitation tones were on the fifth in Dorian, Lydian, and Mixolydian, and on
the third in Hypodorian and Hypolydian. This placement of the recitation tone on the
fifth in Authentic modes and on the third in Plagal ones was not maintained in the
remaining modes, probably largely due to the perceived instability of the b, with its
tendency to move upward to the c and perceived tritonal relationship with f. Thus in

9
“Para fundamento & intelligencia dela segunda cosa, en que los tonos se conoscen, que es en sus
Clausula, se ha de presuponer, que los tonos se tañen de dos maneras. La una es conforme a la
propriedad y naturaleza que cada tono tiene, y esto es lo que hemos siempre de guardar, imitar, y seguir,
porque en estos se hallan las verdaderas Sequencias y Clausulas de todos los ocho tonos generales, y assi
conforme a estos se hazen todas las composturas.
La otra manera, es conforme al seculorum, que cada tono tiene, lo qual sirve solamente, para tañer
en la yglesia, Psalmos, hymnos, y canticos.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de taner Fantasia, fol. 62v,
in the translation, p. 172.
95 Mode

Phrygian, for example, the recitation tone is c,’ in Hypophrygian on a, and in


Hypomixolydian on c.’ As one will see, these notes serve practically as significant
cadential centers in polyphonic works in these modes.
In many sources the cadential points of the modes were simply stated to be that of
the octave, fifth and at times the third. But once again, as with the psalm-tones, there
are exceptions, primarily due to the fact that the interval b-f was forbidden. And here,
too, there were shifts similar to those found with the recitation tones. In this connec-
tion, those theorists who deal with music pragmatically, as it was really written, such as
Vicentino, Pontio, and Cerone, are of particular interest, as they testify as to how musi-
cians of the day perceived these structural factors.
For example, all three of these theorists mention cadence points called peregrinae,
which were understood to be foreign to the mode. Theorists often counseled beginners
to avoid peregrinae cadences, saying that they were something for experienced com-
posers who knew how to lead up to them in ways that did not offend the ears, and also
how to get back from them. For example, Dressler in his treatise for novice composers
writes:

Principal cadences and secondary ones are inserted without danger, but foreign
ones, just as they are scarcely unpleasant if employed at the right time, greatly dis-
turb the sense of hearing when they are used unseasonably. In these matters there-
fore, as in others, let practical experience provide encouragement.10

The fact that he writes that the ear is disturbed by cadences foreign to the mode when
they are used inopportunely is a very strong statement. Thus we can assume that the
musicians of the time could distinguish between the various kinds of cadences, knew
which ones were appropriate and common to each mode, whether they were regular or
irregular. As performers we need to develop this ability, as this knowledge will help us
understand the structure of the music. In addition peregrinae cadences were used fre-
quently as a device to give expression to the text. In these cases it is necessary to bring
out their “foreign” quality, through articulation, timbre, and timing to make it pal-
pable. Thus it is not only important to learn to distinguish between different degrees
of completion within cadences, but we also need to learn to appreciate the relationship
between tonal areas within the modes themselves.
Further—also in reference to antique authors—the theorists attributed affective
qualities to each mode.11 When composing, one was expected first to choose the mode
in accordance with the text to be set. What makes it difficult for us today to compre-
hend what was meant by this instruction is the seemingly disparate nature of the

10
“Principales Clausulae et minus principales sine periculo inseruntur, sed peregrinae ut sunt
haud ingratae in tempore adhibitae ita maxime turbant auditum, cum intempestive usurpantur in his
igitur ut in alijs usus consoletur.” Gallus Dressler, Praecepta musicae Poëticae, edited and translated by
Robert Forgács, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007), pp. 178–79.
11
See Bernhard Meier, Tonarten, and “Rhetorical aspects of the Renaissance Modes,” Journal of the
Royal Musical Association 115:2 (1990), pp. 182–190.
96 the performance of 16th-century music

attributes associated with a single mode. The scholastic tradition of learning required
that one first enumerate what everybody else had written, and then state what one
thinks oneself, without necessarily speaking of the contradictions between an older
(unknown antique and only partially understood) practice and the contemporary
musical scene.12 An extravagant example of this in regard to modes can be found in
Johann Andreas Herbst’s Musica poetica sive compendium melopoeticum (Nuremberg
1643)—a late source, being a translation of Schonleder’s Architectonice musices univer-
salis of 1631, but one very much in line with all of the 16th century ones—when he
describes the characteristics of Phrygian:

Phrygian, the third mode, is angry and bitter by nature, and a martial mode, heroic,
religious and sorrowful. Bitter and hard words are suited to the mode, conflict,
mockery, repugnance and similar [topics]; in our time this mode is so inherently
pleasant that it moves greatly, and one hears it gladly. Therefore one particularly
uses it for prayers, songs of solace and funereal songs in which one commends a
brave man’s death and upholds it.13

Instead of completely disregarding the possibility of an individual mode having a


consistent affective content—on the basis of definitions of this sort, which contain ele-
ments diametrically opposed to one another—it would seem to make more sense to
examine how a composer (or composers) in a specific place and time used modes to give
affective expression to a text. On the basis of this, an expanding understanding of the
affective significance of mode in the 16th century could arise, in which the actual practice
was brought into increasingly into connection with the writing of the theorists.
For example, if one examines the descriptions of Lydian in the appendix of Modal
Characteristics, one notices that for the most part the theorists write that it is a pleas-
ant mode. For example, Stephaneus Vanneus writes that the mode “when sung brings
delight, moderation, and joy, relieves the soul of every trouble, and matters that con-
cern victory particularly become this mode; hence it is deservedly called jocund,
moderate, and delightful”; Vicentino says that it is “cheerful and lively” and Sweelinck
that it is “particularly pleasurable to sing.”14 But two of the theorists, Nucius and

12
See Claude V. Palisca, “Mode Ethos in the Renaissance,” in Essays in Musicology, ed. by Lewis
Lockwood and Edward Roesner, American Musicological Society (1990): 126–39, and Bonnie
J. Blackburn “A Lost Guide to Tinctoris’s Teachings Recovered,” Early Music History 1 (1981), pp. 61–63,
for a discussion of the discrepancies between ancient and Renaissance understanding of the modes.
13
“Phrygius der dritte Modus ist von Natur Zornig und Saurzapffig: Und ein Martialischer Tonus,
Heroisch / Religiosisch und Leydmütig. Es schicken sich zu diesem Modo saure und harte Wort / Streit /
Verlachung / widerwillen und dergleichen: Zu dieser unserer Zeit hat dieser Modus eine solche Liebligkeit
in sich / dab er über die massen wundersam beweget / und den man auch gerne höret: Derohalben
gebraucht man ihn sonderlich in Gebeten / Trostliedern und Grabgesängen / darinn man eines tapffern
Manns abgang commendiret und heraub streicht.” Johann Adreas Herbst, Musica poetica, p. 103.
14
“cantando delectationem, Modestiam, Laetitiam affert, animumque ab omni solicitudine levat,
eiusdem qualitatis verba, & Victoriam continentia, plurimum hunc decent tonum, hinc merito iocun-
dus, Modestus, ac delectabilis vocatur.” Stephaneus Vanneus, Recanetum de musica aurea, (Rome:
Valerius Doricus, 1533; facsimile, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1959), 92v; in the translation, p. 375. “Superbo &
97 Mode

Herbst, speak of the mode being severe, hard, harsh, and threatening. What at first
seems contradictory becomes comprehensible if one looks at the staff signature the
individual theorists associate with the mode. It then becomes obvious that Nucius and
Herbst are speaking of a different intervallic structure than Vanneus, Vicentino, and
Sweelinck. As they base their theory on a twelve-mode system, their fifth mode has no
flat. Vanneus, Vicentino, and Sweelinck on the other hand, very much practical musi-
cians imbued with a traditional understanding of the modes, understood Lydian to be
an F mode with a flat in the staff signature. And as F modes without a flat in the staff
signature inherently have to deal with the tritone between f and b—at a time when this
was perceived as an extraordinarily harsh and dissonant interval—they were consid-
ered to be severe and threatening, whereas those with a flat in the staff signature were
found to be cheerful and pleasurable to sing. This is an obvious example of the necessity
of a highly differentiated approach to the material.
The fact that some theorists did indeed consider the affect of a mode to be of pri-
mary importance in composition may be seen in Zarlino’s description of how to com-
pose a motet:

I would say, then, that whenever a musician proposes to compose a motet, mad-
rigal, or any other kind of vocal music, he should first consider the subject matter,
that is, the given words, and then choose the mode suitable to the nature of these
words. Having done this, he should take care that the tenor proceeds regularly
through the notes of the mode and makes cadences where the completion of the
meaning and the end of the sentences of the text demand. Above all he should seek
with all diligence to make the tenor (on which the composition is usually based)
regulated and beautiful, graceful and full of sweetness, so that it becomes the sinew
and bond for all the voices of the composition.
The voices should be joined in such a way that if the tenor occupies the
notes of an authentic mode, the bass ought to embrace the notes of the plagal, and
vice versa. And even if the tenor goes up or down beyond the notes of the diapason
which contains the mode by one or two steps, this would be of little import; for
musicians do not worry whether the tenor and the other parts of their composi-
tions are perfect, imperfect, or overabundant, provided that the parts are well
suited to the melodic line and make good harmony. It would be good if each of the
parts did not exceed eight notes and remained confined within the notes of its dia-
pason. But parts do exceed eight notes, and it sometimes turns out to be of great
convenience to the composer, and thus we shall ascribe this practice to a certain
license and not to the perfection of the thing.
The mode in which a composition is written is established in the tenor, and
the parts (as I have said) should be so arranged that if the tenor occupies the notes

allegro,” Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 45v; in the translation, p. 143. “Besonders lustig zu
singen,” Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, transcribed by Robert Eitner, “Über die acht, respektive zwölf
Tonarten und über den Gebrauch der Versetzungszeichen im VI. und XVII. Jahrhunderte nach Joh.
Peter Sweelinck,” Monatshefte für Musik-Geschichte 3 (1871), p. 145.
98 the performance of 16th-century music

of an authentic mode, the bass will contain the notes of the collateral, or plagal,
mode. And vice versa, if the tenor occupies the notes of a plagal mode, the bass
ought to contain the authentic mode. When the tenor and bass are so arranged, the
other parts will be accommodated in the best way, without any inconvenience to
the composition.15

From this one learns that the composer was first expected to choose the mode
based on the text and then to construct a beautiful tenor. Thus the tenor and its mode
became the foundation for the entire composition. Indeed, my experience has shown
that often when a polyphonic work just does not seem to want to come together in a
rehearsal, it is suddenly transformed when everybody orients themselves on the tenor
rather than on the top or the bottom part. Zarlino further expounds on the other
voices, saying that if the tenor was in the authentic mode, the bass was usually in the
parallel plagal mode and vice versa. Going further than this passage, one can say that
the soprano voice was usually in the same mode as the tenor, the alto in the same mode
as the bass.
It is just this fact that led to another minor aspect of modal distinction. As ledger
lines were avoided in the notation of the time, each mode tended to be notated in a clef
that enabled the melody to appear without them. Together with the regular distribu-
tion of parallel authentic and plagal modes in four-part music of the time, certain
modes came to be associated with a specific set of clefs.

15
“Dico adunque, che qualunque volta il Musico havrà proposto di comporre alcuno Motetto,
o Madrigale, overo qualunque altra sorte di cantilena; considerato prima la materia, cioè le Parole
soggette; debbe dipoi eleggere il Modo conveniente alla loro natura. Il che fatto osservarà, che’l suo
Tenore procedi regolatamente modulando per le chorde di quel Modo, facendo le sue Cadenze, secondo
che ricerca la perfettione della Oratione, & il fine delli suoi Periodi. Et sopra il tutto debbe cercare con
ogni diligenza di fare, che tal Tenore sia tanto più regolato, & bello; leggiardro, et pieno di soavità;
quanto più, che la cantilena si suol fondare sopra di lui; accioche venga ad essere il nervo, & il legame
di tutte le sue parti; lequali debbeno essere unite insieme in tal maniera, & in tal modo congiunte; che
occupando il Tenore le chorde di alcun Modo authentico, o Plagale; il Basso sia quello, che abbraccia le
chorde del suo compagno. Et se bene il Tenore trappassasse oltra le chorde della Diapason continenti il
Modo nel grave, o nell’acuto per una chorda, over per due questo importarebbe poco: Imperoche
li Musici non curano, che li Tenori, & le altre parti de i lor Modi siano perfetti, overo imperfetti,
o soprabondanti; pur che le parti siano commodate bene alla modulàtione, di maniera che facino
buona harmonia. Sarebbe bene il dovere, che ciascuna di esse non passasse più di otto chorde, & stesse
raccolta nelle chorde della sua Diapason: ma perche si passa più oltra, & torna alle volte commodo
grandemente alli Compositori; però questo attribuiremo più presto ad una certa licenza, che si pigliano,
che alla perfettione della cosa. Ma veramente le parti debbeno essere ordinate in tal maniera, che
fondando il Modo, sopra ilquale si compone la cantilena, nel Tenore; se’l Modo occuparà in tal parte le
chorde dell’ Autentico; come hò detto; il Basso contenghi nelle sue il Modo collaterale, o plagale. Cosi
per il contrario, se’l Tenore occuparà nelle sue chorde il Modo plagale; il Basso venghi a contenere
l’Autentico; di maniera, che quando saranno collocate in tal modo, l’altre poi si accommodaranno
ottimamente, senza alcuno incommodo della cantilena.” Gioseffo Zarlino, Le Istitutioni harmoniche,
Libro Quatro, pp. 337–38, translated by Vered Cohen and edited by Claude V. Palisca as On the Modes:
Part Four of Le Istitutioni Harmoniche, 1558, New Haven, 1983, p. 92.
99 Mode

And finally, associated with this last point, the music was expected to fit within the
gamut. In four-part writing, however, the tessitura of certain modes becomes very
high, in others low. To stay within the gamut, in which of course b-flat was present, the
mode could be transposed down a fifth or up a fourth. Thus each mode became linked
with a transposed flat mode with b-flat. Indeed, in some cases, such as g-hypodorian,
the transposed mode was more prevalent than the original.

DETERMINATION OF THE MODE


Given all of these various factors then, how does one go about determining the mode
of a specific piece? There is a relative simple procedure one can follow, based on certain
basic features described by theorists.
First of all, you need to determine whether the mode is transposed or not (i.e.
whether there is a flat in the staff signature). Then you examine the tenor and deter-
mine its mode on the basis of its ambitus, final, and its melodic contours (i.e. its
fourth-fifth structure) as schematically represented in Figure 6.6. Unfortunately, one
cannot always make a firm decision on the basis of this information. Sometimes the

fig 6.6. The fifth and fourth structures of the modes in their respective octaves.
100 the performance of 16th-century music

tenor’s ambitus is so small that one cannot definitively decide whether the mode is
plagal or authentic; sometimes the ambitus is so large that it is also difficult to say
whether the melody is plagal or authentic. There it often helps to look at the other
voices, investigating whether they are plagal or authentic. As the tenor and soprano are
usually in the same mode, and the alto and bass in the associated parallel mode, one
can sometimes make inferences concerning the tenor based on the structure of the
other parts and thus determine the mode of the piece. In this regard it is also valuable
to look at the cadences to see whether they are ones more likely associated with the
authentic or plagal form of the mode. And finally the affective content of the piece and
cleffing can be used as further factors in determining the mode.
If you are still unsure about the mode of the piece, it may well be that it does not
remain in the same mode during the entire piece, that some section may be composed in
a different mode than the rest. Examining the entire piece and looking at the melodic and
cadence structure of individual parts or phrases may get you further. If there are indeed
sections in different modes, it is then valuable to investigate whether the composer chose
to leave the mode for contrapuntal reasons or in order to bring out some aspect of the
text, as good composers usually made use of such escapades for a purpose.
The appendix on Modal Characteristics is designed to help in making these modal
determinations. It contains the following material for each mode:

1. A selection of short melodies deemed characteristic of the mode by various


theorists.
2. A short passage from Vicentino illustrating possible cadential points.
3. A list of cadential points suggested for the mode according to various theorists.
4. A selection of descriptions of the mode’s affective characteristics by various
theorists.
5. The cleffing attributed to the mode by the various theorists.

By examining each piece one performs in light of these criteria, one will gradually form
both a general picture of the use of each mode, as well as slowly be able to begin to
distinguish the specific use of mode made by each individual composer. Unusual
features in the employment of the modes will also become discernible. As it is often
just these anomalies that are used as expressive devices, their recognition can help in
creating a moving interpretation of the music.16
In conclusion, it is fair to say that in spite of all of the vagaries associated with the
theoretical expositions on modes, theorists were unanimous in their belief that a
knowledge of modes is necessary for an understanding of music, whether it be for
composition, performance, or improvisation. Sancta Maria speaking of improvisation
writes:

16
I suggest to my students that they create folders for each mode, in which they gradually assemble
a selection of works in which the use of the mode can be compared. Over time an understanding of the
modes will develop.
101 Mode

It is so essential for performers to understand this material on the eight modes,


natural as well as accidental [i.e., transposed], and to know how to apply it to
music, that it is impossible for anyone deficient in it to play without making great
errors, violating the mode at every step, and wandering over mistaken byways that
cause grave offense to the ear. As a remedy for this, it behooves each person to
practice this material until he makes himself proficient in it, so that he may know
how to maintain one of the greatest and most essential skills existing in music, that
of imparting to each mode its properness and naturalness.17

The fact that an understanding of mode was considered to be of such great impor-
tance suggests that we as performers today also should be focusing more attention on
mode, and how it served as a constructive, generative factor in the music, as by doing
so we will be expanding our understanding of the music and thus our ability to com-
municate with an audience.

17
“Esta materia de los ocho tonos generales, assi naturales como accidentales, es tan necessario que
los tañedores la entiendan y sepan poner por obra, que sin ello es impossible ninguno tañer, sin hazer
grandes defectos, saliendo a cada passo del tono, y andando peregrinando por caminos errados, con lo
qual gravemente se offenden los oydos, para cuyo remedio conviene que cada uno se exercite en esta
materia, hasta hazerse diestro en ella, Para saber guardar uno de los mayores y mas necessarios pri-
mores que ay en la Musica, que es dar a cada tono su propriedad y naturaleza, y por esta razon, parescio
ser cosa conveniente, y necessaria tratar aqui todo lo pertenesciente a esta materia.” Sancta Maria, Libro
llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia, book 1, fol. 60, in the translation p. 163. I changed the last three words of
the translation from “natural properties” to “properness and naturalness.”
7
the rhetoric of counterpoint

In this chapter we will be investigating the role of eloquence, of the expression of affect
in the 16th century. Although this something that we associate with later baroque
periods, there is abundant evidence for the 16th century that all musicians, singers or
instrumentalists, were expected to perform in a dramatic, speaking manner. Early in
the 16th century it was realized that certain aspects of rhetoric could be applied to
music, in that—just like an oration—it was written to move an audience. In the
previous chapters we have looked at some of the basic musical elements of 16th-century
polyphony, such as the structural interplay of the lines as reflected in the inherent qual-
ities of the solmization syllables and in the modes with their associated cadential points
and affects. What we will be pursuing here is how these elements were utilized to
convey the meaning of the text. In this context we will be examining the only known
contemporary analysis of a musical work from the 16th century in terms of rhetorical
figures. This method of analysis can then be used as a means of understanding the
structure of the music we ourselves perform, so that it too can begin to speak as dra-
matically as it did in former times.

EXPRESSION IN PERFORMANCE
We commonly assume that understanding the text was of lesser importance in
16th-century music than in later eras: the text underlay is less precise; each voice brings
its own text independently from the others; the Council of Trent reacted to complaints
that the words could not be understood in polyphonic music, and so on. But do we not
complain of similar things today, that we cannot understand what certain singers are
singing because their diction is poor or because they are singing a language they do not
understand? Would this cause us today to assume that the singers did not care whether
they were understood or not?

102
103 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

Be that as it may, the following quotations will show that already at the beginning
of the 16th century the eloquent expression of the text was of great importance to musi-
cians.1 In 1504, Vincenzo Calmeta, the biographer of the great poet and improviser
Aquilano Serafino, wrote that “in the recitation of his poems he was so ardent and he
joined the words with the music with such judgment that the souls of the listeners—
whether scholars, mediocre, plebian, or women—were equally moved.”2 And similar to
Claudio Monteverdi a century later, who in the words of his brother Giulio Cesare said
that it had “been his intention to make the words the mistress of the harmony and not
the servant,”3 Calmeta further claimed that those singers

. . . . exercised excellent judgment who, when singing put all their energy into
expressing the words well when they are of substance; and they make the music
accompany them in such a way that they are the masters accompanied by servants
in order to appear more honorable, not creating the affects and the meaning from
the music, but the music from the sentences and the affects.4

That this was not only expected of singers, but also of instrumentalists is revealed
in various excerpts from Silvestro Ganassi. In his tutor for the viol, Regola Rubertina
(Venice, 1542), he required that one use all the means available to bring the text alive,
comparing the musician to an orator:

With words and music in a happy vein or in a sad one, one must draw the bow either
strongly or lightly, according to the mood; sometimes it should be drawn neither
strongly nor lightly, but moderately, if that is what the words suggest. With sad music,
the bow should be drawn lightly and at times, one even should make the bowing arm
tremble [vibrato?] and do the same thing on the fingerboard to achieve the necessary
effect. The opposite can be done with the bow in music of a happy nature, by using
pressure on the bow in proportion to the music. In this manner, you will see how to
make the required motions and thereby give spirit to the instrument in proper
proportion to every kind of music. . . . What I have said has as much purpose and

1
I would like to thank Paul O’Dette here for his immense generosity of allowing me to plunder his
treasure trove of quotations concerning eloquence in this period, which so enliven the following section.
2
“Nel recitare de’ suoi poemi era tanto ardente e con tanto giuditio le parole con la musica conser-
tava che l’animo de li ascoltanti o dotti, o mediocri, o plebei, o donne equalmente commoveva.”
Vincenzo Calmeta, Vita del facondo poeta volgare Serafino Aquilano, in Vincenzo Calmeta (1504), Prose
e lettere edite e inedite, ed. Cecil Grayson, Commissione per i testi di lingua 121 (Bologna, 1959), p. 75.
3
“la sua intentione è stata. . . . di far che l’oratione sia padrona del armonia à non serva.” Facsimile
at end of Claudio Monteverdi, Canzonette a tre voci: libro primo; Scherzi musicali, ed. Gian Francesco
Malipiero, Tutte le opere di Claudio Monteverdi, vol. 10, (Vienna: Universal Edition, 1954–68); transla-
tion by Oliver Strunk, Source Readings, p. 46.
4
“Così medesimamente sono da essere essi stimati di sommo giudicio coloro che cantando
mettono tutto lo sforzo in esprimer ben le parole, quando sono di sustanza, e fanno che la musica le
accompagna con quel modo che sono i padroni da’ servidori accompagnati, per poter più onorevol-
mente comparire, facendo non gli affetti e le sentenze della musica, ma la musica delle sentenze e degli
affetti. . . .” Vincenzo Calmeta, Prose e lettere edite e inedite, p. 75.
104 the performance of 16th-century music

necessity for a viol player as for an orator, who must be bold enough to express
shouts, to make gestures and movements at times, to imitate laughing and crying or
to do whatever else seems appropriate, according to the theme. If my reasoning is
correct, you will find that the orator does not laugh while uttering tearful words. By
the same token, the performer of music in a happy vein will not bow his head or use
other movements suggesting sadness, because that would not be an artistic rendering
of nature. Instead, it would be a denigration of the true purpose of art.5

And in his instruction manual for the recorder La Fontegara (Venice, 1535), he compares
the expressive colors of the human voice with the hues used by artists in painting:

. . . just as the worthy and perfect painter imitates everything created by nature by
varying his colors, you can imitate the utterances of the human voice with a wind or a
stringed instrument. And as if it were real, the painter imitates the effects of nature
with various colors and this because [nature] produces various colors. Similarly the
human voice is also varied according to its pipe [air tube] with more or less boldness
and with various [modes of] expression. And if the painter imitates the effects of
nature with various colors, the instrument should imitate the expression of the human
voice by accordingly dosing the air and [imitate] the darkening of the tongue by means
of the teeth. And I have made the experience and heard of other players who have
made the words of the [music] understood with their playing, so that one could have
easily said that nothing was lacking from that instrument other than the form of
the human body, just as one says of the fine painting that only the breath is lacking.6

5
“Cosi nelle parole over musica allegra come parole e musica mesta, & hai da calcar l’arco forte: e
pian e tal volta ne forte ne pian cioe mediocramente come sera alle parole, e musica mesta operare
l’archetto con leggiadro modo, & alle fiate tremar il braccio de l’archetto, e le dita de la mano del
manico per far l’effetto conforme all musica mesta & afflitta il contrario puoi debbe operar con ditto
archetto, che è alla musica allegra calcar l’arco con modo proportionato a tal musica, & a questo modo
verrai a far la moventia & con dar il spirito all’istromento con proportione conforme ad ogni sorte di
musica.” Silvestro Ganassi, Regola Rubertina, (Venice, 1542; facsimile, Bologna: Forni Editore, 1970),
chap. 2; translation by Richard D. Bodig, “Ganassi’s Regola Rubertina,” Journal of the Viola Da Gamba
Society of America 18 (1981), p. 18.
6
“come tutti li instrumenti musicali sono rispetto & comparatione ala voce humana mancho
degni per tanto noi si afforzeremo da quella imparare & imitarla; onde tu potresti dire come sara pos-
sibile conciosia cosa che essa proferisce ogni parlare dil che non credo che dito flauto mai sia simile ad
essa humana voce & io te rispondo che cosi come il degno & perfetto dipintor imita ogni cosa creata
ala natura con la variation di colori cosi con tale instrumento di fiato & corde potrai imitare el proferire
che fa la humana voce; & che il sia la verita il dipintor imita li effetti dela natura con li varii colori &
questo perche la produse varii colori il simile la voce humana anchora essa varia con la tuba sua con
più e manco audacia & con varii proferiri: & si il dipintore imita li effetti de natura con varii colori lo
instrumento imitera il proferir della humana voce con la proportion del fiato & offuscation della lingua
con lo agiuto de de[n]ti & di questo ne o fatto esperientia & audito da altri sonatori farsi intendere con
il suo sonar le parole di essa cosa che si poteva ben dire a quello instrumento non mancarli altro che la
forma dil corpo humano si come si dice ala pintura ben fatta non mancarli solum il fiato: si che haveti
a essere certi del suo termine per dite rason de poter imitar il parlar.” Silvestro Ganassi, La Fontegara,
(Venice, 1535; facsimile, Bologna: Forni Editore, 1980), chap. 1.
105 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

We know from the putative description of Francesco da Milano how powerful lute
playing could be. This is reinforced by the pitying remark of the lutenist Vincenzo
Galilei concerning keyboard players,

. . . . all of whom, not by failure of their art and knowledge but by the nature of the
[keyboard] instrument, have not been able, cannot, and never will be able to
express the harmonies for affetti like durezza, mollezza, asprezza, dolcezza, conse-
quently the cries, laments, shrieks, tears, and finally quietude and rage—with so
much grace and skill as excellent players do on the lute. . . . 7

All of this leads us to the conclusion that a great degree of expressivity was
demanded of the musicians of the time. That this was not solely limited to musical
aspects of a performance, but extended to visual ones as well, such as body language
and gestures, is also frequently mentioned. Ganassi’s interest in eloquence once again
comes to the fore here when he writes for viol players:

Your motions should be proportioned to the music and to the word setting.
Whenever the music is set to words, the limbs of one’s body must move accord-
ingly. Furthermore, there should be appropriate movements of one’s eyes, hair,
mouth and chin; the neck should be inclined more or less toward the shoulders
according to the mood suggested by the words.8

As we have seen, all musicians, but particularly singers, were expected to deliver
performances much as orators did, seeking to move their audiences with their delivery
of the text. An anonymous account of the performance of the tragedy Alidoro in Reggio
1568 in honor of Barbara of Austria, Duchess of Ferrara, speaks of the leading female
singer who with a

. . . . most mellifluous voice. . . . had a natural talent for acting ruled by art. . . . And all
the time she was singing, her gestures and movements and the expression on her
face and in her eyes corresponded exactly to the various conceits with which she so

7
“i quali tutti non per diffetto del Arte & saper loro ma della natura dello strumento, non hanno
possuto, non possano, ne potranno mai, esprimere gli affetti delle Armonie come la durezza,
mollezza, asprezza, & dolcezza; & consequentemente i gridi, i lamenti, gli stridi, i pianti, & ultimam-
ente la quiete e l’furore, con tanta gratia, & maraviglia, come gli Eccellenti Sonatori nel Liuto
fanno. . . .” Vincenzo Galilei, Fronimo, 2nd ed. (Venice: l’Herede di Girolamo Scotto, 1584), p. 51;
translation by Carol MacClintock, Musicological Studies & Documents 39, (Neuhausen-Stuttgart:
Hänssler-Verlag, 1985), p. 87.
8
“il movere suo sera proportionato alla musica ben formata su le parole, dove se la musica sera
mistevole per parole tal ancora gli membri fara la sua moventia conforme, e l’ochio come principal in
giustificar la conforme moventia sera compagnato dal peio [pelo] e bocca, e mento della faccia & il
collo appressatti alla spalla piu e manco secondo il bisogno a simile suggietto formato a tal parole.”
Silvestro Ganassi, Regola Rubertina, chap. 2; in the translation, p. 18.
106 the performance of 16th-century music

subtly beguiled us that she made everyone fear and hope and feel joy and sadness
by turn as seemed to her most fitting.9

Her entire activity on stage was devoted to communicating the affects of the music.
Emilio de’ Calvalieri—in reference to his composition, Rappresentazione di anima
e di corpo—speaks more generally of the demands placed on the actor/singer in stage
music:

. . . . he should express the words well, so that they may be understood, and accompany
them with gestures and movements, not only of the hands but also with steps that are
efficacious aids in moving the affections. . . . The theater or hall, in order to be appro-
priate for such a performance of music, should not seat more than 1000 persons, who
should be comfortably seated for greater silence and their own satisfaction. For if it is
presented in very large halls it is not possible for everybody to hear the words; and the
singer would have to force his voice, which would cause a lessening of the affect; and,
so much music without being able to hear the words becomes tiresome.10

It is of interest to note, that even in a hall that seated 1,000 people, it was expected
that the entire audience be able to understand the text, as this was essential for the
performance. This is a goal that we need to emulate.
And finally, we have Nicola Vicentino’s breathtaking remarks concerning singing in
ensemble or consort. Vicentino was a pupil of Adrian Willaert, the maestro di cappella
in Venice from 1527–62 and probably the most highly respected composer in Italy in
that period. Adrian Willaert was noted, among other things, for his care in the setting
of the text and his attention to the affect expressed by the musical intervals. His
approach was not only a strong influence on Vicentino but also on many other musi-
cians, such as Gioseffo Zarlino and Cipriano de Rore. This implies that Vicentino’s
observations about performance reflect the practice in Venice in the 1540s. In the fol-
lowing passage he speaks of the rhetorical aspects of performance in consort, reiter-
ating what we have learned from the quotations above, namely that the persuasive
performance of the text was of central importance:

9
Quoted in Nino Pirrotta and Nigel Fortune, “Temperaments and Tendencies in the Florentine
Camerata,” Musical Quarterly 40 (1954), p. 186, who in turn took the quotation from Giovanni Crocioni,
L’Alidoro, o dei primordi del melodramma, (Bologna, 1938), pp. 35–39.
10
“che esprima bene le parole, ché siano intese, & le accompagni con gesti & motivi non solamente
di mani, ma di passi ancora, che sono aiuti molto efficaci a muovere l’affetto. . . . o sia teatro overo sala,
quale, per essere proportionata a questa recitatione in musica, non doveria esser capace, al più, che di
mille persone, le quali stessero à sedere commodamente, per maggior silentio e sodisfattione loro; ché,
rappresentandosi in sale molto grandi, non è possibile far sentire a tutti la parola, onde sarebbe neces-
sitato il cantante a forzar la voce, per la qual causa l’affetto scema, e la tanta musica, mancando all’udito
la parola, viene noiosa.” From the preface of Emilio de’ Cavalieri, Rappresentatione dell’anima & del
corpo, (Venice: G.F. Bonfadino, 1601), quoted in Warren Kirkendale, Emilio de’ Cavalieri “Gentiluomo
Romano”: His Life and Letters, his Role as Superintendent of all the Arts at the Medici Court, and his
Musical Compositions, (Florence: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 2001), p. 259.
107 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

Each singer should take care not to make any diminutions when singing lamenta-
tions or other mournful compositions, for then these sad works will seem joyful.
Conversely, he should not sing joyful works sadly, be they in the vernacular or in
Latin. He is also advised that in performing vernacular works, he should sing the
words in keeping with the composer’s intention, so as to leave the audience satis-
fied. He should express the melodic lines, matching the words to their passions—
now joyful, now sad, now gentle, and now cruel—and adhere to the accents and
pronunciation of the words and the notes.11

He then continues on to speak of certain aspects of performance that are otherwise


neglected by the theorists, but clearly could be of great significance for us today, sug-
gesting new ways of approaching this music:

Sometimes a composition is performed according to a certain method that cannot


be written down, such as uttering softly and loudly or fast and slow, or changing
the measure [or tempo] in keeping with the words, so as to show the effects of the
passions and the harmony. This technique of having all the singers at once change
the tempo will not seem strange, provided the ensemble agrees on when the tempo
is to be changed, thus avoiding errors. A composition sung with changes of tempo
is pleasing because of the variety, more so than one that continues on to the end
without any variation of tempo. Experience with this technique will make everyone
secure in it. You will find that in vernacular works the procedure gratifies listeners
more than a persistent changeless tempo. The measure should change according to
the words, now slower and now faster.12

As in basic music tutors today, in the theoretical works one most often reads of the
necessity of maintaining a constant tactus or beat. We will see in the following chapter
that Sancta Maria recommends that beginners learn how to divide the beat cleanly, as

11
“& ogni cantante avvertirà quando canterà, lamentationi, ò altre compositioni meste di non fare
alcuna diminutione, perche le compositioni meste, pareranno allegre; & poi per l’opposito non si dè
cantare mesto, nelle cose allegre così volgari come Latine, & s’avvertirà che nel concertare le cose vol-
gari a voler fare che gl’oditori restino satisfatti, si dè cantare le parole conformi all’oppinione del
Compositore; & con la voce esprimere, quelle intonationi accompagnate dalle parole, con quelle pas-
sioni. Hora allegre, hora meste, & quando soavi, & quando crudeli & con gli accenti adherire alla pro-
nuntia delle parole & delle note.” Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 88 (recte 94)-94v, in the
translation, p. 301.
12
“& qualche volta si usa un certo ordine di procedere, nelle compositioni, che non si può scrivere.
come sono, il dir piano, & forte, & il dir presto, & tardo, & secondo le parole, muovere la Misura, per
dimostrare gli effetti delle passioni delle parole, & dell’armonia, ad alcuno non li parrà cosa strana tal
modo di mutar misura, tutti à un tratto cantando mentre che nel concerto s’intendino, ove si habbi da
mutar misura che non sarà errore alcuno, & la compositione cantata, con la mutatione della misura è
molto gratiata, con quella varieta, che senza variare, & seguire al fine, & l’esperienza di tal modo farà
certo ognuno, però nelle cose volgari si ritroverà che tal procedere piacerà più à gl’oditori, che la misura
continua sempre à un modo, & il moto della misura si dè muovere, secondo le parole, più tardo, & più
presto.” Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 94v, in the translation, p. 301.
108 the performance of 16th-century music

rhythmic problems usually arise mid-tactus. Lodovico Zacconi, too, preaches of the
necessity of keeping a constant beat, of not slowing down for difficult passages and
hurrying up for easier ones.13 This need not, however, be in contradiction to Vicentino’s
statement, whose goal was something entirely different, namely that of creating a
moving performance. He is saying that for the purposes of a more effective presenta-
tion of the text of a piece of music and the passions contained in it, that it is at times
good—particularly in vernacular works—(for skilled musicians) to change the tempo
for certain passages. This seems to imply that he is not referring to rubato in a later
sense, but of real tempo changes from one passage to the next. Considering the over-
lapping lines between the individual sections in polyphonic works, it is not surprising
that he indicates that it is a technique that requires practice to be effective. This could
therefore be one of the techniques used in performance today of making the structure
and intent of this music clear to the audience. Indeed it is possible that this sort of
performance in conjunction with a highly ornamented top voice could have served as
a model for the instrumental canzona with its frequent change of tempo and meter.
He further suggests that one listen to a good orator to gain understanding in how
these techniques should be used to move an audience:

The experience of the orator can be instructive, if you observe the technique he
follows in his oration. For he speaks now loud and now soft, now slow and now
fast, thus greatly moving his listeners. This technique of changing the tempo has
a powerful effect on the soul. For this reason music is sung from memory, so as to
imitate the accents and effects of the parts of an oration. What effect would an
orator have if he were to recite a fine oration without organizing accents, pronun-
ciations, the fast and slow movements and the soft and loud utterances, it would
not move the listeners. The same is true of music. If the orator moves listeners
with the devices described above, how much greater and more powerful will be
the effect of well-coordinated music recited with the same devices, but now
accompanied by harmony.14

Finally Vicentino writes that music should be sung from memory rather than from
written parts, citing preachers and orators as examples, who at that time did not usu-
ally read from a script. Obviously the interaction with the audience, the exchange of
glances, was seen to be an important part of a persuasive performance.

13
Lodovico Zacconi, Prattica di Musica, fol. 76v.
14
“& la experienza, dell’Oratore l’insegna, che si vede il modo che tiene nell’Oratione, che hora
dice forte, & hora piano, & più tardo, & più presto, e con questo muove assai gl’oditori, & questo modo
di muovere la misura, fà effetto assai nell’animo, & per tal ragione si canterà la Musica alla mente per
imitar gli accenti, & effetti delle parti dell’oratione, & che effetto faria l’Oratore che recitasse una bella
oratione senza l’ordine de i suoi accenti, & pronuntie, & moti veloci, & tardi, & con il dir piano & forte
quello non muoveria gl’oditori. Il simile dè essere nella Musica. perche se l’Oratore muove gli oditori
con gl’ordini sopradetti, quanto maggiormente la Musica recitata con i medesimi ordini accompagnati
dall’Armonia, ben unita, farà molto piu effetto.” Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 88v (recte 94v),
in the translation, pp. 301–02.
109 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

It is much more pleasing if music is sung from memory than from written parts.
Take the example of preachers and orators. If they recited their sermons or orations
from a script, they would lose favor and face a dissatisfied audience. For listeners
are greatly moved if glances are matched with musical accents.15

His comparison with preachers and orators demonstrates the extent memorization
practices still held sway in the middle of the 16th century, substantiating the observa-
tions of Mary Carruthers discussed in Chapter 2, and suggest that this is one of the
means we should employing to gain contact with our audience.
These quotations make it eminently clear that throughout the 16th century musicians
were expected to give eloquent expression to the affects contained in the music thereby
moving the audience. It therefore makes sense that theorists began making the association
between classical rhetoric and music, as both oration and music had similar goals.

THE INFLUENCE OF HUMANIST RHETORIC


Today rhetoric in music is most often associated with the rhetorical figures or gestures
(both musical and physical) of the 17th and 18th centuries. Nevertheless, in the course of
the humanist movement in the 15th century, the antique sources on rhetoric were redis-
covered and soon became part of the gentleperson’s basic education. Already in 1531
one of the most influential English educators, Thomas Elyot, wrote the following in
The Governour:

After that xiv. yeres be passed of a childes age, his maister if he can, or some other,
studioslye exercised in the arte of an oratour, shall firste rede to hym some what of
that parte of logike that is called Topica, of Cicero. . . . Immediately after that, the
arte of rhetorike wolde be semblably taught, either in greke, out of Hermogines, or
of Quintilian in latine, begynning at the thirde boke, and instructying diligently
the childe in that parte of rhetorike, principally, whiche concerneth persuasion.16

But what did being persuasive mean in terms of 16th-century music? Perhaps Adrian
Coclico, with his definition of a poet-musician, expresses this best. In his Compendium
musices of 1552 he divides musicians into four different categories. The theorici belonged

15
“& quando la Musica sarà cantata alla mente sarà molto più gratiata, che quando sarà cantata
sopra le carte, & si piglierà l’essempio dalli predicatori, & da gli Oratori, che si recitassero quella predica,
et quella oratione, sopra una carta scritta quelli on havriano ne gratia, ne audienza grata. perche i
sguardi, con gli accenti musicali muoveno assai gli oditori quando sono insieme accompagnati.” Nicola
Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 88v (recte 94v), in the translation, p. 302.
16
As cited in Judy Tarling, The Weapons of Rhetoric, p. 21, an excellent introductory book on
rhetoric for performers. For an overview on rhetoric in relation to music in the 16th century, see Don
Harrán, In Search of Harmony: Hebrew and Humanist Elements in Sixteenth-Century Musical Thought,
Musicological Studies & Documents 42, Neuhausen-Stuttgart: (Hänssler-Verlag, 1988), pp. 137–173. For
an overview on rhetoric in relation to text underlay, see Don Harrán, Word-Tone Relations in Musical
Thought, Neuhausen-Stuttgart: (Hänssler-Verlag, 1986).
110 the performance of 16th-century music

to the first two categories and were either those who laid down the foundations of
music or the mathematicians who were concerned with mensuration and proportions.
The third category, of whom Josquin was considered to be the prime example, was
made up of musici, who were “Those outstanding musicians. . . . who. . . . skillfully and
effectively combine theory and practice, understand the capacities of music and all
powers of composition, truly know how to adorn melodies and express in them all
human affections, and what is most commendable in a musician, aim at [achieving]
the highest elegance.”17 To these skills, the musicians of the highest fourth category, the
poet-musicians, added the ability to present their music eloquently: “They know the
rules of art and compose well themselves. . . . yet direct all rules and all the force of
singing to one end: to sing smoothly, elegantly [ornatè] and artfully in order to delight
and entertain men.”18 So according to Coclico, the complete musician possessed all the
skills of a composer, using them to express all human emotions, and added to them the
ability of being able to perform the pieces in such a way that moved an audience.
Coclico is by no means the only theorist to write of such things; Vicentino, Finck,
Zarlino, Morley, and many others all speak of the need of communicating the affect of
the text, one of the main concerns of rhetoric. Other theorists, particularly from
German humanist circles, such as Gallus Dressler, in 1563 in his Praecepta Musicae
Poeticae, began talking about the structure of a musical piece being similar to that of
an oration. Later Joachim Burmeister expanded on this in his Musica Poetica of 1606
(a revised version of his Musica αυτοσχεδιαστικιη of 1601), as did Johannes Nucius in
his Musices Poeticae sive de Compositione Cantui praeceptiones absolutissimae of 1613, by
publishing lists of musical figures, similar to those found in the rhetorics tutors. Nucius
gives the following explanation for these musical figures:

Just as the painter who paints some pictures always in the same manner or style
does not well earn our praise, but receives our approbation when he paints some
that present singular gestures, a special view, with distinct colors upon which the
spectators’ eyes can feast, so it is with music’s harmony: when it is always the same
and not ornamented with a few flowers, it is not only considered to be unskilled
but also is a source of loathing to the listeners. Thus namely those speeches of ora-
tors are full of grace which are adorned with “lights” of words and sentences19 and
which are varied with figures and tropes (in which—as everybody with even a bit

17
“Musici praestantissimi. . . . qui. . . . theoriam optime et docte cum practica coniungunt, qui can-
tuum virtutes, et omnes compositionum nervos intelligunt, et vere sciunt cantilenas ornare, in ipsis
omnes omnium affectus exprimere, et quod in Musico summum est, et elegantissimum vident.” Adrian
Coclico, Compendium musices, (Nuremberg, 1552: Johann Berg & Ulrich Neuber); facsimile (Kassel:
Bärenreiter, 1954), sig. B iv-ivv; translation in Don Harrán, “Elegance as a Concept in Sixteenth-Century
Music Criticism,” Renaissance Quarterly 41 (1988), p. 434.
18
“Qui. . . . omnia praecepta, omnemque canendi vim eó referunt, ut suaviter, ornaté, et artificiose
canant ad homines oblectandos, et exhilarandos.” Adrian Coclico, Compendium musices, fol. Bivv, as
translated by Don Harrán, “Elegance as a Concept,” p 435. For further discussion of this topic, see Don
Harrán, Word-Tone Relations, pp. 162–64.
19
This makes me think of a text full of blinking Christmas lights.
111 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

of education knows—the enjoyment of every Latin oration lies) and please the
auditors. Thus the musical figures (schemata) adorn and support the elegance of
the music in an unparalleled manner.20

What is fascinating about both of these lists of figures is that they are by no means
restricted to “graces” or “mannerieren” that ornament individual words or melodic lines,
as one would expect from later theorists, such as Christoph Bernhard, but that many of
them deal with structural elements of the compositions. Indeed Burmeister gives sixteen
so-called harmonic figures, six melodic ones and four that can be used for both purposes.
In addition, Burmeister not only provides examples for each of the figures, at the end of
the section he analyzes a motet by Lasso, In me transierunt irae tuae (Music Example 421),
the earliest known analysis of a piece of music. Although Burmeister reveals himself as an
unrelenting pedant in his writings, they none the less seem to offer a singularly construc-
tive approach to the understanding of 16th century polyphony. As Joshua Rifkin writes:

He’s the first writer I know of to try to get a handle on the way real pieces work, in
the sense of going beyond mere grammar (as in traditional contrapuntal theory)
to the actual sounding events (what we would call imitation, homophony, repeti-
tion, and the like). His choice of (borrowed) terminology is, of course, sensible
when seen from this perspective—rhetoric is indeed the analogy to what he is seek-
ing to do. As with “real” rhetoric, of course, the names and, even more, their appli-
cation have nothing to do with “meaning”; but that doesn’t, as I say, make the
enterprise any less interesting (perhaps, in fact, even more).22

And it is just this sense of how “real pieces work” that is of interest, for it is only through
this understanding that we can create eloquent performances. As Judy Tarling in her
book The Weapons of Rhetoric writes, “An effective delivery in the rhetorical style entails
moving the audience’s emotions, and performing in such a way that the speech or
composition can be clearly understood and appreciated without effort.”23 This, of
course, is only possible if the performers have understood the work themselves. In
looking at and beyond Burmeister’s application of terminology in Lasso’s motet, In me

20
“Sicut Pictor eodem habitu ac statu, eodemque colore pingens quascunque imagines tantam non
meretur laudem, ac si singulis singulos gestus, peculiarem vultum, ac distinctos colores, quibus spec-
tantium oculi pascuntur, tribuat. Sic Harmonia Musica, sui perpetuo similis, nec ullis ornata floribus,
non modo indoctior habetur, sed etiam taedium auditoribus incutit. Ut vero econtra Rhetorum ora-
tiones verborum sententiarumque luminibus ornatae ac figuris ac Tropis variate (in bis enim omnis
latini sermonis delicias sitas esse, nemo est, vel mediocriter eruditorum, qui nesciat) gratiosae sunt ac
auditoribus arrident. Sic contentus elegantiam, non parum Musica Schemata ornant atque juvant.”
Johannes Nucius, Musices Poeticae sive de Compositione Cantûs, (Neisse: Crispin Scharfenberg, 1613);
facsimile Leipzig 1976, sig. [F4].
21
This example may also be downloaded in facsimile as well as in the modern transcription on the
website associated with this book.
22
Private communication.
23
Judy Tarling, The Weapons of Rhetoric, p. ii.
112 the performance of 16th-century music

transierunt irae tuae, and investigating the composer’s rhetorical conception of the
piece, we can come to grips with an analytical procedure that is of direct help in gain-
ing the understanding necessary to produce an eloquent and persuasive performance.
One of the fascinating things about Burmeister’s analysis of the piece is that it is so
rudimentary. He merely divides the piece into nine sections—an exordium, seven inner
periods and an epilogue—without specifying where they begin or end. Moreover, as
Claude Palisca pointed out in a footnote to his article on this piece, Lasso divided the

music example 4. Orlando di Lasso, In me transierunt irae tuae, transcribed from Magnum opus
musicum, (Munich: Nicolaus Heinrich, 1604), Nr. 263.
113 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

music example 4. Continued

seven syntactical units—half-verses of psalms—“into eleven segments, each of which


carries its separate musical message and is composed in a different manner.”24 Thus in
trying to apply Burmeister’s analysis to the piece, we are confronted with the task of

24
Claude Palisca, “Ut Oratoria Musica: The Rhetorical Basis of Musical Mannerism,” in The
Meaning of Mannerism, ed. Franklin W. Robinson and Stephen G. Nichols, Jr., (Hanover, NH: University
Press of New England, 1972), pp. 63–64.
114 the performance of 16th-century music

music example 4. Continued

imposing a structure that can neither match that of the text nor that of the music. It is
therefore not surprising that the three musicologists who have written about the piece
up until now have come up with two varying allocations of the segments,25 to which I

25
Claude Palisca, op. cit., pp. 37–67; Martin Ruhnke, Joachim Burmeister: ein Beitrag zur Musiklehre
um 1600, (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1955), pp. 162–166; Gottfried Scholz, “Zur rhetorischen Grundlage von
Joachim Burmeisters Lassus-Analyse: Ein Beitrag zur Frühgeschichte der Musikanalytik,” in Zur
Geschichte der musikalischen Analyse, ed. Gernot Gruber, (Laaber: Laaber-Verlag, 1996), pp. 25–43.
115 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

music example 4. Continued

am now adding a third, not with a sense of being more right than the others, but rather
as an indication of the futility of the endeavor and as an expression of my own under-
standing of the work. The actual subdivision of the piece according to Burmeister is not
that which is significant, but rather the recognition that these basic compositional
devices were used to express the meaning of the text. Our job is then to discover how
Lasso was employing these factors and how we can communicate his intentions in
performance.
116 the performance of 16th-century music

music example 4. Continued

What, then, is the interest in the figures, if we cannot even precisely pinpoint
Burmeister’s references? The interest is twofold. First, he makes it extraordinarily
clear that each individual textual element was to be set in such a way that the text was
expressed eloquently. These elements were set off by cadences. Second, by referring
to rhetorical figures, he implies that these textual entities should be taken into
consideration not only when composing the music, but also when performing it.
117 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

music example 4. Continued

In our analysis, therefore, we need to begin with the text.26 The text is from various
verses of two psalms:

In me transierunt irae tuae


et terrores tui conturbaverunt me (Ps. 88.17)

26
It is perhaps important to reflect upon the fact that Lassus was multilingual: It is not by chance
that we know him under various names, Roland de Lasso, Orlando di Lasso, Orlande de Lassus,
118 the performance of 16th-century music

music example 4. Continued

depending on where he happened to be living at the time. He was born in Mons, in a Franco-Flemish
province around 1532, and about the age of 12 entered the service of Ferrante Gonzaga, a member of the
Mantua ducal house, experiencing Italy first in Mantua and then in Sicily. Following that he served in
Naples and Rome, from whence he traveled to France and England. Thereafter he lived in Antwerp for
a while, perhaps working for Susato, before finally ending up at the court of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria
in 1556, becoming his maestro di cappella in 1563. In Bavaria he established a close relationship with
Albrecht’s heir, Wilhelm, exchanging many letters with him over the course of the years. These letters
are very touching, fascinating, giving us one of the rare personal glimpses of a musician of that era. One
119 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

music example 4. Continued

Cor meum conturbatum est


dereliquit me virtus mea (Ps. 37.11)
Dolor meus in conspectu meo semper (Ps. 37.18)
Non derelinquas me Domine Deus meus
ne discesseris a me. (Ps. 37.23)

Thy wrath hath come upon me:


and thy terrors have troubled me.
My heart is troubled,
my strength hath left me.
My sorrow is continually before me.
Forsake me not, O Lord my God:
do not thou depart from me.

It is clearly the lament of a troubled, unhappy person, turning towards God for relief.
Gottfried Scholz suggests that it probably served as a ceremonious, half-public

of the surprising things about them is that they are written in four different languages, French (the
language of the court), Italian (particularly when he was traveling in Italy), German (Wilhelm’s own
language), and Latin. He makes all sorts of puns, both musical and personal, indicating that—like so
many of the best international musicians today—he was not only competent in many languages, but he
also enjoyed playing with words. Thus we can be sure of the care he would take in setting a text to
music. See Horst Leuchtmann, Orlando di Lasso, (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1976–77).
120 the performance of 16th-century music

precursor to the anointment of the sick at the Bavarian court.27 If one looks at it
more closely, one sees how the first two verses are associated by the verb conturbare,
implying that God’s wrath and the terrors it inspires are troubling the petitioner’s
heart, leaving him full of sorrow. And again the last verse is linked associatively by
the verb derelinquere with the second verse, with the petitioner begging his God not
to leave him, now his strength has left him. This provides a very tight structure for
the motet.
In choosing Phrygian as the mode of the piece, Lasso was following normal affective
practice. Indeed in the fifth book of his Harmonices mundi of 1619 Johannes Kepler
wrote that “a single ascending leap over a soft sixth, with a downward Agoge [or melodic
movement] following, expresses the magnitude of grief, and is suitable for wailing. . . . as
in [the opening of] Orlando’s ‘In me transierunt.’ ”28 He goes further to say that the
prominent semitone in this mode makes it “sound plaintive, broken, and in a sense
lamentable.”29 Apparently he did not feel comfortable with the idea of analyzing this
piece further, as it was “too much for his muscles,” and left that task to “practicing
musicians.” But it does make it clear that this piece was well-known and that for the
audience of the time Lasso has established with the first four notes of the cantus that
this piece is extraordinarily sorrowful.

ANALYSIS
The definitions for the rhetorical figures used by Burmeister in his analysis of the
motet are found in the glossary at the end of the chapter.
The exordium extends to m. 20 and is characterized by the rhetorical figures fuga
realis, imitative writing, and hypallage, in which the soggetto is brought in its inversion.
In this case the soprano starts with the sogetto and is followed by the alto voice with its
inversion, whereby Lasso first inverted the line and then brought the first two notes of
the alto down an octave, thus changing the introductory descending sixth into an
ascending third. For the performer this means that one must consider the best means
to make this suggetto clear, both in structure and affect each time it appears, so that the
plaintive text and compositional structure of the opening verse, In me transierunt irae
tuae, “Thy wrath has come upon me,” are audible. Sancta Maria writes in relation to
practicing written compositions for gaining the skills necessary for improvisation that
“the entrance of each voice is the thing most exquisite, and of the greatest beauty and
artistry of anything in music, and therefore one must give it the greatest attention and
care.”30 The poignancy of the opening is enhanced by the fact that the slight release of

27
Scholz, “Zur rhetorischen Grundlage,” p. 27.
28
Peter Pesic, “Earthly Music and Cosmic Harmony: Johannes Kepler’s Interest in Practical Music,
Especially Orlando di Lasso,” Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music, Vol. 11, No. 1, 3.16 (http://www.
sscm-jscm.org/jscm/v11/n01/pesic.html).
29
Peter Pesic, “Earthly Music,” 3.17.
30
“porque la entrada de cada boz, es la cosa mas dilicada, y de mayor primor y arte que ay en la
Musica.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia, fol. 57v, in the translation, Vol. 1, p. 155.
121 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

tension caused by the descent of a semitone from the opening minor 6th in the cantus
creates a passing clash of a seventh with the alto, giving saliency to the desperate nature
of the petitioner’s situation. This desperation is underlined by the cadence structure of
the section: The first two cadences on G in measures 7 and 10 are evaded, as is the one
in m. 14, by the entry of the cantus that causes a 4–3 dissonance. Although the cadences
on a in measures 12 and 16 are complete, the leap of the minor sixth in the entering
voice occurs just as the moment of cadence, annihilating any possibility of a caesura.
Finally there is an evaded peregrina cadence on F in measure 18 between the alto and
bass, an indication of despair, as it is so far away from the basic mode, just before the
section closes properly in e in measure 20. Lasso employed the cadences here as an
expressive device, carefully selecting the type and frequency in relation to the text, here
as a reflection of the petitioner’s lack of inner peace.
The first section of the body of the motet, set to the text et terrores tui
conturbaverunt me, “and thy terrors have troubled me,” extends to m. 32. Burmeister
writes that it is characterized by hypotyposis, climax and anadiplosis. Lasso divided
this half-psalm verse into two sections musically. The climax is easy to identify: It is
found in the sequential descent of the octave structure between the outer voices in
mm. 21–26. The anadiplosis may be seen at conturbaverunt me, where alternating
groups of voices present the text in faux bourdon. At that time faux bourdon was con-
sidered to be old fashioned, indeed Zarlino writes that it brings “no pleasure to the
ear.”31 The cadences on a at each reiteration of the words are evaded in measures 28,
29, and 31 by the syncopated entrance of a new voice that causes a dissonance of a
fourth at the cadence. And finally the section—instead of concluding on G as one
would expect from the voice leading—is diverted to a plagal cadence on a. It is not
clear where the hypotyposis in this section lies, whether it is in the staggered
syncopated entries at et terrores tui, or in the hollow nature of the octave structure,
or in the disturbing lack of cadences at conturbaverunt me. Perhaps it may be found
in the sum of all of these features.
The rhetorical figures hypotyposis, anadiplosis, climax, and anaphora may be found
in the following section, Cor meum conturbatum est, according to Burmeister. Clearly
important from the point of view of eloquence is the sudden slowing of the rate of
declamation at Cor meum. Also of significance is the g-sharp in m. 33, a major third
from the bass. As Morley writes, “if you would have your music signify hardness,
cruelty, or other such affects you must cause the parts. . . . [to] proceed by . . . sharp
thirds, sharp sixths, and such like. . . . to the base.”32 Thus this application of accidentals
here must be seen as word-painting. As with conturbaverut me, conturbatum est is
presented by alternating groups. Here, too, the lack of real cadences is a reflection of
the lack of inner peace of the petitioner. Note also the rather strange conclusion of the
section.

31
“La onde poco diletto apportano all’udito.” Gioseffo Zarlino, Le Isitutioni harmoniche, Terza
parte, p. 247, in the translation, p. 195.
32
Thomas Morley, A Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Music, ed. by R. Alec Harman, 3rd ed.,
(London: J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1966), p. 290.
122 the performance of 16th-century music

The following section on dereliquit me virtus mea, “my strength hath left me,”
employs hypotyposis and mimesis to express its text. First of all, the cantus begins alone
and then the other voices enter homophonically on a chord on D, bringing the text to
the fore. Here, too, the f-sharp should be taken as a sign of the harshness of the situation,
which then turns to softness, flacidness in m. 43 with the minor third, b-flat, over the
bass. This, together with the slow descent of the outer parts, even to the low E in the
bass in m. 46, contributes to a sensation of the gradual dissipation of the petitioner’s
strength.
The setting of dolor meus, “my sorrow,” makes use of the figures hypotyposis,
mimesis, and pathopoeia. Here the word painting is created by the staggering of the
voices, the straggling entries, and the omnipresent semitone, particularly evident with
the B-flats in measures 48 and 51. All of these combine together to create an atmosphere
of languishing, which receives its final embellishment with the 6–5 resolution in m. 52,
undermining its sense of completion.
Burmeister limits himself to a single figure in the fifth section, a fuga realis, or free
imitation at the words in conspectu meo semper, “is continually before me,” in mm.
52–67. The soggetto that Burmeister is referring to is found first in the alto and second
tenor in parallel thirds. This is a contrapuntal tour de force, as Lasso not only brings it
in parallel thirds on d’ and f ’, but also on e, c’, b, again on c, in parallel thirds on g and
b´, and finally on g. The fact that these entries occur over such a long period of time is
surely a reflection of the text.
With the sixth section the petitioner changes from lamenting his plight to sup-
plicating His Lord not to forsake him. He opens the phrase homophonically with a
noema, so that no one can mistake his desire, and then continues with alternating
groups of voices (anadiplosis), until the upper ones join together again to call upon
the Lord by name in m. 73. The section ends with a full and complete cadence in A
in m. 77.
The shift in harmony by a whole tone in measures 77–78, from A to G, is very
surprising. We are momentarily led away from the more usual Phrygian final har-
monies to a different tonal area at the text ne discesseris a me, “do not depart thou
from me.” Through this momentary departure from the final, complete with a
cadence on G in m. 80, Lasso makes the conclusion, with its return to the mode,
much more emphatic, underlining by means of modal unity, the petitioner’s desired
proximity to his Maker. This is enhanced by the homophonic writing at m. 78, as well
as by the high tessitura, making it impossible to overlook the petitioner’s plea. The
return to the mode is marked by cadences on a in measures 82 and 84, the latter pre-
ceded by one on e between the alto and tenor in m. 83, whereupon the tenor sustains
an e until the end of the piece. The final measures make up the epilogue in which the
principal ending is brought to a complete close with a vacillating of the main har-
monies associated with Phrygian. This return to the fold, the shift up a whole tone,
is emphasized by the similarities in the bass line from mm. 84–86 to the section
between mm. 78–80.
The job of the performing musician is to link all of these short segments, each of
them distinct from all the others in its writing as well as in its contents, into an
123 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

expressive whole. Claude Palisca in his posthumous book wrote that Burmeister, by
giving the figures names, “could elicit from students and readers images of distinc-
tive devices that previously lacked conventional labels and often were not even rec-
ognized as compositional strategies.”33 This is just as true for performers today as it
was for ongoing musicians of the time. The challenge for us today is to look beyond
the notated text, to learn to identify and see these constructive figures as rhetorical
devices, to gradually build up a vocabulary of such features. Using them as a basis,
we can then make the interpretative decisions necessary to present the text vividly—
like Vicentino’s orator—with all the concommitent changes in dynamics, tempo,
articulation, and expression, thereby greatly enhancing the chances of the com-
position “being clearly understood and appreciated without effort” as advocated
by Judy Tarling.

MOTIVICITY
There is another aspect of composition of this period that I link with rhetoric as it
is related to the constructive elements of line that were considered to lend the
greatest ornamental beauty to a piece of music. Joshua Rifkin writes about a
phenomenon that we increasingly encounter in the 1520s and 1530s that he has
called motivicity. This was a technique used by the school of Josquin in which slight
alterations in the linear structure were constantly being made both melodically and
rhythmically, or as Rifkin defines it “the maximum permeation of a polyphonic
complex by a single linear denominator or set of denominators.”34 Earlier he had
likened this stylistic trait to the mosaics of the same period.35 In these the same
motif or pattern was never copied exactly; instead a few tiles were always shifted,
thereby bringing in a slight irregularity to the whole, which was perceived as height-
ening the beauty of the work. Willaert took over this technique from Josquin and
then applied it much more deeply to other elements of compositional style, such as
the choice of intervals of contrapuntal entries, and his complex interweaving of the
voices. Willaert being one of the most—if not the most—famous composers of the
epoch, he was emulated in this by essentially all of his contemporaries. Although
this adornment by variation, unlike other rhetorical devices was not necessarily
directly related to the text, it was nonetheless designed to enhance the beauty and
thus the rhetorical impact of a piece of music, and therefore must be perceived as

33
Claude Palisca, Music and Ideas in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, (Urbana, Illinois
2006), p. 215.
34
Joshua Rifkin, “Miracles, Motivicity, and Mannerism: Adrian Willaert’s Videns Dominus flentes
sorores Lazari and Some Aspects of Motet Composition in the 1520’s,” in Hearing the Motet: Essays on
the Motet of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ed. By Dolores Pesce, (New York: Oxford University Press,
1997), p. 244.
35
Joshua Rifkin, “Motivik—Konstruktion—Humanismus: Zur Motette Huc me sydereo von
Josquin des Prez,” Die Motette, ed. by Herbert Schneider, Neue Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 5 (Mainz:
Schott, 1992), pp. 105–34.
124 the performance of 16th-century music

an intensification or enhancement of the previous melodic unit if we are to do


justice to the work.
Elements of this sort of motivicity are evident throughout Lasso’s motet. For
example in m. 26 ff., each new entry of the text conturbaverunt me is—although in faux
bourdon—varied slightly throughout the voices. While the repetition is audible, it is
never exactly the same. The same is true for the fuga realis at in conspectu meo. Here the
subject is repeated at many different pitch levels, in parallel thirds and alone, all
designed not only to underline the text but also to show Lasso’s compositional
mastery.
Rifkin brings motivicity into relation with mannerism, quoting a passage from
James Haar about the possibility of “a more purely musical mannerism, a technical,
‘painterly’ rather than literary mannerism” in the generation active between 1520 and
1550, writing “Whether we call it manneristic or not, this is music showing a maniera
based on elements of a recognized ars perfecta. . . . The comparison with the self-
conscious elegance, deliberate distortions, and artifice of painters like Pontormo and
Parmigianino seems to me rather a close one.”36 In Plates 7.1 and 7.2, we see paintings
by these artists. In the Virgin and the Child (see Plate 7.1) known as the Madonna del
Libro by Jacopo Carucci (Pontormo), the elongation of the figure of the Madonna,
combined with the intensity of the glances between the two figures, enhances their
emotional closeness. In Plate 7.2 of Amor carving a bow by Francesco Mazzola
(Parmigianini), we see how reality and artifice are interwoven to create the illusion
of a totally realistic figure, complete with the appropriate blushing color of the skin
of Amor and the wrangling of the two putti, but one only existing in the realms of
our imagination.
These can also be examined in light of the following passage in Vasari’s Lives of the
Artists of 1550, which is currently being used as a kind of definition or means of
describing mannerism of this period in painting:

Now the work of Giotto and the other early craftsmen did not possess these qual-
ities. . . . Their drawing, for example, was more correct and truer to nature than
anything done before, as was the way they blended their colours, composed their
figures, and made the other advances I have already discussed. However, although
the artists of the second period made further progress still, they in turn fell short
of complete perfection, since their work lacked that spontaneity which, although
based on correct measurement, goes beyond it without conflicting with order
and stylistic purity. This spontaneity enables the artist to enhance his work by add-
ing innumerable inventive details and, as it were, a pervasive beauty to what is
merely artistically correct. [Italics my own] Again, when it came to proportion the
early craftsmen lacked that visual judgement which, disregarding measurement,
gives the artist’s figures, in due relation to their dimensions, a grace that simply
cannot be measured. They also failed to realize the full potentialities of design;

36
Joshua Rifkin, “Motivik,” p. 253.
125 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

plate 7.1. The Virgin and the Child (see Plate 7.1) known as the Madonna del Libro by Jacopo
Carucci known as Pontormo. (Reproduction by permission of the Yale University Art Gallery,
Maitland F. Griggs, B.A. 1896, Fund).

for example, although their arms were rounded and their legs straight, they
missed the finer points when they depicted the muscles, ignoring the charming
and graceful facility which is suggested rather than revealed in living subjects.
In this respect their figures appeared crude and excoriated, offensive to the eye
and harsh in style. Their style lacked the lightness of touch that makes an artist’s
plate 7.2. Amor carving a bow by Francesco Mazzola, known as Parmigianini. (Reproduction by
permission of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).
127 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

figures slender and graceful, and particularly those of his women and children,
which should be as realistic as the male figures and yet possess a roundness and
fullness derived from good judgement and design rather than the coarseness of
living bodies.37

Vasari thus gives here direct expression of the thought that his ideal in art was an image
whose beauty lay beyond mere artistic correctness. Interestingly enough Vicentino
writes in a similar fashion in a passage in which he makes a full analogy between the
composition of a piece of music and the construction of a building:

The most important foundation a composer must have in mind is this: he should
consider what he plans to build his composition on, in keeping with the words,
be they sacred or on another subject. The foundation of this building is the selec-
tion of a tone or mode suitable to the words or to another idea. On that
foundation, then he will use his judgment to measure well and to draw over this
good foundation the lines of the fourths and fifths of the chosen mode, which
lines are the columns that support the building of the composition and its
boundaries. Even though the fourths and fifths of other modes may be placed
between them, these do no harm to this edifice when they are disposed and
matched gracefully in a few locations in the middle of the work. It is with such
architectural variety that composers adorn the building of their composition, as
do good architects, who dazzle the vision of men with their refined manner of
using the lines of the triangle. For with the latter they paint the facade of some
lovely palace or other in such a way that it seems to the onlooker to be far away
from him, though it is not, since it is painted close to the vision of the person

37
“Queste cose non l’aveva fatte Giotto né que’ primi artefici, se bene eglino avevano scoperto
i principii di tutte queste difficultà, e toccatele in superficie, come nel disegno, più vero che e’ non
era prima e più simile alla natura, e così l’unione de’ colori et i componimenti delle figure nelle
storie, e molte altre cose de le quali abastanza s’è ragionato. Ma se ben i secondi augumentarono
grandemente a queste arti tutte le cose dette di sopra, elle non erano però tanto perfette che elle
finissino di agiugnere a l’intero della perfezzione, mancandoci ancora nella regola una licenzia, che,
non essendo di regola, fusse ordinata nella regola e potesse stare senza fare confusione o guastare
l’ordine; il quale aveva di bisogno di una invenzione copiosa di tutte le cose e d’una certa bellezza
continuata in ogni minima cosa, che mostrasse tutto quel[’] ordine con più ornamento. Nelle mis-
ure mancava uno retto giudizio, che senza che le figure fussino misurate, avessero in quelle gran-
dezze ch’elle eran fatte una grazia che eccedesse la misura. Nel disegno non v’erano gli estremi del
fine suo, perché, se bene e’ facevano un braccio tondo et una gamba diritta, non era ricerca con
muscoli con quella facilità graziosa e dolce che apparisse fra ’l vedi e non vedi, come fanno la carne
e le cose vive; ma elle erano crude e scorticate, che faceva difficultà agli occhi e durezza nella mani-
era, alla quale mancava una leg[g]iardria di fare svelte e graziose tutte le figure, e massime le
femmine et i putti con le membra naturali come agli uomini, ma ricoperte di quelle grassezze e
carnosità che non siano goffe come li naturali, ma artefiziate dal disegno e dal giudizio.” Giorgio
Vasari, Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori scultori e architettori nelle redazioni del 1550 e 1568, ed. by
Rosanna Bettarini and Paola Barocchi, (Florence: Studio per Edizioni Scelte, 1976), Vol. 4, pp. 4–5,
as translated by George Bull in Giorgio Vasari: The Lives of the Artists, (London: Penguin Books
1965), p. 250.
128 the performance of 16th-century music

looking at such a picture. This illusion comes from knowing how to match colors
with lines.38

The same passage from Lasso’s motet mentioned above at the words in conspectu meo,
with the imitative entries on so many different pitches is an example of this adornment
through the use of various mixtures of fourths and fifths based on the use of the words,
the petitioner having his sorrow “continually in front” of him. Thus in music, as in
painting and architecture, in the aesthetic theory of the time the highest quality is seen
to be found in the detailed elaboration and variation of a well-proportioned structure.
It lies upon us as performers to delineate the one in relation to the other, in this case
highlighting all of the entries of the soggetto in such a manner that they are readily
audible, so that the audience feels how the mounting sorrow impels the petitioner to
plea to his Lord for sustenance.
This chapter demonstrates some of the basic information and analytical tools
required for attaining the profound understanding necessary for an eloquent
performance of 16th-century polyphony. One first needs to understand the text and
determine the mode. Then each phrase of the text must be examined in relation to its
musical content and structure, as well as to its cadences (whether they are typical for
the mode or not), always accompanied by the question of how this might be under-
stood in relation to the words. Finally all of the details of composition must be inves-
tigated in regard to the composition as a whole, apportioned weight according to their
importance, their unusualness, their virtuosity. This analysis then can serve as a basis
upon which all decisions regarding performance can be made. In the following chapter
we will investigate the skills expected of the professional musician. It is when under-
standing is united with these skills that the music can speak to the fullest degree.

Glossary of the Musical Ornaments or Figures referred to by Burmeister or Walther in their


Analysis of Orlando di Lasso’s In me transierunt, from Joachim Burmeister, Musica Poetica,
Rostock, 1606, translated by Benito V. Rivera, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

Anaphora is an ornament which repeats similar pitch patterns in several but not all voices of the
harmony. This happens in the manner of a fugue, although it is in fact not a fugue. For all the voices

38
“Il maggior fondanento [fondamento] che dè havere il Compositore sarà questo, che riguarderà
sopra di che vorra fabricare la sua compositione, secondo le parole, ò Ecclesiastiche. ò d’altro suggetto,
et il fondamento di detta fabrica sarà che eleggerà un tono, o un modo, che sarà in proposito, delle
parole, o sia d’altra fantasia, & sopra quel fondamento misurerà bene con il suo giuditio, & tirerà le
linee delle Quarte & delle quinte d’esso tono, sopra il buono fondamento, lequali saranno le colonne
che terranno in piedi la fabrica della compositione; & de suoi termini, quantunque fra questo Quarte
& quinte si riponesse le quarte & le quinte d’altri Modi. Queste non faranno danno à essa fabrica
quando quelle saranno, in alcuni luoghi disposte, & con bel modo accompangante nel mezzo di detta
compositione, che con la varietà di quella Architettura, ornerà la fabrica della compositione, come
fanno i buoni Architetti, che con bel modo di procedere con le linee del Triangulo fanno abbagliar la
vista à gli huomini, & con quelle fanno parere, una facciata di qualche bel Palazzo, che sarà dipinta
molto appresso alla vista, di colui che guarderà tal pittura & à quello, essa li parerà molto lontana & non
sarà. Questa apparentia avviene da il modo di sapere accompagnare i colori, con le linee.” Nicola
Vicentino, L’antica musica, 47, in the translation, pp. 149–50.
129 The Rhetoric of Counterpoint

are required to be in fugue if the harmony is to merit the name of fugue [i.e., imitation in some but
not all of the voices]. (pp. 185-87)
Anaphora ἀναφοrἀ est ornamentum, quod sonos similes per diversas aliquas, non autem omnes,
harmoniae voces repetit in morem fugae, cum tamen revera non sit fuga. Ad fugam enim requiruntur
omnes voces, si fugae nomen harmonia mereatur. (p. 65)

Anadiplosis is an ornament of harmony that consists in a double mimesis, and it is an ornament


related to mimesis. For it duplicates what was presented [only] once through mimesis [i.e., when the
alternation of homophonic sections between voice groups is repeated]. (p. 167)
Andadiplosis ἀναδίπλωσις est talis harmoniae decus, quod constat ex duplici mimesi, et est
hoc ornamentum mimesi propinquum; geminat enim id, quod per mimesin semel est introduc-
tum. (p. 60)

Auxesis occurs when the harmony, made up entirely of concordant combinations, grows and rises
on a text that is repeated once, twice, thrice, or more. . . . Almost all pieces are replete with this
ornament, when the text is repeated in such a way that it call for text repetition without fugue [i.e.,
concordant harmonies accompanying the repetition of text, often found at the conclusion of a piece
in a few voices while one or 2 others sustain long notes]. (pp. 173-75)
Auxesis αύξησις fit, quando harmonia sub uno eodemque textu semel, bis, terve, et ulterius
repetito, coniunctis solis concordantiis, crescit et insurgit. . . . Hoc ornamento omnes fere cantiones, in
quibus textus repetitur, ita ut textus repetitionem, non fugam exigat, sunt repletae. (p. 61)

Climax is that which repeats similar pitch [patterns] on gradations of pitch levels [i.e, a sequence],
as the following example shows. We produce this sequence of intervals by way of example . . . . (p. 181)
Climax κλίμαξ est, quae per gradus intervallorum similes sonos repetit, ut hoc exemplum
indicat. Exempli loco hanc intervallorum consequentiam depromimus. (pp. 63-64)

Fuga realis (fuge ousiodes) is that disposition of harmony wherein all the voices imitate, by using
identical or similar intervals, a certain subject [affectio] drawn from one voice in the combination.
One is free to display such an imitative [memimemenon] combination both at exordia as well as in the
middle of pieces [i.e., free imitation]. (p. 159)
Fuga realis φυγὴ οὐσιώδηζ est talis harmoniae habitus, in quo omnes harmoniae voces
aliquam alicuius vocis in suo coniugio affectionem imitantur intervallis iisdem vel paribus. Quam
compositionem velut μεμιμημένον, tam in exordiis cantilenarum, quam in medio exhibere
liberum est. (p. 57)

Hypallage occurs when a fugue with a [melodically] inverted arrangement of intervals is


introduced [i.e., when melodic inversion is used in a section of free imitation]. (p. 163)
Hypallage ὐπαλλαγὴ est quando fuga converso intervallorum ordine introducitur. (p. 58)

Hypobole is pressing a melody down beyond the bottom limit of its ambitus [i.e., when one
extends a line below its normal range]. (p. 183)
Hypobole ὑποβολὴ est melodiae infra eius infimum ambitus terminum subiectio. (p. 64)
130 the performance of 16th-century music

Hypotyposis is that ornament whereby the sense of the text is so depicted that those matters
contained in the text that are inanimate or lifeless seem to be brought to life. This ornament is very
much in evidence among truly master composers. Would that it were employed with equal skill by all
composers [i.e., writing that expresses the text to a high degree]. (p. 175)
Hypotyposis est illud ornamentum, quo textus significatio ita deumbratur ut ea, quae textui
subsunt et animam vitamque non habent, vita esse praedita videantur. Hoc ornamentum
usitatissimum est apud authenticos artifices. Utinam eadem dexteritate ab omnibus adhiberetur
componistis. (p. 62)

Mimesis occurs when in a combination of many voices some that are closest to one another
introduce a noëma while others are silent, and then those that were silent and close to one another
imitate it in a lower or higher range [i.e., an alteration of homophonic sections between groups of
voices]. (p. 167)
Mimesis μίμησις est quando in plurium vocum combinatione aliquae voces maxime propinquae
aliis silentibus noëma introducunt, et hoc eae, quae silent et sibi invicem vicinae sunt ac propinquae
depressius vel altius sublimiusve imitantur. (p. 59)

Noëma is a harmonic affection or period that consists of voices combined in equal note values.
When introduced at the right time, it sweetly affects and wondrously soothes the ears, or indeed the
heart [i.e., homophonic sections]. (p. 165)
Noëma νὸημα est talis harmoniae affectio, sive periodus, cuius habitus voces coniunctas habet in
eadem sonorum quantitate, aures, imo et pectora suaviter afficiens et mirifice demulcens, si
tempestive introducitur. (p. 59)

Pathopoeia (pathopoiia) is a figure suited for arousing the affections, which occurs when
semitones that belong neither to the mode nor to the genus of the piece are employed and
introduced in order to apply the resources of one class to another. The same holds when the
semitones proper to the mode of the piece are used more often than is customary [i.e. when
semitones outside the mode, or excessively frequent uses of ones within the mode, are employed for
expressive reasons]. (p. 175)
Pathopoeia παθοποιία est figura apta ad affectus creandos, quod fit quando semitonia carmini
inseruntur, quae nec ad modum carminis, nec ad genus pertinent, sed unius beneficio in aliud
introducuntur; tum quando semitonia carminis modo congruentia saepius extra morem attinguntur.
(p. 61)
8
what skills were expected of
professional musicians?

Various authors speak both about what individual musicians, especially singers, were
expected to be able to do as well as about what was required for a good performance in
ensemble. An examination of longer passages in the writings of three of these theorists
will serve as the basis for a discussion of the skills generally considered necessary for
the professional musician. This discussion will, of course, not be limited to issues of
technical competence, but will also extend into the realm of rhetorical presentation.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BEGINNERS


Sancta Maria—after having discussed where to find the notes on the keyboard, what
fingerings to use, how to play trills and before explaining modes and cadences—
includes two very important chapters in the middle of the first book of his Libro lla-
mado Arte de tañer Fantasia: “Concerning some brief instructions by which the
beginner may quickly master any work” and “Concerning the procedure one must
follow to derive benefit from works.”1 These chapters are of particular interest because
they speak of the skills one needed to attain through the practice of composed works,
so as to later be able to improvise fantasies. As such they give insight into what Sancta
Maria considered to be most important in the performance and improvisation of
counterpoint.
Let us begin with the instructions for the beginner:

Three things are necessary for mastering any composition quickly and thus playing
it more perfectly. The first is to play in accordance with the tactus, keeping it always

1
“De avisos breves para que los nuevos subieten presto qualquier obra” and “Del modo que se ha
detener para sacar provecho de las obras.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia, fol.
57–58v, in the translation pp. 154–156.

131
132 the performance of 16th-century music

at an equal [rate] of time, that is, not changing it from a greater to a lesser [rate], or
from a lesser to a greater. For this it is necessary to mark the tactus with the foot, and
likewise to take great care with the mid-tactus, without which one can keep the
tactus [only] with difficulty; for as was noted before, we see by experience that those
who do not play in accordance with the tactus err in the mid-tactus. Furthermore it
is essential to know all the rhythmic signs and to give each its entire value.
The second thing is to sing each voice by itself, and to achieve a fundamental
comprehension of its melodic line.
The third thing is to comprehend all the consonances and dissonances
contained in the work, those formed in two [voices] as well as in three or four.2

The first instruction seems obvious: Essentially all beginning musicians have difficulties
sustaining the beat, and thus on one level this suggestion is mere commonplace. His
remarks concerning the central importance of being accurate at the mid-tactus in order to
remain in rhythmic equilibrium, however, are particularly interesting. It is the precise
beating of the tactus that facilitates the coordination within an ensemble, having a remark-
ably similar function to barlines in later music. And experience shows that Sancta Maria’s
observation is true. When singing from original notation, most rhythmic mistakes that do
not stem from the rests do indeed arise when the mid-point of the tactus is unclear.
On the surface, the second instruction just seems to be a basic way of getting to
know the individual lines of a polyphonic piece well. If, however, one remembers that
this book was written for keyboard players and that the individual parts of the exam-
ples were not written in score, but in parts, one after another on the same page (see
Figure 8.1), this instruction takes on an entirely new light. What is being suggested is
that one first learn each individual line (by singing it), so that one can thereafter put
them together as a polyphonic construct.
And finally, the beginning musician is being asked to determine the intervallic
content of each voice against the others. This stems from and serves as a foundation for
the improvisation of counterpoint, one of the basic skills expected of all musicians of
the time. Thus a musician was encouraged from the very beginning to examine each
composition from this perspective.
All of this may seem a bit formidable for the ongoing student, but it is nothing
compared to the procedure that one must follow to gain general benefit from practicing

2
“Tres cosas son necessarias para sugetar presto qualquier obra, y assi la tañer con mas perfection.
La primera, es tañer a Compas, llevandole siempre con una mesma ygualdad de tiempo, esto es, no
mudandole de mayor en menor, ni de menor en mayor, para lo qual es necessario llevar el Compas con
el pie, y assi mesmo tener gran cuenta con el medio Compas, sin el qual difficultosamente se podria
tañer a Compas, porque (como antes fue notado) por esperiencia vemos, que todos los que no tañen a
compas pecan en el medio compas. De mas desto, es necessario entender todas las figuras, y dar a cada
una su entero valor.
La segunda cosa, es cantar cada boz por si, entendiendo la Solfa de rayz.
La tercera cosa, es entender todas las Consonancias y Disonancias que llevare la obra, assi las que
fueren a duo, como los que fuere a tres y a quatro.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia,
fol. 57v, in the translation p. 154.
133 What Skills were Expected of Professional Musicians?

fig 8.1. Example of the First Mode from Sancta Maria, Libro Llamado El Arte de Tañer Fantasia,
Book 1, fol. 67v

compositions with the aim of later being able to improvise, as opposed to just being
able to play a specific piece of music:

If one is to derive benefit from the [composed] works he may perform, five things
must be kept in mind. The first is to comprehend in a fundamental way the inven-
tion and artifice of the fugal entries, and likewise how the voices answer each other,
that is, whether the voices imitate and correspond at the 4th, 5th, octave, or some
other manner in these entries, and whether they are played in two, three, or four
voices, and further, whether or not they proceed in strict imitation. In all these
things consists the art of fantasy, and [art] is what one must keep in mind above all
else; for in all things art alone is what makes the master, and it follows from this
that all those who are ignorant of art in the pursuit of their callings are deficient.
The second thing is to note the entrance of each voice, that is, whether it
enters before, during, or after a cadence, or whether it enters without a cadence, or
with what design or purpose it enters; for the entrance of each voice is the thing
most exquisite, and of the greatest beauty and artistry of anything in music, and
therefore one must give it the greatest attention and care in order to learn it from
[composed] works.
134 the performance of 16th-century music

The third thing is to note all the kinds of cadences used in the pieces, to
understand them completely, and to hold them in memory in order to use similar
ones in the [improvised] fantasy.
The fourth thing is to note all the consonances and dissonances that occur in
the pieces, those that occur in two [voices] as well as in three and four, and at the same
time to study the whole melodic line of each voice and to note the consonances formed
by it. And observe also what melodic progressions are pleasing in each voice, and com-
mit these thoroughly to memory in order to form various fugal subjects from them,
for this is of great benefit toward achieving richness and abundance in the fantasy.
The fifth thing is that when a subject is imitated, to note the variety that
may be achieved in these imitations of the subject, and also observe if the imitation
is by two, three, or four voices.
In order for beginners to progress in the fantasy, they must practice repeat-
edly with the subjects they know, so that through usage art is made a habit, and
thereby they will easily play other subjects. It is also a very useful thing to transpose
the same subject to all the pitch signs on which it can be formed, but with the
warning that wherever it is transposed it must retain the same melodic line.
So that all the foregoing may be fruitful and beneficial in the fantasy, one
must practice it many times each day with great perseverance, never losing
confidence but holding to the certainty that continual work and practice will pre-
vail in all things and make the master, as experience shows us at every step. And
therefore a wise man has said that the stone is not carved out by the water drop that
falls one time or two, but continuously.3

3
Para sacar provecho de las obras, quando se pusioren cinco cosas, se han de notar. La primera, es
entender de rayz la invencion y artificio que llevaren los passos, y assi mesmo la responsion de las bozes,
esto es, si en los passos las bozes se remedaren y correspondieren en quarta, o en quinta, o en octava, o
en orra manera, o si los passos se hirieren a duo, o a tres, o a quatro, y de mas desto, si fueren en fugas
o no, en lo qual todo consiste el arte de la fantasia, el qual se ha de procurar de saber sobre todo, porque
en todas las cosas, solo el arte es el que haze maestro, y de aqui viene, que todos los que en sus officios
ignoran el arte, son imperfectos.
La segunda cosa, es notar la entrada de cada boz, es a saber, si entra antes dela Clausula, o en la
Clausula, o despues dela clausula, o si entra sin clausula, o con que invencion o proposito entra, porque
la entrada de cada boz, es la cosa mas dilicada, y de mayor primor y arte que ay en la Musica, y por
tanto, a esto se ha detener grande atencion y advertencia, para deprenderlo en las obras.
La tercera cosa, es notar todas las maneras de clausulas, que se hizieren en las obras entendiendolas
de rayz, y tenerlas en la memoria, para por ellas hazer otras Semejantes en la fantasia.
La quarta cosa, es notar todas las consonancias y disonancias, que se dieren en las obras, assi las que
dieren a duo, como las que se dieren a tres, y a quatro, y juntamente entender toda la Solfa de cada boz,
y notar las consonancias que con ella se dieren, y assi mesmo notar la Solfa que fuere graciosa de cada
boz, y tenerla mucho en la memoria, para con ella hazer passos diversos, porque esto es lo que mucho
aprovecha para tener caudal y abundancia de fantasia.
La qiunta cosa, es quando un passo se remedare, notar las differencias que se hizieren en la mesma
remedacion del passo, y assi mesmo notar si se remedare a duo, o a tres, o a quatro bozes.
Para que los nuevos aprovechen en la fantasia, es necessario que se exerciten siempre con los
mesmos passos que saben, para que con este uso hagan habito del arte, y con esto facilmente tañeran
otros passos. Assi mesmo es cosa muy provechosa mudar un mesmo passo, por todos los signos que se
135 What Skills were Expected of Professional Musicians?

Implicit in the first instruction is a type of analysis that is akin to Burmeister’s


specification of the various rhetorical figures. One is being encouraged to closely
examine the work for its compositional structures, the form and type of imitation,
the number of voices involved, and so on. Second, the entries of the individual
voices are to be examined in relation to where they appear in conjunction with the
cadences. This is necessary in order that these entrances may be brought out in
performance, as they are “of the greatest beauty and artistry of anything in music.”4
Needless to say, this implies that one knows where the cadences are. Thirdly, these
cadences are to be studied in and of themselves, so that one may have them at one’s
disposal when improvising. Then one is asked to look at all of the intervals between
the voices, and the relationship between them and the melodic lines. Particularly
beautiful passages are to be memorized as this will enhance one’s skill at improvisa-
tion. And finally, one is to observe the variety of imitation found in the work. This
search for variety, as we saw in the previous chapter, was part of the “mannerist”
aesthetic of the time, here incorporated in a set of procedures designed to train
one’s improvisational skills.
In order to gain these skills one is encouraged to use the same subjects repeatedly,
learning to transpose them to all appropriate scale degrees. With this Sancta Maria is
referring to the limits of meantone tuning: d-sharp, a-flat, and a-sharp were not part
of this system on a normal keyboard—that is one without split keys—and chords
including them are dreadfully jangling. In general, instrumentalists were expected to
be able to transpose to the limits of where their instruments could reasonably be
expected to play in tune.5
The fact that the greater portion of professionals playing this music today do not
possess these skills should at least raise some questions concerning our approach to
music from this period. That these demands were considered to be a foundation for
professional activity, however, is also confirmed by Luigi Zenobi.

pudieren hazer, para lo qual se advierta, que por donde quiera que se mudare, ha de llevar la
mesma Solfa.
Para que de todo lo sobredicho se saque gran fruto y provecho para la fantasia, es necessario exer-
citarlo muchas vezes cada dia, con gran perseverancia, nunca desconfiando, sino teniendo por cierto,
que el trabajo y uso continuado, vence todas las cosas, y haze maestro, lo qual a cada passo vemos por
experiencia, y por tanto, dixo un sabio. Que la gota cava la piedra, no de una vez, ni de dos, sino siempre
cayendo.” Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia, fol. 57v-58, in the translation pp. 155–56.
4
Hermann Finck also speaks of the need to bring out imitative entries: “. . . . when the music begins
with a brilliant fugue, it should be presented with a lighter and clearer voice than one is accustomed to
do; also the following voices which in the course of the imitation sing the same thing, should bring it
out in the same way. The same thing should be observed with all the voices whenever a new imitation
is begun, so that the connection and entire structure of all the imitations may be perceived.” (“si in
initio cantus, elegans fuga occurrerit, hanc voce clariore & explanata magis proferendam quàm alioqui
usu receptum est, & sequentes voces, si ab eadem fuga quam prior cecinit ordiantur, simili modo enun-
tiandas esse: Hoc in omnibus vocibus, cum novae fugae occurrunt, observandum est, ut possit audiri
coherentia & omnium fugarum systema.”) Hermann Finck, Pratica Musica, sig. Ss iiiv.
5
Anne Smith, “Über Modus und Transposition um 1600,” Basler Jahrbuch für historische Musikpraxis
6 (1982), p. 43.
136 the performance of 16th-century music

CRITERIA OF EXCELLENCE
Luigi Zenobi, as mentioned earlier, was one of the foremost cornetto players from
about 1570–1600 at several important courts of the time, namely Bavaria, Ferrara, and
Vienna. Towards the end of his career he was requested by a prince, whose identity has
unfortunately not (yet) been discovered, to set down in writing the criteria of excel-
lence for certain categories of musicians.6 One can therefore assume, that he knew
from his own experience—although from his writing you can tell that he felt his own
capabilities did not receive the esteem due to them from the world around him—what
was required from the best musicians of the time. Nonetheless in his letter he reveals
his seeming lack of knowledge of the latest developments in the musical world, clearly
discussing issues of greater concern to the prima rather than the seconda pratica. Thus
the letter, written on the brink of a new musical practice, speaks of the criteria of ex-
cellence demanded of musicians of an almost bygone era.
He first turns to the question of what qualities one must have to sing one’s part
securely. He specifies the following:

The first requirement is not to be ignorant of counterpoint. The second is to be


secure in singing compositions with quavers [crome] and semiquavers [semicrome].
The third is to be secure in music composed with leaps, such as sixths, sevenths,
ninths, and elevenths, now fast, now slow. The fourth is to be secure in music where
syncopation is mixed with artful dissonance. The fifth is to be secure in chromatic
compositions. The sixth is to be secure in understanding and singing all or the greater
part of proportions and sesquialterae, which are scattered throughout old and
modern works. The seventh is to know perfectly the musical signs and mensurations
and the value of the notes within them. The eighth would be that on meeting with an
error on the part of the composer or the copyist, he knew how to improvise a remedy
to the error while singing and find his way back without help from others. Secure
singing is easily said, but it is extremely difficult, if not a miracle, to find it.7

The first prerequisite of not being ignorant of counterpoint in my opinion refers to


contrapunto alla mente, the skill of singing another voice to a given melody, which was

6
In their article, “Luigi Zenobi,” pp. 76–77, Bonnie J. Blackburn and Edward E. Lowinsky suggest
Francesco Maria II of Urbino or Carlo Emanuele at the court of the Savoy in Urbino.
7
“La prima è il non essere ignorante affatto del contrapunto. La Seconda deve cantar securo le
cantilene composte a crome, e semicrome. La Terza deve cantar securo quelle, che son composte a salti,
come di seste, di settime, di none, d’undecime, hor preste, hor tarde. La Quarta deve cantar securo
quelle, che son composte di contratempi mescolati con artifitiose durezze. La Quinta deve cantar
securo quelle, che sono cromaticamente composte. La Sesta deve cantare e conoscere securo tutte, o la
maggior parte delle proportioni [orig.: propositioni], e sesquialtere, che son sparse per l’opere antiche,
e moderne. La Settima deve conoscere perfettamente i segni musicali, et i tempi et il valore delle note
in quelli. La Ottava sarebbe, ch’egli, ritrovando errore, o di compositore, o di copia, sapesse rimediare
improvisamente all’errato, cantando, e ritornare nella sua parte senza aiuto d’altri, e per il cantar securo
è facile a dire; ma difficilissimo, e miracoloso a trovare.” Bonnie J. Blackburn and Edward E. Lowinsky,
“Luigi Zenobi,” p. 80, in the translation, p. 97.
137 What Skills were Expected of Professional Musicians?

part of the traditional training of all professional musicians at the time.8 As Bonnie
Blackburn writes, “Tinctoris. . . . emphasizes that the student must constantly keep in
practice by singing counterpoint and composing”9 and further that he “considered
contrapunto alla mente to be the pinnacle of achievement in the art of improvisation,
and it continued right on throughout the sixteenth century, to the admiration of many,
the despair of others, and the disgust of some, who could not tolerate the crudeness of
less skilled singers.”10
Furthermore she gives Bermudo’s definition of counterpoint as “an improvised
arrangement over a plainchant with different melodies. There are men so expert in it,
so full of reckoning and erudition, that they so do it for many voices, and so properly
and in imitation, that it seems to be the most skilful composition of the world.”11 She
contrasts this with Vicentino and Coclico who express their reservations, in particular
when the counterpoint is executed poorly. Ferand, however, also quotes Hermann
Finck as saying, “that the skilled singers in the papal, royal, and imperial choirs ‘impro-
vise the proper voices and the right counterpoint to any plainchant presented to them’”
and that this “is confirmed by Calvisius who asserts that musicians trained in the art of
extempore counterpoint. . . . ‘to add a harmony [i.e., counterpoint], to any subject pre-
sented to them privately or in public,’ which, as he says, ‘they do casually, suddenly, and
extempore’.”12 Thus Zenobi—a former musician at some of the most important courts
in Europe—had surely heard such performances of contrapunto alla mente and could
no doubt improvize in a similar manner on his instrument.
The fact that Zenobi makes a knowledge of counterpoint the first prerequisite for a
secure singer brings to mind the instructions for beginners given by Sancta Maria, as it
is clear that the practice techniques he suggests would lead to an understanding of
counterpoint. A small number of 16th century theorists give instructions in this tech-
nique. For example, Vincenzo Lusitano’s basic singing tutor, Introduttione facilissima et
novissma di canto fermo, figurato, contraponto semplice, et in concerto (Venice, 1551),

8
As such, contrapunto alla mente would have deserved its own chapter in this book. Not only
would a discussion of it and how it can be learned have doubled the length of this book, it would have
also required someone of greater competence to write it. For further information, see Ernest T. Ferand,
“Improvised Vocal Counterpoint in the Late Renaissance and Early Baroque,” Annales musicologiques
IV (1956), pp. 119–174, and Bonnie J. Blackburn, “On Compositional Process in the Fifteenth Century,”
Journal of the American Musicological Society 40 (1987), especially pp. 246–260.
9
Bonnie J. Blackburn, “Music Theory and Musical Thinking,” p. 328.
10
Bonnie J. Blackburn, “On Compositional Process,” pp. 258–259.
11
“El contrapunto es una ordenación improvisa sobre canto llano, con diversas melodias. Ay hom-
bres en ello tan expertos, de tanta cuenta, y erudición: que assí lo hechan a muchas bozes, y tan acer-
tado, y fugado, que parece composición sobre todo el estudio del mundo.” Bonnie J. Blackburn, “On
Compositional Process,” footnote 93, p. 259.
12
“. . . . ex tempore ad omnem propositum choralem cantum pertinentes voces adiungunt &
contrapunctum suum pronunciant,” Hermann Finck, Practica Musica, sig. Aiiv, translation in Ernst
T. Ferand, “Improvised vocal Counterpoint,” p. 139, footnote 1; “. . . . saepe ad quodlibet subjectum, vel
publice vel privatim oblatum, Harmoniam addere solent; quae. . . . subito, temere, & extempore fit.”
Seth Calvisius, Melopoiia sive melodiae condendae ratio, (Erfurt: Georg Baumann, 1592), sig. L2v, trans-
lation in Ernst T. Ferand, “Improvised vocal Counterpoint,” p. 139, footnote 2.
138 the performance of 16th-century music

which—after the opening chapters describing the location of the notes, their solmisa-
tion, and basic rhythmical concepts—presents a number of basic contrapuntal models
designed to serve as a basis for improvising in up to three voices over a tenor.13 It
thereby becomes clear that these abilities were considered to be a central portion of a
musician’s education. Similarly, Morley in his Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical
Music (London, 1597) and Zacconi in the second part of his Prattica di musica (Venice,
1622) are devoted largely to this subject.
The second through seventh requirements deal with basic skills of singing from
notation: the ability to sing fast notes, awkward leaps, and syncopations, as well as to
deal with the challenges provided by the mensurations and proportions of the nota-
tional system, preferably also those used by earlier generations. The last requirement
refers to the difficulties associated with a part-book culture, namely how one reacts
when there is an error in one of the part-books. The procedure obviously favored by
Zenobi is that of improvising until one manages to find one’s way back into the com-
position. A similar procedure was suggested by Zacconi in his commentary about a
performance he once heard at the chapel of Archduke Charles with two singers
performing a mensural canon in  and  as if both voices were notated alla breve. Thus
one voice ended halfway through the piece. Zacconi suggests that “the hapless singer
should discover where his companion is and resume by singing counterpoint; it will
help if he knows how to add a part to a well-composed song.”14 These are skills we need
to cultivate today!
Other authors, such as Gaffurius, Lanfranco, and Zacconi, also comment on the
basic music competencies required by a singer, and they all include some selection of
those mentioned by Sancta Maria and Zenobi.15
Zenobi, however, then goes on to write about the specific skills required for each
kind of musician, speaking first of the singers, and then of the various classes of instru-
mentalists. He subdivides the various singers on the basis of the range of their voices.
He specifies the following about the bass:

He who sings the bass, if he sings in company, is obliged to know how to keep his
part firm, right, and secure: firm with regard to his singing, right with regard to
pitch, secure with regard to his judgment. And if he occasionally wants to improvise

13
Vincenzo Lusitano, Introduttione facilissima et novissima di canto fermo, figurato, contraponto
semplice, et in concerto, (Venice: Francesco Rampazetto, 1551; facsimile, Bologna: Libreria Musicale
Italiana Editrice 1989).
14
As paraphrased from his manuscript collection of canons, Canoni musicali proprij e di diversi
autori, which is to be dated ca. 1622–1627, by Bonnie J. Blackburn, “Two Treasure Chests of Canonic
Antiquities: The Collections of Hermann Finck and Lodovico Zacconi,” in Canons and Canonic
Techniques, 14th–16th Centuries: Theory, Practice, and Reception History, ed. by Katelijne Schiltz and
Bonnie J. Blackburn, (Leuven: Peeters, 2007), p. 317.
15
Franchinus Gaffurius, Practica Musicae, (Brescia: Bernadus Misinta, 1496; facsimile, Farnborough:
Gregg Press, 1967), book 3, chap. 15; translation by Clement A. Miller, Musicological Studies and
Documents 20, pp. 148–50; Giovanni Maria Lanfranco, Scintille di musica, pp. 112–13; Lodovico Zacconi,
Prattica di musica, vol. 1, fol. 53v-55v.
139 What Skills were Expected of Professional Musicians?

an embellishment, he must wait for the moment where the other three parts hold
steady, and he must know the places where he can sing an embellishment. . . . He
must know further which embellishments are suitable for the bass. . . . Then he
must have a trillo and a polished tremolo, and a voice that has the same timbre in
high and low range; nor may he be called a real bass unless he has a compass of
twenty-two notes of the same timbre throughout.16

Thus he expected the bass, as we know from his remarks about the rimettore, to pro-
vide a firm foundation for an ensemble, to be steady in tone, accurate in pitch and
rhythm, and ready to jump in (with his three-octave range) whenever another singer
wobbled. Further he was only to embellish his part if the other voices were “holding
steady” (stanno ferme), and even then only with diminutions suitable to the bass part.
This was also true for the tenor and alto as can be seen from the following passage:

The tenor should sing embellishments when the bass and the companion parts
hold steady; he must use passages proper to his part and avoid those of the bass,
except when the composition places him in the lowest part, in which case he should
do it with judgement and discretion. And likewise the alto can and should proceed.
But I should recommend that these middle parts use embellishments rarely and
content themselves with knowing how to ascend and descend with a delicate wavy
motion and at times use a few gentle trilli or tremoli.17

Thus all of the lower parts were expected to embellish their lines with ornaments
suitable to their parts and only then if all of the other parts were “holding steady.”
This wording implies that the lower parts only were to add diminutions if the other
voices were sustaining longer notes, which is also in accordance with both Hermann
Finck and Giovanni Maffei, who write that only one singer at a time should embel-
lish their line in consort.18 In addition, this principle was observed in Girolamo dalla

16
“Colui, che canta il Basso, se canta in compagnia, è obligato a saper tener salda la sua parte,
giusta, e secura: salda quanto al cantare, giusta quanto alla voce, secura [orig.: securo] quanto al sapere,
e se vuole alcuna volta passaggiare: deve appostare il tempo, che le tre parti tengan saldo, e conoscere i
luoghi, dove può fare il passaggio. . . . Deve poi conoscere, e sapere quali siano li passaggi proprij da
Basso. . . . Deve poi haver trillo, e tremolo netto, e voce nell’alto e nel basso eguale di tuba; né si potrà
dire realmente Basso, se non va ventidue voci alto, e basso con eguale tondezza di tuba.” Bonnie
J. Blackburn and Edward Lowinsky, “Luigi Zenobi,” p. 82 and the translation, p. 99.
17
“Il tenore deve passaggiare quando il Basso, e le parti compagne stanno ferme, et usar passaggi
proprij della parte sua, e non toccare quelli del Basso, se non quando la Compositione lo lascia in sua
vece et all’ora farlo con giuditio, e discretione. Et altrettanto può e deve fare il Contralto. Ma io lodarei
in queste parti di mezzo, che elleno passaggiassero di rado, e si contentassero di saprere ascendere e
discendere con la voce gratiosamente ondeggiando et usando tall’hora qualche trillo, o tremolo gentile,
che senza dubbio ne sarebbono assai più lodati da chi sa che cosa importi cantar bene.” Bonnie
J. Blackburn and Edward Lowinsky, “Luigi Zenobi,” p 83, in the translation, p. 100.
18
For example Hermann Finck writes, “The manner in which diminutions are to be applied is
dependent on the skill, natural ability and character of the individual involved. Each has his own
manner. Many are of the opinion that the bass should be embellished, others the uppermost part. My
140 the performance of 16th-century music

Casa’s ornamentation of all of the parts of Cipriano da Rore’s sestina, A la dolc’


ombra.19
Zenobi then waxes full when he comes to describing the obligations of the soprano:

There remains the soprano, which is truly the ornament of all other parts, just as the
bass is the foundation. The soprano, then, has the obligation and complete freedom
to improvise diminutions, to indulge in playfulness, and in a word, to ornament a
musical body. But unless this is done with art, with grace, and with good taste, it is
annoying to hear, hard to digest, and loathsome to endure. To give pleasure to the lis-
tener he must meet these chief requirements: he must have either a natural or boylike
soprano without nasal effect, without such habits as tossing his head, contorting his
shoulders, rolling his eyes, moving his jaw, his chin, and his whole body; he must go
high and low with even timbre and not have one register in the high range and another
one in the low. He must be expert in counterpoint, for without that he sings haphaz-
ardly and commits a thousand blunders; while singing he must make the words
distinctly understood and not drown them in passage-work nor cover them with
excessive vocal resonance, whether ringing, hoarse, or crude; he must have [a groppo
granito (articulated trill) and a groppo posato (calm, sedate trill)]. A groppo granito is
one that touches two notes like sol and fa, or la and sol, in detached semi-quavers and
a groppo posato is one that consists of simple quavers, also touching the two notes
clearly. A trillo is that [ornament] that stops neither on the line nor in the space [but
always moves] with velocity; tremolo is that [embellishment] that touches [notes] on
the line and in the space in whatever manner one may wish to execute it.20

opinion is that all voices can and must receive embellishment, but not always rather only at the indicated
places, and not in all voices at once, but only in the appropriate one, and the others at their appropriate
places, so that the passage may be expressly and definitely heard and differentiated from the others and
so the composition remains intact and undisturbed.” (“Est verò ratio coloraturarum singularis cuius-
dam dexteritatis, naturae & proprietatis. Suus cuique mos est. Multi in ea sunt sententia, Bassum esse
colorandum, alij Discantum. Verùm mea sententia omnibus vocibus & possunt & debent coloraturae
aspergi, sed non semper, & quidem locis appositis, nec omnes voces coniunctim, sed sede convenienti
colorentur, reliquae suis locis, ita ut una coloratura expressè & distinctè ab alia exaudiri & discerni,
integra tamen & salva compositione, possit.”) Hermann Finck, Practica Musica, sig. Ss [iv]. And Giovanni
Maffei writes, “When four or five get together in consort, one must make room for the other; for if two
or three were to make embellishments at the same time, they would confound the harmony.” (“. . . . quando
si ritrovano quattro, o cinque, di conserto, mentre cantano, l’uno debbia dar luogo all’altro; per che se,
due o tre tutti in un tempo passaggiassero, confonderebbono l’armonia.”), in Nanie Bridgman, “Giovanni
Camillo Maffei et sa lettre sur le chant,” Revue de musicologique 38 (1956), pp. 28–29.
19
Girolamo dalla Casa, Il vero modo di diminuir con tutte le sorti di stromenti, (Venice: Angelo
Gardano, 1584; facsimile Bologna: Forni Editore, 1976), libro secondo, pp. 38–49. A modern edition is
found in Girolamo Dalla Casa, A la dolc’ ombra (Sestina), ed. by Bernard Thomas, Ricercate e passaggi:
improvisation and ornamentation, 1580–1630 12 (London: London Pro Musica, 1986).
20
“Resta il soprano, il quale è veramente l’ornamento di tutte l’altre parti sicome il Basso è fonda-
mento. Il Soprano dunque ha l’obligo, e campo franco di passaggiare, di scherzare, e d’abbellire in
somma un corpo musicale, ma se ciò non fa con arte, con leggiadria, e con giuditio, è noioso a sentire,
duro a diggerire, e stomacoso a sopportare. Egli principalmente per far bello udire, ha da essere
141 What Skills were Expected of Professional Musicians?

Thus in contrast to the restrictions placed on the lower voices, it is demanded of the
soprano that he embellish his part and thus adorn the whole composition “with art,
with grace, and with good taste.”
In addition Zenobi here specifies that the singer “must have either a natural or boy-
like soprano without nasal effect.” Zacconi in his Prattica di Musica (Venice, 1596)
writes that there are three different basic sound qualities for voices: a covered sound, a
head voice, and a chest voice. He clearly expresses his dislike of the covered, muted
sound, thinks that the head voice often becomes too harsh, and prefers the chest voice
above all, writing

. . . . that the chest voice is the most proper and most natural one: not only because
the chest forms it, and contains within it the instruments which form it, but also
because it is found there to be the most in tune. And one never finds that a chest
voice is as out of tune as a head [voice] or a covered one, which are only rarely free
of this particular defect of being out of tune.21

Zacconi goes on to say that if a singer cannot stay on pitch, it is better that he go sharp
than flat.22
Zenobi’s comments about the singer’s deportment are reflected in essentially all
texts on singing of the time. Further the soprano was not only expected to ornament
more, he was also expected to be an expert on counterpoint, for otherwise he “sings
haphazardly and commits a thousand blunders.” Thus the increased demand for
improvisation or diminution on the part of the singer also implied a greater skill in
counterpoint. No matter what the ornamentation, however, the text was to be enunci-
ated clearly. And finally the soprano was expected to have a complete command over
various types of trills: both fast (groppo granito) and slow (groppo posato) ones; the
trillo, perhaps a figure so fast that the actual pitches are not precisely defined; and the
tremolo, a term which Zenobi obviously used to denominate a number of ornaments
serving a trill-like function.

naturale, o puerile, senza diffetto di naso, senza gettar di testa, travolger di spalle, o movimento d’occhi
di ganasse di [b]arbozzo, e di persona. Deve andare alto e basso con egualità di tuba, e non havere un
registro nell’alto ed un’altro nel basso. Deve havere bonissimo contrapunto, perché senza questo, canta
a caso, e fa mille cosaccie. Deve cantando fare intendere specificatamente le parole, e non ingarvugliarle
con passaggi, né coprirle con la risonanza soverchia della voce, o campanina, o roca, o rozza. Deve havere
[il groppo granito e il groppo posato;] il groppo granito è quello, che tocca le due note come sol, e fa, o
la e sol di semicrome spiccate. Groppo posato è quello, che si fa di crome semplici, toccando espressa-
mente pur le due note. Trillo è quello, che non si ferma, né in riga né ispatio [ma muove sempre] con
velocità. Tremolo è quello, che tocca della riga, e dello spatio in qual’si voglia modo, ch’ei si faccia.”
Bonnie J. Blackburn and Edward Lowinsky, “Luigi Zenobi,” pp. 83–84, in the translation 100–01.
21
“. . . . che la voce di petto è la piu propria & piu naturale: non tanto perche il petto la forma, perche
contiene dentro di se gl’instrumenti con che formarla: ma anco perche la si trova sempre eβer piu
giusta: & non si troverà mai che voce di petto sia falsa come quella di testa & l’obtusa; che rare volte
sono senza questo particular diffetto di esser false.” Lodovico Zacconi, Prattica di Musica, fol. 77v.
22
Lodovico Zacconi, Prattica di Musica, fol. 77v.
142 the performance of 16th-century music

Zenobi goes on to expatiate largely on the more rhetorical skills demanded of a


soprano:

Furthermore the soprano must have an undulating movement, he must know when
to make esclamationi and not apply them indiscriminately nor crudely, as many do.
He must know how to ascend with the voice and how to descend with grace, at times
holding over part of the preceding note and sounding it anew if the consonance
requires and admits it; he must know how to give rise to dissonances (durezze and
false) where the composer has not touched or made them, but left them to the sing-
er’s judgement. He must blend and accord with the other voices; he must at times
render the notes with a certain neglect, sometimes so as to drag them, sometimes
with sprightly motion; he must have a rich repertoire of passaggi and good judge-
ment as to how to use them; he must know which are the good ones, starting with
those that are made with the greatest artifice of one note, of two, three, four, five, six,
seven, and eight. He must know to use them ascending or descending, he must
know how to intertwine, connect, and double them; he must know how to empha-
size and to avoid a cadence, he must know how playfully to sing detached and legato
quavers; he must know how to begin a passaggio with quavers and finish it with
semiquavers and begin it with semiquavers notes and finish it with quavers. He
must use different passaggi in the same songs, he must know how to improvise them
in every kind of vocal music, whether fast, or chromatic, or slow; he must know
which works require them and which do not; when repeating the same thing he
must always sing new ones. He must know how to sing the piece in its simple form,
that is, without any passaggio, but only with grace, trillo, tremolo, ondeggiamento,
and esclamatione; he must understand the meaning of the words, whether they be
secular or spiritual; and where the text speaks of flying, trembling, weeping, laughing,
leaping, shouting, falsehood, and similar things, he must know how to accompany
them with the voice; he must use echo passages, now immediate, now separated; he
must know how at times to begin loudly and then to let the voice die gradually; and
at times to begin, or end, softly and then enliven it gradually; he must know how to
improvise passaggi in skips, in syncopation, and in sesquialtera; he must know thor-
oughly which places demand them; he must start with discrimination and finish in
time with those who sing or play with him; he must sing in one style in church, in
another one in the chamber, and in a third one in the open air, whether it be in day-
time or at night; he must perform a motet in one manner, a villanella in another, a
lamentation differently from a cheerful song, and a mass in another style than a
falsobordone, an air differently again; he must bring to each of these pieces a motif,
passaggi, and a style of its own, so that the artfulness and the understanding of the
singer may become manifest.23

23
“Deve il soprano di più havere l’ondeggiar [orig.: ondeggier] della voce, conoscere i luoghi delle
exclamationi, e non farle indifferentemente, né alla grossa come molti fanno. Deve sapere salir con la
voce, e scender con gratia, ritenendo tall’hora parte della nota passata, e ritoccandola alquanto, se la
consonanza lo richiede, e sopporta. Deve sapere far nascere le durezze, o le false [orig.: farze] dove il
143 What Skills were Expected of Professional Musicians?

Zenobi went on further to say that all he demanded of a soprano, or the greater part of
it, was also “sought in an instrumentalist, whether he plays the cornett, the viola da
gamba, the violin, the recorder, the flute or similar melody instruments.”24 The fact
that Zenobi wrote that these capabilities were required also of instrumentalists is tan-
tamount to saying that melodic instruments should play in imitation of the human
voice, a demand most explicitly made by Silvestro Ganassi in the passages quoted pre-
viously in Chapter 7. Thus the capabilities Zenobi required of the soprano may be
understood to be those qualities demanded of all exceptional musicians, whether
singer or instrumentalist.

ESSENTIAL GRACES
Many aspects of Zenobi’s list of prerequisites are very striking. One prime example of
this is the clear distinction between essential graces and freely improvised passage-
work or diminutions, a differentiation that is accepted for the the 17th and 18th centuries,

Compositore non l’ha tocche, né fatte, ma lasciate al giuditio del Cantante. Deve unire et accordare con
l’altri parti. Deve tall’hora portar le voci con disprezzo, tall’hora con modo di strascinarle, tall’hora con
galanteria di motivo. Deve esser ricco di passaggi quanto al sapere, e di giuditio, quanto al valersene.
Deve conoscere quali siano i buoni passi cominciando da quelli, che si fanno con grandissimo artifitio
d’una nota, di due, di tre, di quattro, di cinque, di sei, di sette e di otto. Deve con essi sapersi stendere
dal basso, al alto, e dal alto, al basso, deve saperli intrecciare, aggroppare, radoppiare, deve sapere accen-
nar la cadenza [orig.: l’accadenza], a fuggirla, deve saper scherzar di semiminime spartite e seguenti,
deve saper cominciare un passo di crome, e finirlo con semicrome, e cominciarlo di semicrome, e finirlo
di crome. Deve variar sempre passi buoni ne’ medesmi canti, deve saper passaggiare in ogni sorte di
cantilene, o veloci, o cromatiche, o ferme. Deve conoscer l’opere, che vogliono passaggi, e quelli, che
non li richieggono. Deve cantando una medesma cosa più volte, variar passi sempre. Deve saper cantare
il canto schietto, cioè senza passo alcuno ma solo con gratia, trillo, tremolo, ondeggiamento, et
esclamatione. Deve conoscer la forza delle parole, o temporali, o spirituali, ch’elle si siano; e dove si
parla di volare, di tremare, di pianger, di ridere, di saltare, di gridare, di falso e cose simili, deve sapere
accompagnarle con la voce. Deve haver Echi passi hor continui et hora separati. Deve tall’hora saper
cominciare con voce gagliarda, e lasciarla a poco a poco morire; e tall’hora cominciare, o finire con voce
piana, et a poco a poco avvivarla; deve saper passaggiare a salti, a contratempi, et a sesquialtere, deve
conoscere i luoghi molto bene che ricercono i passaggi, deve partirsi con giuditio, e terminare a tempo
con chi canta seco, o suona, deve altramente cantare in chiesa, altramente in Camera, altramente
all’aria, sì di giorno come di notte; altramente un mottetto, altramente una Villanella, altramente una
lamentatione, altramente un canto allegro, altramente una Messa, altramente un falso bordone, altra-
mente un aria, et haver a ciascuna di dette cose motivo, passaggi, e stile differenti di modo, che si
conosca l’artifitio, et il saper del Cantore [orig.: Cantare].” Bonnie J. Blackburn and Edward Lowinsky,
“Luigi Zenobi,” pp. 84–85, in the translation, pp. 101–02.
24
“. . . . tutte, o la maggior quantità delli sopra scritti conditioni, deve havere medesimamente uno
strumentista, che suoni, o Cornetto [orig.: Cornette], o Viola da Gamba, o Violino, o flauto, o fifaro, o
simili d’una parte sola.” Bonnie J. Blackburn and Edward Lowinsky, “Luigi Zenobi,” p. 85, in translation,
p. 102. In the translation flauto is translated as flute and fifaro as shawm; recent research has shown that
these terms were usually associated with recorder and flute respectively, see David Lasocki, “A Listing of
Inventories and Purchases of Flutes, Recorders, Flageolets, and Tabor Pipes, 1388–1630,” Musicque de Joye:
Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Renaissance Flute and Recorder Consort, Utrecht 2003,
ed. by David Lasocki, (Utrecht: Stichting Muziekhistorische Uitvoeringspratijk, 2005), pp. 419–512.
144 the performance of 16th-century music

but largely overlooked for the performance practice of the 16th century in spite of the
excellent introductory works on the subject by Howard Mayer Brown and Bruce
Dickey.25 For the most part one hears either “pure” performances with vocal or instru-
mental consorts or instrumental versions of vocal pieces, full of diminutions and des-
tined to show off the skill and dexterity of the musician. This is perhaps a reflection of
the sources we have for ornamentation. For diminutions we have tutors that not only
include exercises about how to fill in intervals but also complete ornamentations for
individual works that serve as illustrations of how these small snippets may be
connected together in improvisation. This makes it relatively easy for us today; we can
just play the diminutions as if they were written works, instead of taking the challenge
of learning to improvise embellishments. For the graces, however, the sources often
inform us about how they are to be executed, but not where they are to be applied, or
we know where a grace is to be played as it is marked in the music, but are often unsure
about how we should perform it.
The fact that the graces were part and parcel of the conventional training of musi-
cians is demonstrated not only by Zenobi’s writing, but can be seen in both the musical
and theoretical works throughout the century. Although each instrument cultivated its
own sort of essential graces that took the characteristics of the instrument into account,
most can be seen in some way to refer back to the voice. Ganassi is particularly articu-
late in this regard, stating that the true art of performance (on the recorder) consists of
imitation (of the human voice), prontezza (promptness, quickness in relation to
breathing), and galanteria (grace). In imitating the voice, one was required to have
ability to quickly and immediately alter the flow of the air, so as to vary expression
from tender to lively. The graces (in Ganassi’s case various types of trills) further
enhanced the emotional impact of the music.26
This imitation of the voice begins with the tremolo, a vibration of the voice, often
described as a positive quality in a boy’s voice in 17th-century Germany, beginning with
Michael Praetorius.27 Zacconi, too, writes

. . . . that the tremolo—that is, the trembling voice—is the true door for entering
into the passaggi and for mastering the gorgie, because a ship sails more easily when

25
Howard Mayer Brown, Embellishing 16th-Century Music, Early Music Series 1, (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1976) and Bruce Dickey, “Ornamentation in Sixteenth-Century Music,” in A Performer’s
Guide to Renaissance Music, ed. by Jeffery Kite-Powell, 2nd ed., (Bloomington: University of Illinois
Press, 2007). For further information see the original sources mentioned in these works as well as the
edition of various diminutions on the same work by Richard Erig, Italienische Diminutionen, and the
series Ricercate e passaggi, ed. by Bernhard Thomas, London Pro Musica Editions. I would also like to
thank Thomas Leininger and Sven Schwannberger here for sharing their sources concerning essential
graces with me.
26
Silvestro Ganassi, La Fontegara, Venice, 1535; facsimile, Bologna, 1980, chap. 24–25.
27
Praetorius, Michael, Syntagma Musicum 3, (Wolfenbüttel: Elias Holwein, 1619; facsimile Kassel:
Bärenreiter, 1978), pp. 229–30. Daniel Friderici, Musica figuralis oder Newe Unterweisung der Singe
Kunst, (Rostock: Johan Richels Erben, 1638; facsimile, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2006), p. 41. Johann Andreas
Herbst, Musica Moderna Prattica, overo Maniera del Buon Canto, (Frankfurt/Main: Georg Müller 1658;
facsimile, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2006), p. 2.
145 What Skills were Expected of Professional Musicians?

it is already moving than when it is first set into motion, and a jumper jumps better
if before he jumps he takes a running start.28

Just what the word tremolo is referring to here is an issue that every musician will have
to resolve for his or herself in relation this music. Perhaps Zacconi is speaking of a reg-
ular vibrato, or maybe only of that flexible quivering of a live voice. A further possi-
bility is that Zacconi is referring to the employment of vibrato as an ornament, which
also could be seen as a path to that relaxation of the vocal organs necessary for forming
rapid passage-work.29 Zenobi himself writes that the soprano “must have an undu-
lating movement,” and later distinguishes between tremoli and ondeggiamenti. Just
what he means with l’ondeggiar and ondeggiamento is not clear: I have heard sugges-
tions ranging from vibrato, to some sort of wavy diminutions of the melodic line, to
rubato for ondeggiamento. In any case, vibrato did exist: For example, Agricola referred
to it as being a characteristic of performance on flutes and Polish violins.30 Ganassi and
Cardenus speak of the employment of finger vibrato and trills (using intervals from
the diesis to the major third) for greater expressivity, the smaller intervals generally for
more tender moments and the larger ones for greater vivacity. Luis Venegas de
Henestrosa also clearly refers both to the use of trills and vibrato on vihuela.31
Such rapid alternations between two notes are also notated in German keyboard
music from the middle of the 15th century onwards where they are called Mordanten
(mordents). Hans Buchner describes the execution of this ornament in the following
manner: The main note is held down by the middle finger and the key immediately
below it with the index finger; one then pulls the index finger away from the lower key
again and again, as if the finger were trembling.32 Martin Agricola clearly realized that
this was a different category of embellishment than diminutions when he recommends
that all instrumentalists learn to add free ornamentation or coloraturas (Coloriren) as
well as Mordanten from organists.33

28
“che il tremolo, cioè la voce tremante è la vera porta d’intrar dentro a passaggi, & di impataonirse
delle gorgie: perche con piu facilità se na và la Nave quando che prima è mossa; che quando nel prin-
cipio la si vuol movere: & il saltatore meglio salta, se prima che salta si promove al salto.” Lodovico
Zacconi, Prattica di Musica, fol. 60, translated by Bruce Dickey, “Ornamentation,” p. 315.
29
I am of the opinion that then, as now, humans had different degrees of vibration in their
voice, that it was used explicitly and at demand for greater expresivity, but that as a rule it was kept
within a narrow range; otherwise the intonation within the vocal consort would have suffered
too much.
30
Martin Agricola, Musica instrumentalis deudsch, (Wittenberg: Georg Rhau, 1529; facsimile
Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1969), sig. Biiii; Musica instrumentalis deudsch, (Wittenberg: Georg
Rhau, 1545; facsimile, ed. by Robert Eitner, Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1896), p. 26.
31
Silvestro Ganassi, La Fontegara, chap. 25; Hieronymus Cardanus, Writings on Music, translated
and edited by Clement Miller, pp. 69–70; Diana Poulton, “Graces of play in renaissance lute music,”
Early Music, 3 (1975), p. 109.
32
Hans Buchner, Sämtliche Orgelwerke, vol. 1: Fundamentum und Kompositionen der Handschrift
Basel F I 8a, ed. by Jost Harro Schmidt, Das Erbe Deutscher Musik 54 (Frankfurt: Henry Litolff ’s Verlag,
1974), p.12.
33
Martin Agricola, Musica instrumentalis deudsch, Wittenberg, 1545, p. 51v.
146 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 8.2. Examples of Redobles and Quiebros from Sancta Maria, fol. 46v-47.

fig 8.3. Examples of Tremoli and Tremoletti from Diruta, Parte Prima, fol. 10-11.

The fact that brief tremoli were considered to be a fundamental feature of keyboard
technique is made obvious by the fact that both Sancta Maria (quiebros and redobles) and
Diruta (tremoli and tremoletti) include them very shortly after introducing basic fin-
gering instructions, see Figure 8.2 and 8.3 respectively.34 Their placement and form
cannot be consistently determined, the neighboring tone is sometimes below, some-
times above the note, and often the basic ornament is accompanied by other small
neighboring notes, everything depending on the context and skill of the performer.
Sancta Maria indicates that they can be played on semibreves, minims, and at times even
on semiminims. This use is also reflected in the later English virginal music, where there
are numerous ornamental signs whose interpretation, whether as trill, mordent, or slide,
depends on the musical context and the experience and facility of the performer.
There are also various sources that indicate the use of such ornaments on the lute.35
The first is a manuscript copy of the lute book of Vincenzo Capriola made by Vitali
about 1517 in which he added ornament signs and a description of how to play them at
the beginning of the book. The ornaments involved may perhaps be mordents or
appogiaturas from below. A print by Pietro Paolo Borrono of 1568, which includes
some fantasies by Francesco di Milano, has some ornaments indicated by semicircles
in the pieces at the opening of the book for beginners. These were apparently appogia-
turas and accaciaturas from above. Wyssenbach/Formschneider in 1550 and Besardus
around 1600 both mention mordents, saying that they are best to be learned from a
master, by word of mouth. Matthias Waissel in 1592 describes mordents as being a
combination of a tone below the main note plus an alternation of the main note with
the note below, much as Hotteterre later describes the port de voix as being frequently
joined by a battement.36 Lastly Thomas Robinson in 1603 also speaks of a general rule

34
Sancta Maria, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia, chap. XIX (recte XX), fol. 46v-52; in the trans-
lation, pp. 122–138. Girolamo Diruta, Il Transilvano, fol. 9v-12, in the translation, pp. 67–70.
35
The information in this paragraph is taken from Diana Poulton’s thorough discussion of
essential graces on plucked instruments “Graces of play in renaissance lute music,” Early Music 3 (1975),
pp. 107–14. I would like to take the opportunity here of thanking Anthony Bailes for taking me through
the lute sources, and demonstrating what was meant by the descriptions within the treatises.
36
Jean-Jacques Hotteterre, in the Avertissement of Premier Livre des Pieces Pour la Flûte-traversiere,
Paris, 1715.
147 What Skills were Expected of Professional Musicians?

fig 8.4. Examples of Groppi and Trillo from Giovanni Luca Conforto, Breve e facile maniera, p. 25.

for “relishes”: “The longer the time is of a single stroke, that the more neede it hath of
a relish, for a relish will help, both to grace it, and also it helps to continue the sound
of the note his full time: but in a quicke time a little touch or jerke will serve.”37 What
can be gleaned here is that these small ornaments were part of the lutenists basic skills,
serving to bring expressivity to the musical text, as well as to continue the sound of
sustained notes.
Another category of trills is made of different forms of the groppo and the trillo, all
of which appear in a cadential situation, see Figure 8.4. The groppo usually was a rapid
alternation of two neighboring notes terminating with a four-note turn leading to the
cadence note. The turn at the end of the trill is found in essentially all examples of
groppi, even those that have been expanded and elaborated by other small embellish-
ments. The trillo, primarily a vocal ornament, consisted of an accelerating repetition of
the penultimate leading to the cadence note. Both ornaments are designed to increase
the tension just before the release associated with the cadence.
Then there are the accenti, intonazione, and esclamationi where the nomenclature
and the embellishments themselves overlapped for two or three decades. Towards the
end of the 16th century it became very popular to begin phrases or ornament an
ascending line with a rising third. This embellishment was called an accento by Zacconi
(see Figure 8.5), a clamatione by Diruta (see Figure 8.6), and represented one of the
possibilities of the intonazione for Caccini.38 Zacconi specifically states that it is to be
taken from the time of the main note. Although now associated with Caccini and the
early baroque, it is important to remember that Caccini began his career as a singer
already in 1564. Whereas he may have been part of the movement spearheading the
new seconda pratica, it seems obvious that what he wrote, most of which stems from
the 1580s, must also have contained elements of the prima pratica as well. Thus, given
the widespread use of this ornament, perhaps it was one simply used in the second half
of the 16th century as well as at the beginning of the 17th. Diruta’s use of the word accento
(see Figure 8.6), however, in which one ascends a tone at the tailend of a note in a
descending line, soon gained priority, becoming the “true accento” by 1620 according
to Rognoni.39

37
Thomas Robinson, The Schoole of Musicke, (London, 1603; facsimile, Paris: Editions du centre
national de la recherche scientifique, 1971), Plate VIII.
38
Lodovico Zacconi, Prattica di Musica, fol. 56. Girolamo Diruta, Il Transilvano, Seconda Parte,
p. 13, in the translation, pp. 65–67. Giulio Caccini, Le nuove musiche, (Florence: I Marescotti, 1601; fac-
simile, Florence: Studio per Sedizioni scelte, 1983), sig. Bv; translation in Oliver Strunk, Source Readings
in Music History: The Baroque Era, (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1965), p. 22.
39
Francesco Rognoni, Selva de varii Passaggi, (Milan: Filippo Lomazzo, 1620; facsimile, Bologna:
Forni Editore, 1970), in the Avvertimenti; Bruce Dickey, “Ornamentation,” p. 319.
148 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 8.5. Examples of Accenti from Zacconi, Prattica di Musica (1596), fol. 56.

fig 8.6 . Examples of Clamationi and Accenti from Diruta, Il Transilvano, Seconda Parte, p. 13.

For Caccini, the esclamazione was “the principal means to move the affection, and
exclamation is no other thing but the slacking of the voice to reinforce it somewhat
more”;40 this variation of the strength of the air was not necessarily connected with the
addition of notes although it could be enhanced in this manner. He also mentions the
possibility of the crescendo for one of the forms of the intonazione for opening a piece,
saying that it was a good choice for beginners. Ganassi’s description of how one learns
pronteza, namely by learning to dose one’s air in accordance to the expression required,
implies that it was expected also of instrumentalists that they make use of various
levels of dynamics. As we saw in the previous chapter, this was connected to a rhetor-
ical presentation of the text. This grace then is the technical means of attaining the
goal. And in the passage quoted previously, Zenobi also states that the ability to make
these dynamic differences is one of the requirements of a good soprano.
The reason I have gone into such detail with these essential graces is because the
application of this knowledge to vocal polyphony would have profound consequences:
by means of small gestures or by creation and resolution of unwritten dissonances
singers (of all the parts) could attain greater expressivity in service of the text, a greater
fluidity of line. We are informed by Diruta that one should use tremoli at the beginning
of a ricercare or a canzona, or anywhere else desired; and further if it is comfortable, a
tremolo “played with lightness and at the right time, can adorn all playing and make
the music light and lively.”41 Durante writes, “in the first part of any tender and solemn
composition it is necessary to begin with gravity and without passaggi, but not without
affetti.”42 And Zenobi insists that the “soprano must know how to sing the piece in its
simple form, that is, without any passaggio, but only with grace, trillo, tremolo, onde-
ggiamento, and esclamatione.” The true mastery of these embellishments will lie in dis-
covering exactly where they may be placed to achieve the greatest effect.

40
Giulio Caccini, Le nuove musiche, fol. B1, in the translation, p. 22.
41
“il tremolo fatto con leggiadria, & à proposito, adorna tutto il sonare, & fa l’armonia viva, &
leggiadra.” Girolamo Diruta, Il Transilvano, fol. 10v, in the translation, p. 69.
42
“Nel principio di qualsivoglia compositione affettuosa, & grave, si deve principiar con gravità,
e senza passaggi, ma non senza affetti.” Ottavio Durante, Arie devote, Rome, 1608, in the preface as
transcribed and translated in Donald C. Sanders, “Vocal Ornaments in Durante’s Arie devote,”
Performance Practice Review 6 (1993), p. 71.
149 What Skills were Expected of Professional Musicians?

OTHER ASPECTS OF ELOQUENT PERFORMANCE


In addition Zenobi speaks of various kinds of rhythmic license, great variety in articu-
lation and dynamics, appropriate and varied diminutions, and an understanding of
how the text may best be enunciated, all of which would enhance the rhetorical inten-
sity of a performance. Furthermore, the accomplished singer was expected to have a
complete knowledge of style for all genres of music and experience in every imaginable
performance context. It would indeed, for example, be very interesting to know just
how a daytime open-air performance should differ from one in the evening.
Zenobi went into greatest depth in regards to the criteria he prescribes for extem-
pore diminutions. The demand that the diminutions should not merely display the
singer’s virtuosity but also make rhetorical sense is similar to opinions expressed by
Nicola Vicentino:

Compositions differ according to the soggetti on which they are made. All too fre-
quently, however, certain singers pay no attention to this in their singing. They sing
unheedingly and, depending on their nature and custom, using their own specific
technique. But compositions made on various soggetti and various ideas demand
different styles of writing. Singers, therefore, must consider the intention of the
musical poet and whether the poet writes in the Latin or vernacular tongue, and
they must imitate the composition with their voices by using as many diverse tech-
niques of singing as there are diverse styles of composition. When they use such
techniques, they will be considered by the audience to be men of judgment and
masters of many styles of singing. They will also demonstrate the abundance and
richness of their many singing techniques with their talent for gorgia, or diminu-
tion, matched to the appropriate passages in the composition.43

What Vicentino has to say concretely about the use of diminutions in consort, how-
ever, does not correspond in entirety with current practice today:

There are some singers, however who display to listeners scant judgment and
consideration in their singing, for when they come upon a sad passage they sing it
joyfully and, conversely, when the passage is joyful they sing it sadly. Such persons are
advised that diminutions made in the proper places and in tempo will seem good.

43
“Differenti sono le compositioni, secondo che sono i suggetti, sopra che sono fatte, & alcuni
cantanti molte volte non avvertiscano, cantando sopra che sia fatta la compositione, & cantano senza
alcuna consideratione, & sempre à un certo suo modo, secondo la sua natura & il suo uso, & le compo-
sitioni che sono fatte sopra varij suggetti, & varie fantasie; portano seco differenti maniere di comporre,
& cosi il cantante dè considerare la mente del Poeta Musico, et cosi del Poeta volgare, ò Latino, & imi-
tare con la voce la compositione, & usare diversi modi di cantare, come sono diverse le maniere delle
compositioni, & quando usera tali modi, sarà giudicato da gli oditori huomo di giuditio, & di havere
molte maniere di cantare, & dimonstrarà esser abondante, et riccho di molti modi di cantare con la
dispositione, della gorga, ò diminuire accompagnata con le compositioni, secondo li passaggi, in suo
proposito.” Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 88 (recte 94), in the translation, pp. 299–300.
150 the performance of 16th-century music

Moreover, such diminutions should be used in [works for] more than four
voices, because diminution always causes the loss of numerous consonances and
the burden of many dissonances. Even though the diminution may seem smooth
to inexperienced listeners, it nevertheless impoverishes the harmony. To avoid los-
ing harmony in compositions while singers display a refined talent for diminution,
it is a good idea to have such diminution accompanied by instruments that play the
composition accurately, without diminution. For harmony cannot be lost through
diminution if the instrument holds the consonances for their full values. Sometimes
while a player diminishes a composition, the singer also decides to diminish the
work they are both performing. In this case, if both performers diminish simulta-
neously but fail to produce an identical passaggio in agreement with each other,
they will truly not be in accord. But if they are well-coordinated it will be good to
hear. Moreover, in compositions sung without instruments, diminutions sound
good in works for more than four voices, because wherever a consonance is missing
it is replaced by another part, either at the octave or the unison. The composition
will not be left bereft of harmony, because the singers making the diminution pro-
ceed by wandering among the parts, sometimes at the unison, sometimes at the
second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or octave—touching now one part and now
another with various consonances and dissonances—which dissonances seem
consonant without being so owing to the rapidity of the singing.44

The concept that diminutions should only be sung in works of four (or fewer) voices
if the voices are also played in their plain form on instruments—in order to avoid an
impoverishment of the “harmonic” structure—is fascinating. “Harmonic” here may
be understood as referring to the entire body of the composition, to all the lines in
their relationship to one another as Bonnie Blackburn demonstrated in her discussion

44
“ma sono alcuni cantanti che à gli oditori dimostrano il suo poco giuditio, & poca consider-
atione, quando cantano, & che ritrovano un passaggio mesto, lo cantano allegro; & poi per il con-
tario quando il passaggio è allegro lo cantano mesto. Questi tali avvertiranno che le diminutioni
quando sono fatte ne i luoghi debiti, & in tempo paiono molto buone, quelle si debbono usare à più
di quattro voci. perche la diminutione sempre perde assai consonanze, & acquista molte dissonanze,
anchora che paia delicata all’oditore non prattico di Musica, nondimeno è di perdita di armonia, &
acciò che l’Armonia non si perdi, & che la bella dispositione del diminuire, si possi dimostrare, dal
buon cantante nelle compositioni, sarà molto buona tal diminutione nelli stromenti iquali sonar-
anno la compositione giusta senza diminuire, & come sarà notata. perche con la diminutione non si
potrà perder l’armonia che lo stromento terrà le consonanze ne i suoi termini: ma quando il sonatore
diminuirà la compositione; & colui che canterà vorrà insieme diminuire la compositione, che si
sonerà, & che si canterà se ambo due diminuiranno in un tempo non facendo un passaggio medes-
imo insieme, d’accordo, non faranno buono accordo, ma quando saranno ben concertati, faranno
buono udire; poi nelle compositioni che si canteranno senza stromenti, le diminutioni saranno
buone, nelle compositioni à più di quattro voci, perche ove mancherà una consonanza, l’altra parte
la rimetterà ò con l’ottava, ò con l’unisono, & non li rimarrà povertà d’armonia: perche il cantante
andrà rivolgendo per le parti, hor con unisoni, hor con seconde, & Terze, & quarte, & Quinte, & seste,
& ottave, toccando hor in una parte, & hor in l’altra, con varie consonanze, & dissonanze, lequali per
velocità del cantare paiono buone et non sono.” Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica, fol. 88 (recte 94),
in the translation, p. 300.
151 What Skills were Expected of Professional Musicians?

of the meaning of harmonia at this time.45 Thus Vicentino apparently felt that by
singing or playing diminutions in pieces with a smaller number of voices, that the
consonant vertical sonorities were weakened to such a degree that the passing disso-
nances of the ornamenting voice were unpleasant to hear. When there were more
than four voices the harmonies were considered to be sufficiently full to support the
movement of the embellished part through the various voices, at times touching one
voice and at times another. It is possible that in this context he is thinking of the alla
bastarda diminutions, in which the ornamentation makes use of the full ambitus of
range of a voice or instrument (in particular the bass viol, or viola bastarda), skip-
ping in an elaborate fashion from part to part. Interesting to note, too, is that he
suggests that an instrument play a plain version of the part that a singer is embellish-
ing. This is the opposite of the practice today, where if parts are doubled it is usually
the singer who is supporting the instrumentalist’s virtuosity. Furthermore if two
musicians, an instrumentalist, and a singer were playing the same part there were
three possibilities for the embellishment: that only one person improvised them;
that both musicians played the same diminution; or that the musicians in some way
coordinated the ornamental passages with one another. Heterophony apparently did
not receive approbation.46
Giulio Caccini shared Zenobi’s and Vicentino’s sentiments that the affect of the
music was all too often disregarded in performance when he writes in his introduction
to Le nuove musiche of 1602 that

. . . long windings and turnings of the voice [in diminution] are ill used; for [he has]
observed that divisions have been invented, not because they are necessary unto a
good fashion of singing, but rather for a certain tickling of the ears of those who do
not well understand what it is to sing passionately; for if they did, undoubtedly
divisions would have been abhorred, there being nothing more contrary to passion
than they are.47

45
Bonnie J. Blackburn, “On Compositional Process in the Fifteenth Century,” Journal of the
American Musicological Society 40 (1987), pp. 219–233.
46
That this only represents Vicentino’s taste is perhaps revealed by Zacconi’s description of a
performance of the Osanna of Layolle’s Missa O salutaris hostia, which is based upon an ostinato.
Bonnie J. Blackburn cites him as saying that “in some chapels in which he had been and served, two
singers took the ostinato part, and where the other voices sang ‘Osanna’ the sopranos sang ‘O salutaris
hostia.’ Moreover, he had heard a performance for solo voices in which every time the ostinato returned
four other voices joined in, until all the singers present were singing. And then, on the last repetition,
the organ was added, the tempo slowed, and all the other singers stopped singing ‘Osanna’ and sang ‘O
salutaris hostia,’ something Zacconi says, that ‘can hardly be imagined for the exquisiteness of the
voices, and the beautiful passaggi that everyone strove to make over it.’,” Bonnie J. Blackburn, “Two
Treasure Chests,” p. 319.
47
“ma perche di sopra io ho detto essere malamente adoperati quei lunghi giri di voce, è d’avvertire,
che i passaggi non sono stati ritrovati per che siano necessarij alla buona maniera di cantare, ma credo
io più tosto per una certa titillatione à gli orecchi di quelli, che meno intendono che cosa sia cantare
con affetto, che se ciò sapessero indubitatamente i passaggi sarebbono abborriti, non essendo cosa più
contraria di loro all’affetto.” Giulio Caccini, Le nuove musiche, sig. B, in the translation, p. 20.
152 the performance of 16th-century music

He later goes on to say that these divisions should be used sparingly and only when the
words require it. Then, as now, the performer was faced with the task of finding the
optimal solution by which he could move the audience, show his technical prowess,
and do justice to the piece of music. And then as now every musician had to establish
his own personal priorities for each individual performance, weighing up the various
factors, much as Zenobi did.
It is enlightening—in conjunction with these criteria—to read Baldesar Castiglione’s
description of two prominent singers of his time in The Book of the Courtier (Venice,
1528), which indicate that also earlier in the century similar characteristics were valued
in the best singers:

Consider music, the harmonies of which are now solemn and slow, now very fast
and novel in mood and manner. And yet all give pleasure, although for different
reasons, as is seen in Bidon’s48 manner of singing which is so skilled, quick, vehe-
ment, impassioned, and has such various melodies that the spirits of his listeners
are stirred and take fire, and are so entranced that they seem to be uplifted to
heaven. Nor does our Marchetto Cara move us less by his singing, but only with a
softer harmony. For, in a manner serene and full of plaintive sweetness, he touches
and penetrates our souls, gently impressing a delightful sentiment upon them.49

These two descriptions bespeak the variety and depth of expression desired and
expected of the foremost singers of the time.
We are very fortunate to have the letter written by Zenobi. Due to the explicit
reason for writing his letter, he expresses himself in greater detail than other writers on
music of the period concerning the demands of excellence placed on the performer.
Although he represents the end of an era, his employment at several of the most impor-
tant courts in the latter half of the 16th century make it a document of immense impor-
tance for questions regarding historical performance practice. One might say that it
serves as a gauntlet thrown down in our paths, challenging us to move forward to
greater degrees of expression and skill.

48
For more on this singer see Lewis Lockwood, “A Virtuoso Singer at Ferrara and Rome: The Case
of Bidon,” in Papal Music and Musicians in Late Medieval and Renaissance Rome, ed. by Richard Sherr
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), pp. 224–39.
49
“Vedete la musica: le harmonie della quale hor son gravi, e tarde, hor velocissime, & di novi
modi, & vie. nientedimeno tutte dilettano, ma per diverse cause, come si comprende nella maniera dal
cantare di Bidon: la quale è tanto artificiosa, pronta, vehemente, concitata, & de cosi varie melodie, che
i spirti di chi ode tutti si commoveno, & s’infiammano, & cosi sospesi par che si levino in sino al cielo.
Ne men commove nel suo cantar il nostro Marchetto Cara, ma con piu molle armonia: che per una via
placida, & piena di flebile dolcezza intenerisce, & penetra le anime, imprimendo in esse soavemente
una dilettevole passione.” Baldesar Castiglione, Il libro del Cortegiano, (Venice: Aldo, 1528; facsimile
Rome: Bulzoni Editore, 1986), sig. Civ. Translated by Charles W. Singleton, The Book of the Courtier,
(New York: Anchor Books, 1959), p. 60.
9
score culture

Towards the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century there was a shift
from the prima to the seconda pratica, a shift that was associated not only with
musical innovation but also with a change in both the notational and performance
practices. In the opening chapter of the book, the significance of part-book or
choir-book notation for the execution and understanding of polyphony was inves-
tigated. In this chapter the first usages of score notation as well as some of the
factors leading up to this change in notation and its effect on performance practice
will be examined in relation to the shift to the seconda pratica. This discussion will
of necessity only touch on some of the most important aspects of this change, serv-
ing as it were as an opportunity for assessing the significance of part-book notation
retrospectively, looking into the question of why this notation no longer sufficed,
why it was superseded by score notation.
It seems clear that over the course of the 16th century that at least in larger churches
the organ and other instruments increasingly came to accompany the singers during
the services. This is demonstrated by the fact that in Spain, as mentioned earlier, it was
considered necessary that an organist be able to sight-read from part-books. Also there
is evidence for the late 16th century that when an insufficient number of singers was
available, the organ played their parts. Graham Dixon, for example, not only discusses
reports indicating that the organ took over some parts in performances of motets in
various churches in Rome, but also cites Viadana’s explanation for creating a new
musical style:

There have been many reasons. . . . which have induced me to compose concertos
of this kind, among which the following is one of the most important: I saw
singers wishing to sing with the organ, either with three voices, or two, or to a
single voice by itself, were sometimes forced by the lack of compositions suitable

153
154 the performance of 16th-century music

to their purpose to take one, two, or three parts from motets in five, six, seven, or
even eight. . . .1

It also seems evident that the task of the organist became increasingly difficult over
time, as the standard number of voices in a polyphonic work gradually increased from
4 to 5 or 6 and from there to 8 and more. It was no longer sensible or possible just to
play along with the individual voices.2
Before the 16th century, with the exception of intabulations for lute and organ, there
is little notated instrumental music. Such music seems to have been primarily used for
demonstrative and social purposes, for receptions, banquets, balls, and so on. As a
result, this music was largely improvisational—two or three voices playing over tenor
melodies. Much of the dance music that we have from the beginning of the 16th century
is based on simple harmonic patterns, many of which we find later represented in our
major/minor tonalities.
On the other hand, the concept of playing in consort on a family of instruments in
imitation of a choir of singers began to manifest itself at the turn of the 15th to the 16th
century. Although these consorts probably most frequently played the vocal music of
their time, music specifically for certain instruments began to be written.
At the same time, virtuoso singing, with all of its diminutions, began being imi-
tated on the instruments. As all instrumentalists seem to be fascinated by the allure of
technical difficulties—somehow it seems to replace in our minds what the singers do
with texts—these elements began being used independently from words, until gradu-
ally an instrumental style came to be developed. This style included elements both
from dance music and from polyphony, with its accompanying diminutions, but orga-
nized them in a different way, one all its own.
And finally we cannot disregard the effect that the humanistic movement had in
music, specifically in regard to the Florentine Camerata, where under the auspices of
Count Giovanni de’ Bardi a group of intellectuals and musicians and musical amateurs
got together, according to Bardi’s son, not only to play music, but also to discuss poetry,
astrology, and other sciences. This was where Vincenzo Galilei did research into Greek

1
“Molte sono state le cagioni. . . . che mi hanno indotto à comporre questa sorte di Concerti: fra le
quali questa è stata una delle principali: il vedere cioè, che volendo alle volte qualche Cantore cantare
in un’Organo ò con Tre voci, ò con Due, ò con una sola erano astretti per mancamento di compositioni
à proposito loro di appigliarsi ad Una ò Due, ò tre parti, di Motetti à Cinque, à Sei, à Sette, & anche à
Otto,” Lodovico Viadana, Cento concerti ecclesiastici, (Venice, 1602), translation in Oliver Strunk, Source
Readings in Music History: The Baroque Era, (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1965), p. 59.
Graham Dixon, “The performance of Palestrina,” Early Music xxii (1994), pp. 667–75. The foreword to
the original can be found with translation into English, German, and French at http://www.bassus-
generalis.org.
2
Otto Kinkeldey’s Orgel und Klavier in der Musik des 16. Jahrhunderts: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte
der Instrumentalmusik, (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel), 1910, still serves as a basis for discussions
concerning the use of scores in early keyboard music, cf. in particular pp. 187–215. For basic information
about proto-continuo playing, see Jack Ashworth and Paul O’Dette, “Proto-Continuo,” in A Performer’s
Guide to Renaissance Music, ed. by Jeffery Kite-Powell, 2nd ed. (Bloomington: University of Illinois
Press, 2007).
155 Score Culture

music and set out to emulate the ancient songs in a setting of the lament of Conte
Ugolino from Dante’s Inferno. In this composition words were spoken over sustained
chords in accordance with their spoken rhythm; passing dissonances were treated with
“a certain noble carelessness.” This in turn led to the earliest operas by Peri and Caccini,
and a very new way of presenting text with music.
It is then very interesting to observe how this change in musical practice and
musical content is also reflected in the way music is notated. As mentioned in Chapter
2, the only real use for vocal scores in the first half of the 16th century and the beginning
of the second half was for study purposes. Perhaps one of the clearest expressions of
this is found in Zacconi, where he writes:

I said in the preceding chapter that the student, having provided himself with
books suitable to a like profession, should score those examples and examine them
very well. And then having written them out in score on the cartella he should not
do what some do, who, having seen the way the music works, erase them and pay
them no more heed. He who is eager to learn, having done all the exercises on the
cartella just now mentioned and demonstrated above, will write all of them in a
separate book.3

That scores were considered to be objects of study is also reflected in the title of key-
board score of Cipriano de Rore’s four-part madrigals of 1577, in which it is said that
they were for performance on “any type of perfect instrument and for every scholar of
counterpoint.”4
The fact that organists were expected to play along with the choir is reflected in
diverse ways. First of all, as the century proceeds there is an increasing number of
prints of keyboard scores or intabulations of polyphonic music. Secondly, there are
various theorists who gave instructions about how one goes about creating an intabu-
lation. For example, Diruta makes the following suggestions:

First you must have the cartella lined for open score except for the last two staves,
one of which will have five lines and the other eight, as you will find in various
places. Then take the soprano part and set it on a separate staff with two beats in a
measure. Put the alto on the next staff, with the tenor and bass following in order,
as you will grasp more clearly from the examples. Having divided up all the parts,
start intabulating the soprano on the five-line staff with two beats per measure.

3
“Ho detto nel Capitolo precedente che lo Scolare provistosi de libri atti à simil professione, par-
tischi quegl’essempi, e gl’essamini ben bene. E perche partitoli in cartella non facesse come fanno
alcuni, che vedutone gl’andamenti e le maniere, li cancellano, e non ne fanno più conto; questo tale che
bramarà d’imparare, fattone in cartella tutte le sudette prove poco fa accennate, e dimostrate di sopra,
ne li noterà tutti in un libro appartato,” Lodovico Zacconi, Prattica di Musica Seconda Parte, p. 162;
translation by Jessie Ann Owens, Composers at Work, p. 82.
4
“. . . . spartiti et accommodati per sonar d’ogni sorte d’Instrumento perfetto, & per / Qualunque
studioso di Contrapunti.” Cipriano de Rore, Tutti i Madrigali / di Cipriano di Rore / a quattro voci,
Venice: Angelo Gardano 1577.
156 the performance of 16th-century music

Then intabulate the bass on the eight-line staff. Be careful to place the notes right
under those of the soprano and also to turn the stems of the soprano up and those
of the bass down so that you can better accomodate the inner parts.5

The illustration of this procedure may be seen in Figure 9.1. He then goes on to say
that after one has practiced awhile in this manner, one can begin directly notating the
pieces in the keyboard score. So here we see a situation where a full score is being used
as a middle-step towards making a keyboard score or intabulation.
Further there are a number of books of ricercares published in part-book format
that are said to be for all instruments, including organists, by composers such as Buus,
Merulo, Maschera and others, which later appeared as keyboard scores. Their purpose
is indicated by the third edition in keyboard format of Fiorenzo Maschera’s canzoni,
which is specifically for “i professori d’Organo,” that implies that playing ricercare was
part of the required repertoire for 16th century organ students. This is later reflected by
Girolamo Frescobaldi’s publication of his ricercares in 1615 in full score. From this we
can conclude that he considered it necessary for a professional organist to be able to
play from full score.
Various precursors to basso continuo playing also reveal themselves through their
notation. The Verovio prints of the 1590s, for example, have mensural part-books as
well as keyboard and lute intabulations of all of the works, and Banchieri’s Concerti
Ecclesiastici of 1595 were printed with part-books and a “spartitura per sone nel organo.”
This score, however, only contained the soprano part of the first choir and the bass.
Another fascinating possibility is revealed by Joseph Gallus’s first book of sacred pieces,
Totius Libri primi / Sacri Operis (Milan, 1598), which includes a selection of pieces for
two choirs in full score, organ basses for various others, and three instrumental works
in full score.
All of the pieces stemming from the innovations stimulated by the Florentine
Camerata were to my knowledge published in some sort of score form. Similarly,
Luzzasco Luzzaschi printed his progressive madrigals for the “concerto di donne,”
Madrigali per cantare et sonare a uno, doi, e tre soprani (Rome, 1601) in score form. In
Figure 9.2 from Troppo ben pur questo tiranne Amore two things are noticeable. First of
all, one immediately sees that having something appear in score at that time does not
necessarily mean that the parts were lined up directly above one another. Secondly, it
is evident that the organ basically plays an unornamented version of the upper voices,
just adding a bass to them all. If one thinks back to the Vicentino quotation on

5
“Prima dovete haver la cartella rigata, e partita, eccetto le due ultime poste, delle quali una sarà di
cinque righe, & l’altra di otto, come trovarete in diversi luoghi: e poi pigliarete la parte del Soprano, &
lo partirete à due battute per casella. Nella seguento posta il Contr’alto, seguitando poi con l’istesso
ordine il Tenore, & il Basso, come per gli essempij più chiaramente intenderete. Divise c’haverete tutte
le parti, incominciarete ad intavolare il Soprano nelle cinque righe à due battute per casella; e poi
intavolarete il Basso sopra le otto righe: Avertendo di fare le notte dritte à quelle del Soprano, & che le
gambe delle Notte del Soprano siano voltate in sù & quelle del Basso in giù, per poter meglio accomo-
dare le parti di mezo.” Girolamo Diruta, Seconda Parte Transilvano, Libro Primo, pp. 1–2; in the trans-
lation, book II, p. 4.
157 Score Culture

fig 9.1. Girolamo Diruta, Ricercare A 4, Seconda Parte del Transilvano, p.5.
158 the performance of 16th-century music

fig 9.2. Luzzasco Luzzaschi, excerpt from Troppo ben pur questo tiranne Amore, from Madrigali per
Cantare et Sonare, (Rome, 1601, facsimile Florence: Studie per Edizioni Scelte, 1980), p. 28.

performing diminutions in consort, this is an indication of a practice where the


accompanying instrument, in this case the organ, sustains the simple parts to keep
the harmony full, while the singers in the meantime perform virtuoso diminutions.
And finally after the turn of the century we have the beginning of the basso con-
tinuo practice, with all that this implies. Banchieri writes that there were three ways in
which the continuo was written. First of all, there were the continuo parts that included
the soprano above the bass. This he considered to be very useful because one could
then see the outer parts and take the accidentals into consideration. Secondly, there
159 Score Culture

were barred bass parts where the accidentals were noted before the notes so that one
could know what thirds and tenths to play. And last of all there were bass parts without
figures, which demanded a perfect ear if one were not to misjudge the intervals above
the bass.6 And this is indeed what one finds in the early basso continuo prints.
What implication does this have for performance? First of all, in my opinion it sug-
gests that when an organist accompanied an ensemble of singers in the 16th century, he
restricted himself to playing along with the unadorned parts, that this was seen to be
his function. The fact that this practice continued into the early 17th century is seen in
pieces like the madrigals of Luzzaschi.
This is substantiated by Diruta in the second Seconda Parte del Transilvano
(Venice, 1609):

One cannot give secure rules [about playing a Basso generale], considering that one
cannot know what to do without seeing the consonances which the other parts
form over the Basso generale. From this, so many errors in dissonances arise. Say
that you play a fifth or twelfth above the bass, but the vocal composition has a sixth
or thirteenth; the result is a second and strong dissonance. Similarly, when the
composition has a fourth or second, and instead of this one uses a third or some
other consonance, a double dissonance results. This is true, for having realized
such errors, they mark fourths, sixths, and sevenths with numbers, namely over the
sixth they write a 6, over the fourth a 4, and over the seventh a 7. But they do not
indicate in what part they ought to be played. They say that practice and careful
listening are necessary for this. My answer is that when the singers stand near the
organist he can easily recognize and hear those parts that have the sixth, fourth, or
other dissonances. But when they are at a distance, it will be impossible for the one
playing the Basso continuato not to commit errors. He will never play all the parts
of the composition and always achieve a harmony. So that you do not give in to this
laziness, make an open score of the music and play all the parts. This makes good
listening and does not lead to anything incorrect.7

6
Adriano Banchieri, Conclusioni nel suono dell’organo, (Bologna: eredi di Gio. Rossi, 1609; facsimile
Bologna: Forni Editore, 1981), p. 25.
7
“Non si può dar regola sicura, atteso che non si può sapere senza vedere le consonanze, che fanno
l’altre parte sopra quel Basso generale; e di qui viene, che si commettono tanti errori di dissonanze: voi
farete una quinta, over duodecima sopra il Basso, la compositione di quel Canto farà sesta, over deci-
materza; ecco che ne nasce una seconda, e fa gran dissonanza; similmente la compositione farà una
quarta, over seconda; e in cambio di quelle se farà una terza, ò altre consonanze, che vengono à fare
doppia dissonanza. E che ciò sia vero, avvedutosi di tali errori segnano le quarte, seste, e settime con li
numeri, cioè sopra la sesta fanno un 6, sopra la quarta un 4, e sopra la settima un 7, mà non mettono
con qual parte si habbino à fare: dicono che bisogna farci pratica, e stare attento con l’orrechia; io li
rispondo che quando li cantori staranno appresso all’Organista, facilmente potrano conoscere, e sen-
tire quelle parti, che fanno sesta, quarta, over altre dissonanze: ma quando saranno di lontano, impos-
sibil sarà che non commetta errori quello che sonerà sopra il Basso continuato non mai sonerà tutte le
parti della compositione, e sempre farà un’Armonia. Si che non vi date a questa poltronarla, spartite li
canti, e sonate tutte le parti, che sarete bel sentire, e non nascerà inconveniente alcuno.” Girolamo
Diruta, Seconda Parte Transilvano, Libro Quarto, p. 16, in the translation, p. 144.
160 the performance of 16th-century music

Even Agazzari, in his book Del sonare sopra il basso of 1607, emphasized the same qual-
ities all of the 16th century theorists demanded of a good musician:

First he must know counterpoint (or at least sing with assurance, understand pro-
portions and tempora, and read in all the clefs) and must know how to resolve
dissonances with consonances, how to distinguish the major and minor thirds and
sixths, and other similar matters. Second, he must know how to play his instru-
ment well, understanding its tablature or score, and must be very familiar with its
keyboard or finger board in order not to have to search painfully for the conso-
nances and beats during the music, knowing that his eye is busy watching the parts
before him. Third, he must have a good ear in order to perceive the movements of
the parts in their relation to one another. Of this I do not speak, for I could not say
anything that would help those poor in it by nature.
But to come to the point, I conclude that no definite rule can be laid down
for playing works where there are no signs of any sort, it being necessary to
be guided in these by the intention of the composer. . . . As no definite rule can be
given, the player must necessarily rely upon his ear and follow the work and its
progressions.8

Agazzari’s instructions for the realization of the figures above the bass is strikingly sim-
ilar those found in the earlier counterpoint texts, indicating how the musical theoret-
ical traditions continued to be embedded in new musical contexts.
Banchieri on the other hand—obviously an excellent organist—reflected more
generally on this apparent divide between organists from the past and those of the new
generation writing that:

. . . because it is easy to practise [basso continuo], many organists succeed well in


concerts today. But caught in their vainglory about being so secure in playing in
ensemble, they no longer care to weary themselves with fantasies and score reading,
which have made many worthy men immortal. So that in no time there will be two

8
“. . . . prima saper contraponto, ò per lo meno cantar sicuro, ed intender le proporzioni, e tempi, e
legger per tutte le chiavi, saper risoluer le cattive con le buone, conoscer le 3. e 6. maggiori, e minori, et
altre simiglanti cose. Seconda deve saper suonar bene il suo stromento, intendendo l’intavolatura, ò
spartitura, et haver molta prattica nella tastatura, ò manico del medesimo, per non star à mendicar le
consonanze, e cercar le botte, mentre si canta, sapendo che l’occhio è occupato in guardar le parti posteli
davanti. Terza deve haver buon orecchio, per sentir lo movimento, che fanno le parti infra di loro; del che
non ne ragiono, per non poter’io col mio discorso farglielo buono, havendolo cattivo dalla natura.
Ma per venir’all’atto, conchiudo che non si può dar determinata regola di suonar l’opere, dove non
sono segni alcuni, conciosia che bisogna obedir la mente del componitore. . . . Non potendosi dar regola
ferma, bisogna necessariamente à chi suona, valersi dell’orecchio, e secondar l’opera, e suoi movi-
menti.” Agostino Agazzari, Del sonare sopra il basso, (Siena: Domenico Falcini, 1607), pp. 4–5; transla-
tion in Oliver Strunk, Source Readings in Music History: The Baroque Era, (New York: W. W. Norton &
Company, Inc., 1965), pp. 65–66. This text can be found with translation into English, German, and
French at http://www.bassus-generalis.org.
161 Score Culture

classes of players: on the one hand organists, that is those who practice good score-
reading and the playing of fantasies, and on the other bass players, who conquered
by laziness, are content merely to play the bass. . . . I do not mean to say that playing
above a basso seguente is not useful and easy. But I do indeed say that each organist
must seek to play it according to good rules.9

It is of interest to note here that Banchieri does not even deign to call a continuo player
an organist, but merely a “bass player.” Thus even at the time there were conflicting
ideas about the role of the organist in a concerted piece, ranging from the aesthetic of
having the organ simply play an unornamented version of the polyphonic work, to one
with comparative freedom over the bass.
It is relatively ironic that a performance custom, namely the accompaniment of an
ensemble of singers with the organ, a custom that was certainly designed to enhance
the sense of coherence and strength of the individual voices, in the end shared the
burden of making the independence of the individual voices void. For in melding the
individual voices into a single entity, the score decreased the delicate strength and free-
dom of the individual line. And this in turn is a reflection of the revolutionary turning
point in music at the time, the transition from the prima pratica to the seconda.

9
“. . . . per essere cosa facile da praticarsi, molti Organisti al giorno d’hoggi riescono eccellenti nel
concerto, ma vinti da tale vana gloria di essere sicuri in concerto, non curano più d’affaticarsi in fan-
tasia, & spartiture, le quali sono quelle, che hanno immortalat[i. . . . di]versi valent’huomini, si che
senz’altro frà poco tempo vi saranno dui classe di suonatori, parte Organisti, cioè quelli, che praticher-
anno le buone spartiture, & fantasie, & altri bassisti, che vinti da cotale infingardaggine si contenter-
anno suonare semplicemente il Basso. . . . Non dico già, che il suonare sopra il Basso seguente, non sia
utile, & facile; Ma dico bene, che ogni Organista dovria cercare di suonarlo con le buone regole.”
Adriano Banchieri, Conclusioni, pp. 24–25.
10
conclusion

In a very thought-provoking article, Andreas Haug speaks of how our current view
of history as a “construction,” an “invention” of those who write it, seems to have
made it more difficult to enter into the dialogue between “history” and “performance
practice,” as our aesthetic perception is given an importance far outweighing the
information found in the sources. He asked whether our attempts at dialogue with
the sources have not declined to the extent of becoming a kind of autistic mono-
logue.1 While admitting that we can never hope to create an “authentic” performance,
as our world—its politics, its industry, its aesthetics, its sense of time—have changed
entirely since the 16th century, we can nonetheless gain greater understanding of the
music if we try and perceive it from the point of view of those who conceived it, if
we, so to speak, attempt to walk in their footsteps. By engaging in a dialogue with
the theorists, who were often explaining their music to the best of their abilities in
order to teach schoolboys to sing it, we gain greater insight into their approach to
the music. Although we can never claim to know how the music was really per-
formed, at least we can see if our understanding of what the theorists write brings a
perceptible positive benefit to our performance today. In doing so, we will at the
same time at least learn more about the music as we will be investing time in under-
standing its essence.
Although in this book we have been examining many basic aspects of 16th-century
music in relation to its performance, it cannot be said to be merely a tutor, in which
rules for the practice are laid down. Rather, by entering into dialogue with the theoret-
ical sources, I have tried to indicate how our unquestioned view of this music has hin-
dered an investigation of how it was comprehended at the time. In looking at the
fundamentals laid down by 16th-century theorists, it becomes obvious that many of the

1
Andreas Haug, “Improvisation und mittelalterliche Musik: 1983 bis 2008,” Basler Jahrbuch für
historische Musikpraxis 31 (2007), particularly p. 31.

162
163 Conclusion

concepts, such as solmization, mode, cadences, and compositional structure, bear


greater relation to medieval music rather than to our own.
In selecting the individual topics to be covered, I have attempted to seek out those
elements that have the potential of affecting performance to the very core. These range
from the basic concepts of the time concerning music, such as how the parts were seen
to be related to one another, to more tangible things, like solmization, articulation,
cadences and mode. For me, understanding how these various elements work together
to form a whole is prerequisite for a good performance. That this is merely the starting
point, however, is substantiated by Diruta when he wrote:

In sum, if you wish to attain perfection in this beautiful and ingenious science, it is
not enough for you to understand only what I have discussed. You must study
many pieces, like different ricercari, Masses, canzonas, motets, and madrigals, and
memorize them well. Ricercari, motets, and Masses help you to improvise well,
canzonas to play quickly, and madrigals to achieve different harmonic effects.2

What he is saying is that it is not sufficient to be proficient in the basic skills, but that
one then has to study (and memorize) many pieces in order to know how to make use
of them.
To these skills we need to add what we know about rhetoric of the time, we need to
figure out what made these pieces moving to contemporaries in order to be able to
communicate their contents to a modern audience. This involves not only a knowledge
of the structure of the music, but also all of the rhetorical competencies ascribed to a
good soprano by Zenobi. For example, the addition of essential graces to all of the
parts of a polyphonic work would affect its performance dramatically.
At the same time, just how this understanding of the fundamentals is applied in the
actual performance of the music today is something that must of necessity be left up to
each individual performer. Each of us must decide how to differentiate hard and soft
solmization syllables, what it means to bring out an evaded cadence, how to apply
essential graces to the individual voices, and so on. Each of us must decide how we can
make use of the rhetorical guidelines of the 16th century within the context of the 21st
century. This, of course, will be different for each person, each ensemble, each audi-
ence, in sum for each context.
In my opinion we have only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible in the
performance of this repertoire. To truly do it justice we will need to spend much time
studying it, memorizing it, learning the significance their texts had within the society
of the time. We will need to begin learning all the skills that were expected of 16th-century
musicians at the time, ranging from singing or playing from the parts, to improvising

2
“In somma volendo arrivare alla perfettione di questa bella, & artificiosa scienza, non vi basta solo
haver l’intelligenza di tutto questo che vi ho trattato, mà vi è necessario di studiare molte cose, & pos-
sederle bene alla mente, come diversi Ricercari, Messe, Canzoni, Motetti, & Madrigali. Li Ricercari,
Motetti, & Messe, vi fanno fare buona fantasia, le Canzone sonare allegro, & li Madrigali variate effetti
d’Armonia.” Girolamo Diruta, Seconda Parte Transilvano, Libro Quarto, p. 16, in the translation, p. 143.
164 the performance of 16th-century music

counterpoint, to performing the music by heart. We will need to explore different


forms of rhetorical presentation with an open mind.
And this is where the challenge lies for all of us who love this music. I am convinced
that if we truly enter into this dialogue with the historical sources and if we have the
courage to put our understanding of them into practice, our performance of the music
will gain immeasurably in eloquence.
appendix: modal characteristics

DORIAN
1. Melodic Structure

dorian 1.1. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 44v.

dorian 1.2. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 48v.

dorian 1.3. Michel de Menehou, Nouvelle instruction familiere, Paris, 1558, sig. Biiiv.

165
166 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

dorian 1.4. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. I3v.

dorian 1.5 . Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 55.
(Although this example is entitled “Quarto Modo”, it is clearly referring to the “Primo Modo”, both contextually and
musically.)
167 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

2. Cadence Points
Banchieri “per voci”: d, F, a (p. 113)
Cerone d, a, “clausulas de passo”: F, G, C (p. 883)
Diruta d, F, a (p. 3)
Dressler d, a, “minus principales”: F, e (pp. 156–57)
Herbst d, a, F (p. 69)
Lanfranco C, d, F, G, a (p. 109)
Pontio d, a, “per transito”: F, G, C (pp. 99–100)
Sancta Maria d, a (fol. 67v)
Sweelinck d, a, F (p. 137)
Vanneus C, d, F, G, a (fol. 89v)
Vicentino d, e, F, G, C (fol. 55; incorrectly notated as fol. 53)
Zarlino d, F, a (p. 320)

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Cochlaeus (Tetrachordum musices, Nuremberg, 1511):
Prothi Dorius, 1., Qui procedit per Morosum & curialem tenorem (sig. Cii)
Protus, which contains Dorian, 1, moving in a serious, courtly manner. (p. 47)

3.2. Gaffurius (De Harmonia Musicorum Instrumentorum Opus,


Liber Quartus, Milan, 1518):
In gravioribus igitur rebus prisca illa aetas dorium tantum modulum admittebat: quippe quae que
perpetuam constantiam & severitatem adamasset: nec quicquam versutum aut occultum sed sim-
plicia omnia apertaque probaret: dorium ipsum elegit: corporis perspicuitatem doricam existim-
antes. Dores. n. distincti erant ac tunicis saepius utebantur. Priscam itaque doricam illam virilem &
benemoratam musicam admiratur Plato: eam quae postea mollis ac petulans introducta est docens
esse contemnendam ut primo theoricae nostrae notatum est. (fol. LXXXIIIv)
In the more serious matters the ancients admitted only the Dorian mode since they truly loved
its perpetual constancy and severity. They did not approve anything deceitful or occult but
anything simple and open. They chose the Dorians alone and considered the Dorian perspi-
cuity of body, for the Dorians were distinctive and often wore tunics. So Plato admired the
virile and serious Dorian music; the soft and effeminate music introduced later he said should
be disdained, as is shown in Book I of our Theorica. (p. 180)

Ipse autem Plato Doricam harmoniam que fortitudinem & temperantiam commisceret admisit
atque comprobavit: non ignarus in illis quippiam etiam esse quod tuendae rei publicae conduceret ut
inquit Aristoxenus secundo musicorum. Credendum. n. Platonem ipsum Musicae non mediocrem
operam indulsisse: quippe qui & Dracontem atheniensem in musicis audierat et Metellum agrigenti-
num. Phrygiae is doricam praetulit harmoniam quia haec illa gravior est: Illa bellicae rei aptior:
Modulationibus namque suis Dores congruam celsi animi magnitudinem atque amplitudinem rep-
resentant. Phryges vero quanta sit vis et impetus perturbationum facile declarant. (fol. LXXXIIII)
Plato approved and admitted the Dorian harmony because it combined fortitude and temperance,
but he was not ignorant of any others conducive to preserving the republic, as Aristoxenus says in
Book II of Musica. For it is believed that Plato had considerable interest in music, since he heard the
168 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

Arthenian Draco and Metellus of Agrigentum perform music. He preferred the Dorian harmony to
the Phrygian because of its great seriousness. It [Phrygian] is more appropriate for military action,
and the Dorians showed a congruent magnitude and amplitude of noble thought in their melodies.
Yet the Phrygians easily showed disorder, however much there may be force and vigor. (pp. 180–81)

Namque Dorium ad graviores animi affectus & motus corporis aptissimum Vates phleugmatis
motorem existimarunt. (fol. LXXXIIIIv)
For the Dorian, very appropriate for more serious mental dispositions and bodily movements,
was considered by the seers as the mover of phlegm. (p. 182)

Veteres iccirco ipsi Dorium modum ad recte ac benevivendum ducem & magistrum incredi-
bili observatione profitebantur. (fol. LXXXV)
Thus the ancients extolled the Dorian mode as the leader of a correct and good manner of
living, and as a teacher of extraordinary value. (p. 182)

3.3. Lanfranco (Scintille di musica, Brescia, 1533):


La natura del qual Tuono: secondo che recita Franchino nella sua Harmonia: si accommoda a
gli affetti gravi dell’animo & a i movimenti gravi del corpo. (p. 109)
The nature of this mode, according to that which Franchino says in his Harmonia [is] suitable
for serious [gravi] affects of the soul and for weighty [gravi] movements of the body.

3.4. Vanneus (Recanetum de musica aurea, Rome, 1533):


Primus tonus hilaris. Quum igitur Primus tonus Autenticus naturaliter sit canorus, iocundus,
hilaris, & plurimum animi affectus excitans, illius modi etiam verba vel vulgaria, vel latina, sibi
copulari exigit, ad quae verba cum habilis existat, a Musicis habilis nuncupatur tonus. (fol. 92v)
The first tone is very cheerful. Since, then, the first tone, an Authentic, is naturally tuneful,
jocund, cheerful, and especially apt to excite the emotions of the soul, this mode demands that
words, either in the vernacular or in Latin, be coupled with it; and since it is adaptable to these
words, it is called by musicians the adaptable tone. (p. 375)

3.5. Agricola (Rudimenta musices, Wittenberg, 1539):


Laudis et modestiae verba, iucundas exigunt cantiones, quod primo, quinto et octavo tono
adscribi solitum est. (sig. Dij)
Words of praise and temperance require pleasant melodies, which are customarily assigned to
the first, fifth and eighth modes. (p. 367)

3.6. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):


Prior Modus, quo nomine ipsa diapason vocant, Dorius est, harmonicôs mediatus in a parvo,
primus nunc vulgo habent, omnium Modorum celeberrimus, à Luciano Σεμυὸς, id est severus,
ab Apuleio bellicosus, ab aliis prudentiae largitor, castitatis effector (ita enim illi loquunt)
dictus. Quidam adhuc elegantius scilicet, eum morose ac curialiter procedere aiunt. Hinc
Plato in Lachete Virum de virtute ac sapientia dignè, ac ut virum decet, differentem, cuius
169 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

sermo operibus non dissonat, δωςισὶ loqui putat, non ι̉ασὶ. Sed necque φρυγισὶ, necque
λυδισι. Solam enim doricam Harmoniam esse graecam. . . .
Dorius. . . . Maiestatem quandam ac gravitatem praese fert, quam admirari facilius sit,
quàm explicare. Heroicis carminibus aptissimus, quod ipse olim iuvenis coràm Maxaemyliano
inclyto Caesare expertus sum Agrippinę in praesentia multorum principum, non absque mer-
itae lauri (absit verbo invidia) praemio. (p. 118)
The first mode [of the two modes in the D octave] is the Dorian, called by the name of the octave
itself, divided harmonically at small a, commonly called the first mode, the most famous of all; it is
called σεμυὸς, or grave, by Lucian, martial by Apuleius, “dispenser of prudence” and “producer of
purity,” (for so they speak), by others. Some say with still more restraint that it moves morosely and
in a dignified way. Hence Plato in Laches thinks that a man worthy through merit and knowledge
(as it is fitting for one whose speech does not disagree with his deeds), speaks the Dorian dialect, not
the Ionian, but neither the Phrygian nor the Lydian, for only the Doric harmony is Grecian. (p. 155)
. . . . the Dorian presents a certain majesty and dignity which is easier to admire than to
explain. It is very suitable for heroic poetry, as I have myself experienced at one time as a youth
in Cologne in the presence of the celebrated Kaiser Maximilian and many princes, not without
the reward of the merited laurel branch (which is said without boasting). (p. 156)

3.7. Vicentino (L’antica musica ridotta alla


moderna prattica, Rome, 1555):
Il primo Modo adunque sarà di natura piacevole et divoto, & havrà più dell’onesto che del
lascivo; Questo Modo è stato molto celebrato, da i popoli Dorij, i quali cantavano le lor lode,
& suoi gran fatti, con questo primo Modo, (che Boetio, & altri Filosofi lo domandano Modo
Dorio) detto da i sopra detti popoli. (fol. 44v)
The first mode, then is of an agreeable and devout nature, and it seems more virtuous than wanton.
This mode was very honored by the Dorian people who sang their songs in praise of great deeds it it.
For this reason Boethius and other philosophers called it the Dorian mode after this people. (p. 140)

3.8. Finck (Practica musica, Wittenberg, 1556):


Dorius authenticorum primus, alacriorem ex omnibus melodiam habet, somnolentos excitat,
tristesque & perturbatos recreat. Primas autem hic inter tonos obtinet, & Soli, qui Planetarum
princeps iudicatur, non ineptè confertur: Perinde enim ut Sole spargente suos radios, reliquo-
rum syderum omnium lux obscuratur, ipse tenebrae discutiuntur, cuius simul naturae pro-
prium est humida exiccare, cunctaque calore suo fovere: Ita hic tonus animos excitat, curas
arcet, moerorem, acediam & somnolentiam ex copia phlegmatis existentem, actutum removet.
Unde non immerito insigniores textus huic Melodiae accomodantur, sicut & Musicorum
praestantissimi hodie hoc tono plurimum utuntur. (sig. Rr iiiv)
Dorian, the first of the authentic modes, has a livelier melodic progression than all of the others,
and wakes the sleepy, and refreshes the sad and troubled. This one claims its position as the first
[prince] among the modes and it is not unsuitably compared with the Sun which is held to be
the prince of the planets: namely just as the sun which sends out its rays will darken the light of
all the other stars [and] darkness itself is dispersed. As it is the natural property of the sun to
dry up dampness and favor everything with its heat, thus this mode stimulates the souls, keeps
cares away, immediately removes melancholy, moodiness and sleepiness caused by a copious
amount of phlegm. Therefore it is not without justice that more significant texts are suited to
this melody [mode] and also that the most eminent musicians today use this mode.
170 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.9. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche, Venice, 1558):


Et perche il Primo modo hà un certo mezano effetto tra il mesto, & lo allegro; per cagione del
Semiditono, che si ode nel concento sopra le chorde estreme della Diapente, & della Diatessaron;
non havendo altramente il Ditono dalla parte grave; per sua natura è alquanto mesto. Però
potremo ad esso accommodare ottimamente quelle parole, le quali saranno piene di gravità,
& che trattaranno di cose alte, & sententiose; accioche l’harmonia si convenghi con la materia,
che in esse si contiene. (p. 322)
The first mode has a certain effect midway between sad and cheerful because of the semiditone
which is heard in the concentus above the extreme notes of the diapente and diatesseron, and
because of the absence of the ditone in the lower part [of the diapente]. By nature this mode is reli-
gious and devout and somewhat sad; hence we can best use it with words that are full of gravity and
that deal with lofty and edifying things. In this way the harmony is suited to the subject matter of the
words. (p. 58)

3.10. Tallis (The whole psalter translated into English Metre,


London, 1567/8):
The first is meek: devout to see. (p. 193)

3.11. Padavano (Institutiones, Verona, 1578):


Laudis et modestiae verba medios quodammodo illos exigunt, quod primus, itemque octavus
toni optimè prestant. (p. 14)
Words of praise and virtue require, to a certain degree, those middle [sounds] for which the
first and eighth modes are particularly appropriate. (p. 372)

3.12. Pontio (Ragionamento di musica, Parma, (1588):


Ancora sarà buono il compositore avertisca di pigliare un Tuono appropriato alle parole; come
sarebbe à dire se le parole saranno meste pigliare un Tuono mesto, come il Secondo, Quarto,
et Sesto, se anco le parole mostreranno allegrezza, pigliare uno de gli altri Tuoni. (p. 148)
It is also a good idea for the composer to take care to choose a mode appropriate to the words,
that is, if the words are sad, to choose a sad mode, such as the second, fourth and sixth, yet if
the words display happiness, to choose one of the other modes. (p. 372)

3.13. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


Questo tuono sonato nelli suoi tasti naturali rende l’Armonia grave, & modesta.(p. 4)
Played untransposed, this tone makes the harmony severe and simple. (p. 103)

3.14. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Porro hic Modus, non contemnendam majestatem ac Gravitatem, Es ist ein feiner erbar Modus,
competit modestis rebus ac materijs (miram, cum alacritatem, tum suavitatem præ se fert, & non
raro supra systema ad tertiam usque levatur idque per licentiam Musicorum, juxta Glareanum,
17 1 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

qui Modos cum fluvio comparat, alveum nonnunquam implente, nonnunquam excedente, non-
nunquam deficiente) præsert im cum peculiarem laetitiam declaraturus est, ab Apulejo Religiosus,
à Luciano σεμνὸς id est, Severus: ab alijs prudentiae largitor & castitatis effector nominatur. De
hoc modo sic Franchgius inquit. Pythagoreorum consilium fuit, interdiu Hypodorij Cantionibus
curas levare & Dorio noctu experrectos ad intermissa studia reverti. (sig. I3–I3v)
Further this mode—which has a majesty and dignity which is not to be held in contempt,
Es ist ein feiner erbar [it is a fine, upright] mode—is suitable for modest things and and mat-
ters. (It displays marvellous joy and sweetness and is not rarely extended up to a third above
the system, and this because of the license of the musicians according to Glarean who com-
pares the modes with a river which sometimes fills the riverbed, sometimes overflows it, and
sometimes dries up.) In particular, because it will show extraordinary joy, it is called “pious”
by Apuleius, “semnos” or “serious” by Lucian, by others “donor of prudence” and “instigator
of chastity.” Franchinus spoke in this manner about the mode: the recommendation of the
Pythagoreans was to relieve cares during the day by means of Hypodorian songs and to awaken
[people] at night by Dorian ones, [so they] may return to their interrupted studies.

3.15. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Dorius ist gar prächtig / darneben frölich / lustig / frewdig / und Majestätisch / derohalben
wird er im Christlichen Ceremonien, und Gottesdienst sehr und viel gebraucht. (p. 101)
Dorian is very brilliant, and in addition cheerful, gay, joyful and majestic, and for that reason
it is used very often in Christian ceremonies and church services.

3.16. Sweelinck (“Über die acht, respektive zwölf


Tonarten,” 17th Century):
Der primus Tonus ist von Natur nicht heftig, noch traurig, noch fröhlich, sondern lieblich und
gehört zu der Art, welche man “gravis et sentiosa” nennt. (p. 138)
By nature the first mode is neither severe nor sad, nor cheerful, but agreeable and belongs to
the kind which one calls “serious and sententious.”

4. Clefs
4.1. Dorian

Appendix Table 4.1 Dorian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 Beringer C3 Bona C4 Beringer F4 Bona


Bona Cerone Bona Cerone
Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Galilei

(continued )
172 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

Appendix Table 4.1 Continued

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 Cerone C3 Nucius C4 Cerone F4 Herbst


Diruta Rodio Diruta Nucius
Herbst Sweelinck Galilei Praetorius
Nucius Vicentino Herbst Rodio
Pontio Nucius Sancta Maria
Praetorius Pontio Sweelinck
Rodio Rodio Vicentino
Sancta Maria Sancta Maria
Sweelinck Sweelinck
Vicentino Vicentino
Zarlino Zarlino

C2 Sancta Maria F5 Calvisius

4.2. Transposed Dorian


Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Dorian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 flat Beringer C2 flat Bona C3 flat Beringer F3 flat Herbst


Bona Cerone Bona Praetorius
Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Rodio
Cerone Rodio Cerone Sancta Maria
Herbst Sweelinck Galilei Sweelinck
Pontio Herbst
Praetorius Pontio
Rodio Rodio C4 flat Bona
Sweelinck Sancta Maria F3 flat Cerone
Sweelinck Galilei

G1 flat Sancta Maria C1 flat Sancta Maria F4 flat Calvisius

Calvisius writes that there are many examples in both systems.


173 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

HYPODORIAN
1. Melodic Structure

hypodorian 1.1 Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 45.

hypodorian 1.2 Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 48v.

hypodorian 1.3 Michel de


Menehou, Nouvelle instruction
familiere, Paris, 1558, sig. Biiiv.

hypodorian 1.4 Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. [I4].
174 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

hypodorian 1.5. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 55v.

2. Cadence Points

Banchieri “per voci humane”: B-flat, d, g (i.e. transposed Dorian, p. 115)


Cerone d, a, “clausulas de passo”: F, C, G (p. 885)
Diruta d, a, F (p. 3)
Dressler g, B-flat, d, “minus principalis”: a (i.e., transposed Dorian, pp. 156–57)
Herbst a, d, F (p. 70)
Lanfranco a, C, d, F (p. 109)
Pontio d, a, “per transito”: F, G, C (pp. 104–05)
Sancta Maria d, F, a (passing and subtonal) (fol. 67v)
Sweelinck a, d, F (p. 139)
Vanneus a, C, d, F, G (fol. 89v)
Vicentino a, C, d, F, e, G (fol. 55v; incorrectly notated as 53v)
Zarlino a, F, d (p. 323)

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Cochlaeus (Tetrachordum musices, Nuremberg, 1511):
Prothi Hypodorius, 2., Qui procedit per raucam gravitatem (sig. Cii)
Protus, which contains . . . . Hypodorian, 2, moving with harsh severity.
175 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.2. Gaffurius (De Harmonia Musicorum Instrumentorum Opus,


Liber Quartus, Milan, 1518):
Nam quos Dorii modulatio ad modestiam & virilem constantiam disponebat: hypodorii
modulatione revocatos: & ipsius gravitate moduli ad segniciem atque desidiam delapsos fer-
unt. Pythagoreorum namque consilium fuit: in terdiu hypodorii cantionibus curas levare: at
doricis noctu experrectos ad intermissa studia reverti. (fol. LXXXVIv)
For the Dorian mode arranged its effects and powers according to modesty and virile con-
stancy; it is said that these effects and powers were reversed in the Hypodorian mode, and its
seriousness declined to inertia and sluggishness. For it was the plan of the Pythagoreans to
lighten cares during the day with Hypodorian songs, but at night to bring back their inter-
rupted devotion to Dorian music. (p. 185)

3.3. Lanfranco (Scintille di musica, Brescia, 1533):


Ma questo per sentenza di Messer Pietro Aaron e atto a confortar il languente: & afflitto
spirito. (p. 109)
But this one in the opinion of Master Pietro Aaron is suited to comfort the languished
and afflicted spirit.

3.4. Vanneus (Recanetum de musica aurea, Rome, 1533):


Secundus tonus flebilis. Verba praese ferentia Moestitiam, fletum, solicitudines aerumnas,
captivitatem, & omne genus miseriarum, Secundo tono, Placalium Primo, optime congruunt,
quum natura sui sit lachrymosus, gravis, & humilis, proptereaque a Musicis humilis, ac
depraecatiuus appellatur. (fol. 92v)
The second tone is woeful. Words that carry with them sadness, weeping, cares, woes, cap-
tivity, and all sorts of miseries agree with the second tone, the first of the Plagals, which by its
nature is tearful, serious, and humble, and for that very reason is called by musicians the
humble and deprecatory. (p. 375)

3.5. Agricola (Rudimenta musices, Wittenberg, 1539):


Cum vero de amore, precatione, vel lamentatione fuerint verba, flebiles et adulatorias modu-
lationes, quae ex secundo quarto et sexto oriunter tonis, accommodare decet. (sig. Dij)
When the words deal with love, prayer or lamentation, it is fitting to set them to doleful and
flattering melodies, which arise from the second, fourth and sixth modes. (p. 367)

3.6. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):


Hypodorius sanè, divisus arithmeticôs, ac nunc noster Secundus, ut diximus, nomen diapason
ut proprium obtinens, tetricam quandam habet gravitatem, minimeque adulatoriam, quo
primi Ecclesisastici usi videntur in rebus moestis ac tristibus, quod Tractatus,qui diebus piacu-
laribus (quadragesimam nunc vocant) canuntur, planè ostendunt.Tum responsoria vetera &
Antiphona adventus Domini. (pp. 102–103)
Indeed, the Hypodorian, divided arithmetically and our present second mode, as we said, hav-
ing the octave name as its own, has a certain seriousness, forbidding and not at all flattering,
176 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

which early church musicians seem to have used on sad and mournful occasions as the Tracts
that are sung on expiatory days, (now called Lent) plainly show, as do also the old Responsories
and Antiphons of Advent. (p. 141)

3.7. Vicentino (L’antica musica ridotta alla


moderna prattica, Rome, 1555):
Il secondo Modo è quasi della natura del primo, & non hà altra differenza, se non che il primo Modo
è alquanto più allegro; & il secondo, perche hà la quarta sotto la quinta, hà più modestia. (fol. 44v)
The second mode is akin in nature to the first [devout/agreeable], the only difference being
that the first is more cheerful, whereas the second possesses more modesty because the fourth
is below the fifth. (p. 141)

3.8. Finck (Practica musica, Wittenberg, 1556):


Tonus qui secundum locum obtinet, hypodori nomen accepit, & cum priori ex diametro pug-
nat: Nam lachrymas ciet, moerorem creat, ideoque in rebus adversis verior quam in laetis illius
usus esse poterit. Lunae hic tonus tanquam Rectrici suae assimilatur, ut enim Luna humida,
ima Aethereae regionis sede locata, terris vicini or est: sic tonus hic flebilis, gravis, serius,
omnibus alijs est submissior, peculiariter verò placabilis, & deprecatiuus est. (sig. Rr iiiv)
The mode which is in the second place has the name of Hypodorian, and is diametrically
opposed to the previous one, for it produces tears, creates sadness, and therefore could be used
with greater truth for adverse things than for happy ones. It is compared to the moon, its guide
as it were. Just as the moon is moist, located at the lowest level of the region of the ethers,
closer to the earth, this mode is mournful, dignified, serious, humbler than all the others,
indeed particularly placable and reconciliating.

3.9. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche,Venice, 1558):


Volevano alcuni, che’l Secondo modo contenesse in se una certa gravità severa, non adulato-
ria; & che la sua natura fusse lagrimevole, & humile; di maniera che mossi da questo parere, lo
chiamarono Modo lagrimevole, humile, & deprecativo. La onde si vede, che havendo gli
Ecclesiastici questo per fermo, l’hanno usato nelle cose meste, & lagrimose; come sono quelle
delli tempi Quadragesimali, & di altri giorni di digiuno; & dicono, che è Modo atto alle parole,
che rapresentano pianto, mestitia, solicitudine, cattività, calamità, & ogni generatione di mis-
eria; & si trova molto in uso ne i loro canti. (pp. 322–323)
Some have claimed that the second mode contains a certain severe and unflattering gravity,
and that its nature is tearful and humble. Thus they have called it a lamentful, humble and
deprecatory mode. Hence churchmen, holding this to be true, used this mode for sad and
lamentful occasions, such as Lent and other fast days. They have said that it was a mode fit for
words which represent weeping, sadness, loneliness, captivity, calamity, and every kind of
misery. It is very much in use in their chants. (p. 58)

3.10. Tallis (The whole psalter translated into English Metre, London, 1567/8):
The second is sad: in majesty. (p. 193)
177 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.11. Padavano (Institutiones, Verona, 1578):


Ut quum de morte, vel lugubri re aliqua, aut quavis lamentatione verba fuerint, flebilem pro
sua virili adhibeat concentum. Ad hoc enim ego quidem plurimum facere arbitror cantilenam
in quarto, aut sexto tono, seu etiam in secundo dispositam: quod constat tonos hosce, quum
remissiores sint, huiusmodi effectum facile parere. (p. 14)
Thus when the words are about death or any other mournful subject or are about a particular
cause of lament, it [the music] ought as far as possible to employ a soft harmony. For this,
indeed, I think that the piece ought especially to be arranged in the fourth or sixth mode or
even in the second one: as it happens, these modes, being lower, easily produce an effect of the
kind described. (p. 372)

3.12. Pontio (Ragionamento di musica, Parma, (1588):


Ancora sarà buono il compositore avertisca di pigliare un Tuono appropriato alle parole;
come sarebbe à dire se le parole saranno meste pigliare un Tuono mesto, come il Secondo,
Quarto, et Sesto, se anco le parole mostreranno allegrezza, pigliare uno de gli altri Tuoni.
(p. 148)
It is also a good idea for the composer to take care to choose a mode appropriate to the words,
that is, if the words are sad, to choose a sad mode, such as the second, fourth and sixth, yet if
the words display happiness, to choose one of the other modes. (p. 372)

3.13. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


Questo tuono Sonato nelli suoi tasti naturali rende l’Armonia mesta, & calamitosa. (p. 5)
Played untransposed, this tone renders the harmony melancholy and harrowing. (p. 105)

3.14. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Habet autem tetricam quandam gravitatem, minimeque adulatoriam, quò quidem Ecclesia
videtur usa in rebus mœstis & tristibus, ut tractus Quadragesimales, & nonnulla responsoria
ostendunt. (sig. I4)
It has however a certain harsh dignity and minimal cringing flattery, for which reason the
Church seems to have used it for sad and sorrowful things, such as the tractus for Quadragesime
and several responsories show.

3.15. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Dieser Modus ist einfältig und trawrig / und ist dem ersten gar entgegen: Jener ist frölich /
dieser trawrig ist aber nicht so gar zur Trawrigkeit geneygt / daß er keine Frölichkeit in sich
hätte: Sondern es ist mit ihm also beschaffen / daß man ihn zu allerley affecten und Bewegungen
gebrauchen kan. (p. 102)
This mode is plain and sad, and is quite contrary to the first. That one is cheerful, this one is
sad, but does not lean so much towards sadness that it does not allow any cheerfulness. Rather
it is such with it, that one can use it for all kinds of affects and emotions.
178 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.16. Sweelinck (“Über die acht, respektive zwölf


Tonarten,” 17th Century):
Secundus Tonus ist von Natur traurig, und eignet sich ganz besonders zu traurigen, kläglichen
und einsamen Materien, welche alle Elendigkeit zu erkennen giebt. (p. 140)
The second mode is naturally sad and is very specially suited for sad, plaintive and lonely
topics, all of which show wretchedness.

4. Clefs
4.1. Hypodorian

Appendix Table 4.1 Hypodorian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 Beringer C2 Cerone C3 Beringer F3 Calvisius


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Herbst
Cerone Nucius Cerone Nucius
Herbst Rodio Herbst Praetorius
Nucius Sweelinck Nucius
Praetorius Rodio C4 Cerone
Rodio Sweelinck Galilei
Sweelinck Rodio
Sweelinck

C2 Bona C3 Bona C4 Bona F4 Bona


Diruta
Pontio
Vicentino

C3 Zarlino F3 Diruta
Pontio
Zarlino

C2 Cerone* C4 Cerone* F3 Cerone* F5 Cerone*

C3 Vicentino F4 Vicentino

C1 flat Sancta Maria C3 flat Sancta Maria C4 flat Sancta Maria F4 flat Sancta Maria
(in d) (in d) (in d) (in d)

F4 Vicentino

C2 Galilei

*Cerone writes that it almost never appears this way.


179 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

4.2. Transposed Hypodorian


Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Hypodorian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 flat Beringer C3 flat Bona C4 flat Beringer F4 flat Bona


Bona Cerone Bona Cerone
Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Galilei
Cerone Rodio Cerone Herbst
Diruta Sweelinck Diruta Praetorius
Herbst Galilei Rodio
Pontio Herbst Sweelinck
Praetorius Pontio
Rodio Rodio
Sweelinck Sweelinck

PHRYGIAN
1. Melodic Structure

phrygian 1.1. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 45.

phrygian 1.2. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 49.

phrygian 1.3. Michel de Menehou, Nouvelle


instruction familiere, Paris, 1558, sig. Biiiv.

phrygian 1.4. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. [I4v].
180 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

phrygian 1.5 . Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 55v.

2. Cadence Points
Banchieri e, G, B, a, C (p. 117)
Cerone e, a, “claus. de passo”: G, b, C (pp. 886–87)
Diruta e, G, b (p. 3)
Dressler e, b, C, “minus principales”: G, a (pp. 156–57)
Herbst e, b (“Diese Clausula im n dur, weil sie etwas hart ist / wird selten gebraucht:
Sondern es werden anstatt derselben zwo andere / eine im A. die andere im
C. die nechste drunter und drüber formiret.” “The cadence in b, because it is
somewhat hard, is used rarely; but in its stead two others are formed, one in a
and the other in C, the former below it and the latter above.”), G,
“assumptae”: a, C (p. 71)
Lanfranco e, F, G, C (p. 109)
Pontio e, a, “per transito”: G, b, C, “fuggendo”: F (pp. 106–09)
Sancta e, G, C (fol. 68)
Maria
Sweelinck e, b, g, a (“die Kadenz anstatt n mi (h) meist in A (la mi re) gemacht wird,”
“instead of in b, the cadence is mostly made in a”), C (p. 140)
Vanneus e, F, G, a, b, C (fol. 89v)
Vicentino e, G, C, a (fol. 53v)
Zarlino e, G, b (p. 324)

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Cochlaeus (Tetrachordum musices, Nuremberg, 1511):
Deuteri Phrygius, 3., Qui procedit per Indignant isultationem (sig. Cii)
181 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

Deuterus, which contains Phrygian, 3, arising from the reviling of the impatient. (p. 47)

3.2. Gaffurius (De Harmonia Musicorum Instrumentorum Opus,


Liber Quartus, Milan, 1518):
Igneo autem colore (que bilem incitatioribus motibus provocet) phrygium modulum pin-
gunt: quippe qui asperiores et severos viros quibus congruit ad iracundiam lacessere creditur:
huius rei causa est acutissimus tonus duobus eius coniunctis tetrachordis superductus: ipsa
acuminis velocitate vehementior. (fol. LXXXVv)
The Phrygian mode is depicted in a fiery color (as it provokes a greater movement of bile), for
it is believed that it is appropriate to harsh and severe men in exciting them to anger. The cause
of this is the very high whole tone above its two conjunct tetrachords as it moves forcibly with
the speed of a high sound. (p. 183)

3.3. Lanfranco (Scintille di musica, Brescia, 1533):


Ma di sua natura infiamma: & accende l’animo ad ira. (p. 109)
But its nature is inflammable and stirs the soul to rage.

3.4. Vanneus (Recanetum de musica aurea, Rome, 1533):


Tertius tonus acer & severus. Tertius tonus, Autenticorum numero Secundus, Acer, vehemens,
accensus, ad iram & coleram incitans, Animosus, severus, crudelis habetur. Iccirco bellicosa,
minantiaque verba, & reliqua id genus sibi similia recte complectitur, cui propterea severus
nomen inditum est. (fol. 92v)
The third tone is sharp and harsh. The third tone, second in the series of Authentics, is consid-
ered sharp, vehement, braying, provocative of anger and bile, spirited, harsh, and cruel. For
that reason it properly embraces bellicose, threatening words, and other things of that sort like
itself, and it has for that reason been given the name harsh. (p. 375)

3.5. Agricola (Rudimenta musices, Wittenberg, 1539):


Cum indignationem et severitatem sapiunt verba, asperos et severos disponat sonos, quod
tertio et septimo competit tono. (sig. Dij)
When the words convey a feeling of indignation and severity, he ought to arrange for the
sounds to be harsh and severe, as conforms to the third and seventh modes. (p. 367)

3.6. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):


Phrygius vulgo Tertius dicitur, celebris in primis, & vetus Modus. Horatius barbarum vocat
ode 9 Epodon, ubi & Dorij meminit. Barbarum Acro exponit Phrygium, Lucianus vocat
ευφεομ, Apuleius religiosum, quod hic Modus habeat nescio quid lachrymabile et quod ani-
mos ad fletum excitet, quo modo Divam Magdalenen ad sepulchrum flentem quidam oppidò
eleganter finxit, cuius cantum postea libro sequente referemus. Quidam aiunt eum habere
indignantis severam insultationem, alij pugnas excitare, & votum furoris inflammare, Unde &
Σχολιὸμ à Graecis dictum. Et Phrygij ὰ έυφεομ D. ERASMUS, ut supra diximus, impetum
182 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

vertit. Nota est fabula Adolescentis Taurominitani, Phrygio modo ad expugnandas pudicae (ut
apud Boethium ait Cicero) mulieris aedes excitati, & à Pythagora, qui mutato Modo, Spondeos
succini iusserit, ab audaci facinore sedati. (p. 123)
The Phrygian is commonly called the third mode, a particularly famous and ancient mode. In
ode 9 of Epodes, Horace calls it “barbarus” where he also mentions the Dorian. Acro explains
“barbarus” as the Phrygian, and Lucian calls it “divinely inspired,” Apuleius “religious,” because
this ode has a certain mournfulness and because it excites the emotions to lamenting, even as
someone has portrayed very beautifully the holy Magdalene weeping at the Tomb. . . . Some say
that it evokes the harsh reviling of the indignant, others say it incites to battle and inflames the
appetite of a frenzied rage, whence it is also called σχολιός or perverse by the Greeks. And D.
Erasmus translates as “violent impulse” [impetus] the “divinely inspired” of the the Phrygian
mentioned above. Well-known is the fable of the Tauromeian youth, who, incited by the
Phrygian mode, (as Cicero says according to Boethius) would have stormed the home of a
virtuous woman, and who was restrained from this rash deed by Pythagoras who, after the
mode had been changed, bade that spondees be sung to. (p. 160)

3.7. Vicentino (L’antica musica ridotta alla


moderna prattica, Rome, 1555):
Hora il terzo Modo sarà di natura allegro, quando sarà composto à quattro voci, con la mis-
tione de tutti i generi, & il semplice Diatonico mostrarà poco effetto d’allegria, per essere solo,
& senza alcuna compagnia. (fol. 45)
The third mode is cheerful by nature when composed for four voices with a mixture of all the
genera. But the pure diatonic mode shows little cheerfulness, for it is alone and bereft of any
company. (p. 142)

3.8. Finck (Practica musica, Wittenberg, 1556):


Tertius Phrygius est: Marti non incommodè attribuitur, propterea quod choleram atque bilem
moveat. Ideoque verba sonora, horrida praelia, & arduae res gestae huic congruunt. (sig. [Rriv])
The third is Phrygian. It is not unsuitably attributed to Mars because it arouses the choler and
the bile. And therefore resounding words, horrible battles and adversities are suited to it.

3.9. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche,Venice, 1558):


Se questo Modo non si mescolasse col Nono, & si udisse semplice, haverebbe la sua harmonia
alquanto dura: ma perche è temperata dalla Diapente del Nono, & dalla Cadenza, chi si fa in a,
che in esso grandemente si usa; però alcuni hanno havuto parere, che habbia natura di com-
movere al pianto; la onde gli accommodarono volentieri quelle parole, che sono lagrimevoli,
& piene di lamenti. Hà grande convenienza col detto Nono: percioche hanno la Seconda specie
della Diatessaron commune tra loro; & spesse volte i Musici moderni lo trasportano fuori
delle sue chorde naturali per una Diatessaron più acuta, con l’aiuto della chorda b; ancora
che’l più delle volte si ritrovi collocato nel suo propio, & natural luogo. (p. 324)
If the third mode were not mixed with the ninth mode, and were heard by itself, its harmony
would be somewhat hard, but because it is tempered by the diapente of the ninth mode and
by the cadence made on a, which is very much in use in it, some have been of the opinion that
183 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

the third mode moves one to weeping. Hence they have accommodated to it words which are
tearful and full of laments.
There is a great concurrence between the third mode and the ninth, for the second species
of diatessaron is common to both of them. Modern musicians often transpose the third mode
up by a diatessaron and away from its natural notes, with the help of the note b-flat. But most
of the time it is placed in its proper and natural location.(63–4)

3.10. Tallis (The whole psalter translated into English Metre,


London, 1567/8):
The third doth rage: and roughly brayeth. (p. 193)

3.11. Padavano (Institutiones, Verona, 1578):


Quum verò verba indignationem et increpationem exprimentia, proferri oportet: asperi
utique, et duriores soni sunt adhibendi: id quod tertio, ac septimo tono plerunque solitum est
ascribi. (p. 14)
When, however words expressing indignation and disapproval need to be delivered, [the
music] should no doubt employ harsh and harder sounds, which are wont to be attributed, for
the most part, to the third and seventh modes. (p. 372)

3.12. Pontio (Ragionamento di musica, Parma, (1588):


Ancora sarà buono il compositore avertisca di pigliare un Tuono appropriato alle parole; come
sarebbe à dire se le parole saranno meste pigliare un Tuono mesto, come il Secondo, Quarto,
et Sesto, se anco le parole mostreranno allegrezza, pigliare uno de gli altri Tuoni. (p. 148)
It is also a good idea for the composer to take care to choose a mode appropriate to the words,
that is, if the words are sad, to choose a sad mode, such as the second, fourth and sixth, yet if
the words display happiness, to choose one of the other modes. (p. 372)

3.13. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


La natura di questo tuono è di commovere al pianto. (p. 5)
The nature of this tone is to move one to lamentaion. (p. 106)

3.14. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Horatius Oda 9. hunc modum Barbarum vocat. Alij impetuosum, alij relligiosum appellant.
Porro severam indignantis insultationem habere dicitur: ideoque (ut Franchinus scribit)
Veteres in rebus belllicis Phrygij modulo, ut acerrimo sono usi sunt. Hoc modulo
Taurominitanus Juvenis (ut narrat Boêtius) excitatus, domum in qua scortum latitabat com-
burere festinavit. Phrygio item cantu Timotheus Milesius Alexandrum regem in convivio sed-
entem, ad capessendum arma concitavit, ut scribit Franchinus lib:4. cap: 8. Glareanus tamen
trenos, Epicedia, planctus, lamentationes, quærelas, commiserationes & similia huic modo
optimè convenire arbitratur, &c. (sig. I4v)
184 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

In his ninth ode Horace calls this mode the barbaric one. Others call it impetuous, [yet] others
pious. Further it is said to have the severe mockery of the indignant. And therefore, as
Franchinus writes, the elder ones used the mode of the Phrygians for military subjects as the
sharpest sound. Stimulated by this mode, the youth Taurominitanus (as told by Boethius)
hurried to set a house on fire in which a whore had hidden herself. Similarly, at a banquet
Timothy of Miletus incited King Alexander with a Phrygian song to seize arms, as Franchinus
writes in book 4, chapter 8. Glarean considers threnodies, dirges, songs of mourning, lamen-
tations, plaints, commiserations, and similar things most suitable for this mode, etc.

3.15. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Phrygius der dritte Modus ist von Natur Zornig und Saurzapffig: Und ein Martialischer Tonus,
Heroisch / Religiosisch und Leydmütig. Es schicken sich zu diesem Modo saure und harte Wort /
Streit / Verlachung / widerwillen und dergleichen: Zu dieser unserer Zeit hat dieser Modus eine
solche Liebligkeit in sich / daβ er über die massen wundersam beweget / und den man auch gerne
höret: Derohalben gebraucht man ihn sonderlich in Gebeten / Trostliedern und Grabgesängen /
darinn man eines tapffern Manns abgang commendiret und herauβ streicht. (p. 103)
Phrygian, the third mode, is angry and bitter by nature, and a martial mode, heroic, religious
and sorrowful. Bitter and hard words are suited to the mode, conflict, mockery, repugnance
and similar [topics]; in our time this mode is so inherently pleasant that it moves greatly, and
one hears it gladly. Therefore one specially uses it for prayers, songs of solace and funereal
songs in which one commends a brave man’s death and upholds it.

3.16. Sweelinck (“Über die acht, respektive


zwölf Tonarten,” 17th Century):
Der Tertius Tonus ist von Natur geneigt zur Lamentation und bewegt sehr zum Weinen und
Klagen, deshalb wird er besonders zu solchen Materien verwendet. (p. 142)
The third mode is by nature inclined towards lamentation and moves greatly to weeping and
plaints; therefore it is often used for such subjects.

4. Clefs
4.1. Phrygian

Appendix Table 4.1 Phrygian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 Beringer C3 Bona C4 Beringer F4 Bona


Bona Cerone Bona Calvisius
Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Cerone
185 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 Cerone C3 Nucius C4 Cerone F4 Galilei


Diruta Rodio Diruta Herbst
Herbst Sancta Maria Galilei Nucius
Nucius Sweelinck Herbst Praetorius
Praetorius Vicentino Nucius Rodio
Rodio Pontio Sancta
Maria
Sancta Maria Rodio Sweelinck
Sweelinck Sweelinck Vicentino
Vicentino Vicentino
Zarlino Zarlino

C2 Pontio C3 Sancta Maria

4.2. Transposed Phrygian


Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Phrygian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 flat Beringer C2 flat Cerone C3 flat Beringer C4 flat Galilei


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Praetorius
Cerone Sweelinck Cerone Rodio
Herbst Herbst Sweelinck
Praetorius Rodio
Rodio Sweelinck
Sweelinck

C2 flat Praetorius* C1 flat Rodio C2 flat Galilei F3 flat Herbst

F5 flat Praetorius*

C4 flat Cerone
F3 flat

F4 flat Calvisius

Calvisius, Herbst, Pontio, and Zarlino write that pieces are normally notated in e.
*“Vel in Octavam inferiorem ponatur, hoc modo,” in translation “Or placed an octave lower, in this
manner,” Book III, p. 37.
186 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

HYPOPHRYGIAN
1. Melodic Structure

hypophrygian 1.1. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555,
fol. 45v.

hypophrygian 1.2. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555,
fol. 49v.

hypophrygian 1.3. Michel de Menehou,


Nouvelle instruction familiere, Paris, 1558, sig. Biiiv.

hypophrygian 1.4. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. K.


187 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

hypophrygian 1.5. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555,
fol. 54 (recte 56).

2. Cadence Points
Banchieri “per voci humane, ma duro & poco praticabile”: C, e, a (i.e., transposed p. 119)
Cerone e, a, “clausulas de passo”: G, b, C (p. 889)
Diruta b, G, e (p. 3)
Dressler e, a, “minus principales”: G, C (p. 158–59)
Herbst b, e, G, “peregrinae”: a, C (p. 72)
Lanfranco C, d, e, F, g, a (p. 110)
Pontio e, a, “per transito”: G, b, C (pp. 109–10)
Sancta Maria e, a (fol. 68v)
Sweelinck b, e, G, a, C (“Anstatt der Kadenz auf h gebraucht man heutigen Tages
die auf A und C.” “Instead of the cadence on b one uses the ones on a and
C today.”, p. 142)
Vanneus C, d, e, F, G, a (fol. 89v)
Vicentino e, b, a, G, (C) (fol. 56; incorrectly notated as fol. 54)
Zarlino b, e, G, (p. 324)

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Cochlaeus (Tetrachordum musices, Nuremberg, 1511):
Deuteri Hypophrygius, 4., Qui procedit per Adulationis formam. (sig. Cii)
Deuterus, which contains . . . . Hypophrygian, 4, moving with an air of flattery. (p. 47)
188 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.2. Gaffurius (De Harmonia Musicorum Instrumentorum Opus,


Liber Quartus, Milan, 1518):
Hypophrygius igitur tonus Phrygii naturam & concitationem moderatur & subtrahit.
Lacedemonii et Cretenses tibiis hypophrygium modulum concinentibus a pugna revocaban-
tur. Alexander Macedo in convivio phrygii sono in arma furens mutata in hypophrygium
modulatione ad convivarum epulas Timothei cithara revocatus est. Vinolentos iuvenes impro-
biusque perinde petulantes modulorum gravitas et tarditas canentis perdomuit: Namque
Pythagoraei damonis nutu Tibicen spondeum succinens illorum furentem petulantiam conse-
davit: temulentae perturbationis dementiam infringens. Plerique enim remissae huius modi
harmoniae damonem ipsum Atheniensem auctorem consentiunt. (fol. LXXXVII-LXXXVIIv)
The Hypophrygian mode moderates and removes the nature and excitement of the Phrygian. The
Lacedemonians and the Cretans were recalled from battle by pipers playing in the Hypophrygian
mode. Alexander of Macedonia, furiously aroused at a banquet by the sound of the Phrygian
mode, put on his armor, but was brought back to the banquet and his guests by Timotheus playing
the cithara in the Hypophrygian mode. The gravity and slowness of the music thoroughly subju-
gated drunken, bold and wanton youths, for at a command of the Pythagorean Damon a piper
playing a spondee allayed their furious wantonness and mitigated the folly of drunken disorder.
Many believe that the Athenian Damon created this relaxed kind of harmony.

3.3. Lanfranco (Scintille di musica, Brescia, 1533):


Or questo ha natura contraria del Phrygio: percioche riposo: & quietudine vogliono: che nel
animo porti. (p. 110)
This then has a nature contrary to that of Phrygian: therefore [it is used by those who] desire
to induce repose and quietude in the soul.

3.4. Vanneus (Recanetum de musica aurea, Rome, 1533):


Quartus tonus amorosus & adulatorius. Quartus autem tonus, inter Placales Secundus, superiori
Tertio penitus contrarius est, Unde cuncta vel amoris, ocii, quietis, tranquillitatis, adulationis, fraudis,
detractionis verba, recte huic aptari possunt, & ab effectu Adulatorius vocatur Tonus. (fol. 92v)
The fourth tone is given to love and adulation. The fourth tone, second among the Plagals, is
completely unlike the third that precedes it, wherefore all words either of love, leisure, rest,
tranquility, adulation, deceit, and detraction can properly be fitted to it, and from this effect it
is called the adulatory mode. (p. 375)

3.5. Agricola (Rudimenta musices, Wittenberg, 1539):


Cum vero de amore, precatione, vel lamentatione fuerint verba, flebiles et adulatorias modu-
lationes, quae ex secundo quarto et sexto oriunter tonis, accommodare decet. (sig. Dij)
When the words deal with love, prayer or lamentation, it is fitting to set them to doleful and
flattering melodies, which arise from the second, fourth and sixth modes. (p. 367)

3.6. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):


Hic modus tristem quandam habet querimoniam, ac supplicem lamentationem, aptissimus
sacris cantilenis, ad quem Threni Hieremiae aliquot in locis Germaniae ac Galliae suavissimè
canuntur, sed ad alia quoque adhibent. (p. 110)
189 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

This mode possesses a certain sorrowing melancholy and plaintive grief, which is very suitable
to sacred songs, and the Lamentations of Jeremiah are sung very pleasingly in some parts of
Germany and France according to this mode, although it is also used in other places.

3.7. Vicentino (L’antica musica ridotta alla


moderna prattica, Rome, 1555):
Il quarto Modo porta seco assai mestitia, et come sarà cantato in voce Bassa, sarà molto malen-
conico. (fol. 49)
The fourth mode conveys considerable sadness, and when it is sung in the bass part it is very
melancholy. (p. 155)

3.8. Finck (Practica musica, Wittenberg, 1556):


Quartus Tonus, quem Hypophrygium cognominarunt, parasitum reprensentat, qui affectibus
heri sui servit, ad eiusque voluntatem se inflectit, cuius beneficijs fruitur, illius elogia, decan-
tat. Mercurio ob naturae similitudinem assignatur, quibuscunque consociatus est, his sese
dedit, horum obsequitur voluntati, similiaque studia amplectitur. Textui cum gravi argutoque,
tum lamentabili quoque attemperari potest. (sig. [Rriv])
The fourth mode, which is called Hypophrygian, represents a parasite who serves the passions of
his master, and bends himself to the will of that person whose benefactions he enjoys, and sings
songs in his praise. It is assigned to Mercury because of the similarity of [their] nature. With
whomever he is associated, he gives himself to them, whose will he obeys and embraces similar
studies. It can just as well be adapted to a weighty and penetrating text as to a plaintive one.

3.9. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche,Venice, 1558):


Questo medesimamente, secondo lo loro opinione, si accommoda maravigliosamente a parole,
o materie lamentevoli, che contengono tristezza, overo lamentatione supplichevole; come sono
materie amorose, & quelle, che significano otio, quiete, tranquillità, adulatione, fraude, & detrat-
tione; il perche dallo effetto alcuni lo chiamarono Modo adulatorio. Questo è alquanto più mesto
del suo principale, massimamente quando procede per movimento contrarij, cioè dall’acuto al
grave, con movimenti tardi. Credo io, che se’l si usasse semplicemente, senza mescolarvi la
Diapente, & la Cadenza posta in a, che serve al Decimo modo; che haverebbe alquanto più del
virile, di quello, che non hà cosi mescolato: ma accompagnato in tal maniera, si usa grande-
mente, di modo che si trovano molte cantilene composte sotto questo Modo. (p. 324)
This mode is said by musical practitioners to be marvelously suited to lamentful words or
subjects that contain sadness or supplicant lamentation, such as matters of love, and to words
which express languor, quiet, tranquillity, adulation, deception, and slander. Because of this
effect, some have called it a flattering mode. This mode is somewhat sadder than its principal,
especially when it proceeds in a motion contrary [to that of the principal], namely, downward,
and in slow tempo. I believe that the fourth mode would be somewhat more virile if it were
used simply, without mixing in it the diapente [A to E] and the cadence placed on a, which are
used in the tenth mode. However, the fourth mode is frequently mixed in this way. (p. 64)

3.10. Tallis (The whole psalter translated into


English Metre, London, 1567/8):
The fourth doth fawn: and flattery playeth. (p. 193)
190 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.11. Padavano (Institutiones, Verona, 1578):


Ut quum de morte, vel lugubri re aliqua, aut quavis lamentatione verba fuerint, flebilem pro
sua virili adhibeat concentum. Ad hoc enim ego quidem plurimum facere arbitror cantilenam
in quarto, aut sexto tono, seu etiam in secundo dispositam: quod constat tonos hosce, quum
remissiores sint, huiusmodi effectum facile parere. (p. 14)
Thus when the words are about death or any other mournful subject or are about a particular cause
of lament, it [the music] ought as far as possible to employ a soft harmony. For this, indeed, I think
that the piece ought especially to be arranged in the fourth or sixth mode or even in the second one:
as it happens, these modes, being lower, easily produce an effect of the kind described. (p. 372)

3.12. Pontio (Ragionamento di musica, Parma, (1588):


Ancora sarà buono il ocmpositore avertisca di pigliare un Tuono appropriato alle parole; come
sarebbe à dire se le parole saranno meste pigliare un Tuono mesto, come il Secondo, Quarto, et
Sesto, se anco le parole mostreranno allegrezza, pigliare uno de gli altri Tuoni. (p. 148)
It is also a good idea for the composer to take care to choose a mode appropriate to the words,
that is, if the words are sad, to choose a sad mode, such as the second, fourth and sixth, yet if
the words display happiness, to choose one of the other modes. (p. 372)

3.13 Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


Questo tuono rende l’Armonia lamentevole dogliosa è mesta. (p. 6)
This tone makes the harmony plaintive, sorrowful, and sad. (p. 107)

3.14 Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Tristis, querulus & lamentabundus est, Modus, ac ad fletum aptiβimus, ideoque threnis &
Epicedijs quoque conveniet. Lacedæmoniorum milites Hypophrygij modulo à pugna revoca-
bantur, ut testatur Franchinus lib: 4. Instr: Musicæ Cap: 8. (sig. K)
The mode is sad, querulant and mournful and most fitting for laments. Therefore it is suitable
for threnodies and dirges. Spartan soldiers were recalled from battle by means of the
Hypophrygian mode as attested by Franchinus in Book 4, Instr. Musicae, Chapter 8.

3.15 Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Dieser Modus ist von Natur niderträchtig / demütig und zum Weinen geneigt / denn seine
Harmonia bringe eine trawrige Klag / und eine unterthänige lamentation: wird auch von etli-
chen ein schmeichelhafftiger und Fuchsschwänziger Modus genennet / der sich zu seines Herrn
Willen schicken thut / und gleich wie ein Liebkoser / der einem / von welchem er Genieβ hat /
zu schmeicheln weiβ / also auch dieser Modus, weiβ sich auch zu solchen affecten zu schicken /
und zu der Jenigen Willen zu seyn / und diesselbe mit einer weinenden / seuffzenden und
trawrigen Melodey auβzusprechen. Und schicken sich zu diesem Modo Wort der Lieb / Klag
und Schmeicheley / denn er hat nicht ein solche Gravität in sich / wie der andere Modus:
Sondern eine demütige / und zur Leichtfertigkeit und Eytelkeit bequemen Melodiam. (p. 104)
191 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

This mode is by nature abject, humble and inclined to weeping, for its harmonia convey a sad
plaint and a submissive lamentation. It is also called by some a flattering and fawning mode
which obeys its master’s will. And like a lover, who knows how to flatter someone in whom he
has pleasure, this mode also knows how to accomodate itself to such affects and be one with
that desire and to appeal to this with a weeping, sighing and sad melody. Words of love, lament
and flattery are suitable for this mode because it is not imbued with such gravity as the
[authentic] mode. Rather it has a humble melody which is suited to frivolity and vanity.

3.16. Sweelinck (“Über die acht, respektive


zwölf Tonarten,” 17th Century):
Der Quartus Tonus ist von Natur betrübt und daher wohl bei solchen Materien anzuwenden,
welche Traurigkeit, “Stilligkeit,” Ruhe, auch Schmeichelei, Betrug und “Amoreusigkeit”
verlangen. (p. 143)
The fourth mode is by nature melancholy and therefore should be used for such subjects
which require sadness, stillness, quiet, and also flattery, deceipt, and amorousness.

4. Clefs
4.1. Hypophrygian
Appendix Table 4.1 Hypophrygian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C2 Beringer C4 Cerone F3 Beringer F5 Cerone


Cerone Herbst Calvisius Galilei
Diruta Nucius Cerone Herbst
Herbst Rodio Diruta Nucius
Nucius Galilei Praetorius*
Praetorius* Herbst Rodio
Rodio Rodio
Zarlino

C1 Bona C3 Bona C4 Bona F4 Bona


Calvisius Vicentino Pontio Sancta Maria
Pontio Sweelinck Praetorius
Sancta Maria Sancta Maria Sweelinck
Sweelinck Sweelinck Vicentino
Vicentino Vicentino

C3 Zarlino C2 Sancta Maria C5 Nucius C4 Praetorius


G2 Praetorius

“Vel in Octavam inferiorem ponatur, hoc modo,” in the translation “Or placed an octave lower, in this
manner,” Book III, p. 37.
192 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

4.2. Transposed Hypophrygian

Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Hypophrygian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 flat Beringer C3 flat Cerone C4 flat Beringer F4 flat Cerone


Cerone Herbst Calvisius Galilei
Herbst Rodio Cerone Herbst
Praetorius Galilei Praetorius
Rodio Herbst Rodio
Rodio

G2 flat Calvisius C2 flat Sweelinck C3 flat Sweelinck F3 flat Sweelinck


Pontio
Sweelinck

LYDIAN
1. Melodic Structure

lydian 1.1. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 45v.

lydian 1.2. Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 49v.

lydian 1.3 . Michel de Menehou, Nouvelle instruction familiere, Paris, 1558, sig. Biiiv.
193 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

lydian 1.4. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. Kv.

lydian 1.5. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 54 (recte 56).

2. Cadence Points
Banchieri “per voci humane”: F, a, C (p. 121)
Cerone F, C, a, “clausulas de passo”: d, G (p. 891)
Diruta F, a, C (p. 3)
Dressler F, C, “minus principalis”: a (pp. 160–61)
Herbst F, C, a (p. 73)
Lanfranco F, a, C (p. 110)
Pontio F, C, a, “per transito”: d, G (pp. 110–11)
Sancta Maria F, C (fol 68v)
Sweelinck F, C, a (p. 144)
Vanneus F, G, a, C (fol. 89v)
Vicentino F, a (Phrygian), C, g, d (fol. 56; incorrectly notated as fol. 54)
Zarlino F, a, C (p. 325)
194 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Cochlaeus (Tetrachordum musices, Nuremberg, 1511):
Triti Lydius, 5., Qui procedit per Modestam petulatiam. (sig. Cii)
Tritus, which contains Lydian, 5, moving with tempered liveliness. (p. 47)

3.2. Gaffurius (De Harmonia Musicorum Instrumentorum Opus,


Quartus, Milan, 1518):
Lydius autem modus (ut quibusdam placet) iis qui natura periucundi & hilares sunt congruam
prebet modulationem. Quare Lydos ipsos natura hilares & periucundos eiusmodi modulation-
ibus delectatos ferunt. Quem sanguineo colori per similiem Tusci lydorum origine tracti chori-
cis saltationibus insequuntur. Hic.n.non modo hilaritati & iucunditati dictus est convenire,
verum a modestia Dorii quo acutior est: & a Phrygii severitate recedens a plerisque creditur et
fletibus et lamentationibus congruere quorum causa ipsius primum ductam esse prodiximus
institutionem: namque Olympius epicedia Lydii modulis in pythonis sepultura tibia cecinit:
atque iccirco huiusmodi modulantes siticines sunt vocati. Fuit quidem teste Boetio Antiqus
ipsis in morem: Cantum tibiae luctibus praeire: quod & Papinius Statius hoc versu testatus est:
Cornu grave mugit adunco Tibia: cui teneros suetum producere manes: At lydio modulo id
facere consueverant: quo & in fletibus luctus ipsos dolentes modulabantur (quod potissimum
muliebre est) ut cum eius modi cantico dulcior fieret causa deflendi. (fol. LXXXVv)
The Lydian mode (as some say) offers a pleasing sound to those who are very agreeable and
jovial in nature. Thus it is said that the Lydians, jovial and agreeable by nature, were pleased by
melodies of the same sort, which are comparable to a blood-red color. The Tuscans, proceeding
from the Lydians, followed their choral dances. Not only is the mode said to fit joviality and
pleasure, but it is far from the modesty of the Dorian (as it is higher) and the severity of the
Phrygian. It is believed by many to fit weeping and lamentation, emotions for whose sake we
said it was formed originally. Olympus played the pipe in the Lydian mode at the funereal rites
of Pytho, and therefore such performers are called siticines or funereal musicians. According to
Boethius it was customary with the ancients to precede the music of the piper with lamenta-
tions, just as Papinius Statius testified in this verse: “The pipe with a curved horn brays lowly, to
which the shades of children were usually led in a funereal procession.” They were accustomed
to do this in the Lydian mode, and while weeping the mourners sang their sorrow (which is
especially feminine), so that with such a song it became sweeter through the weeping. (p. 184)

3.3. Lanfranco (Scintille di musica, Brescia, 1533):


Et e di sua natura allegro. Pero e tenuto atto a scacciare i fastidi dello animo. (p. 110)
It is by nature lively. Therefore it is considered to be suitable to dispel cares from the spirit.

3.4. Vanneus (Recanetum de musica aurea, Rome, 1533):


Quintus tonus modestus. Quintus Tonus, inter Autenticos Tertius, cantando delectationem,
Modestiam, Laetitiam affert, animumque ab omni solicitudine levat, eiusdem qualitatis verba,
& Victoriam continentia, plurimum hunc decent tonum, hinc merito iocundus, Modestus, ac
delectabilis vocatur. (fol. 92v)
195 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

The fifth tone, third of the authentics, when sung brings delight, moderation, and joy, relieves
the soul of every trouble, and matters that concern victory particularly become this mode;
hence it is deservedly called jocund, moderate, and delightful. (p. 375)

3.5. Agricola (Rudimenta musices, Wittenberg, 1539):


Laudis et modestiae verba, iucundas exigunt cantiones, quod primo, quinto et octavo tono
adscribi solitum est. (sig. Dij)
Words of praise and temperance require pleasant melodies, which are customarily assigned to
the first, fifth and eighth modes. (p. 367)

3.6. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):


Porrò hic Modus apud veteres Ecclesiasticos in magno fuit usu, ut ex cantibus vetustioribus
satis liquet, sed tetricus videtur Modus, quem Lucianus, βαχχιχòμ vocat Apuleius querulum,
Horatius vero Lydium pro Ionico, ut Persas pro Parthis usurpasse videtur. Plato in Republica
libro tertio, ter binas Harmonias numerat. . . . Alteras μαλαχάςτε χỳ συμποτιχάς, id est molleis
ac temulentas, ι̉ασὶ χἀί λυδισὶ, id est, Ionicas & Lydias, quotcunque Χαλαζαὶ, hoc est relaxae,
remissaeque & resolutae. . . . vocantur. (p. 127)
This mode was in great use among early church musicians, as is clear enough from the older
songs, but the mode seems harsh, and Lucian calls it Bacchic, Apuleius plaintive; yet Horace
seems to have used the Lydian for the Ionian, just as he used Persian for Parthian, Plato enu-
merates three paired modes in book 3 of De Republica. . . . [The second] he calls μαλαχαὶ χαὶ
συμπποτιχαὶ, namely, weak and convivial, is the ι̉αστί χαὶ λυδιστί or Ionian and Lydian; all of
these are called Χαλαςαί, that is relaxed, languid, and effeminate. (pp. 163–64)
Diximus autem in superioribus hunc Modum nostra aetate apud Cantores in nullo esse usu,
cuius omneis cantus in Ionicum deflectunt, pro mi in b clave fa substituentes. Quae consue-
tudo ita invaluit, ut purum Lydium nunc raro invenias, cui non alicubi fa sit insertum, quasi
conspiratione in eum facta, de exilio eius publice sit decretum. Haud quaquam tamen negav-
erim eam commutationem aliquando commode fieri, aliquando necessitate urgente:
Commodè fit in una alteráve nota, quae tamen Modum non mutat. Necessitate vero propter
Tritonum in genere diatonico vitandum. (p. 130)
We have said previously that this mode is not used in our time by singers, who turn all its songs
into the Ionian by substituting fa for mi on the b key. This custom has prevailed so much that
now one rarely finds a pure Lydian in which fa has not been introduced somewhere, in a
conspiracy as it were, formed against it and with its banishment decided on openly. Yet I would
not deny that this change can sometimes be made appropriately, and sometimes through urgent
necessity; it occurs appropriately through one or another note which still does not change the
mode, but by necessity in order to avoid the tritone in the diatonic genus. (p. 166)

3.7. Vicentino (L’antica musica ridotta alla


moderna prattica, Rome, 1555):
Hora mi soccorre di dire la natura del Quinto Modo, il quale dimostra essere superbo &
allegro; questo fu detto da Filosofi Lidio, applicato alla natura de popoli Lidiani feroci, &
superbi. (fol. 45v)
196 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

It now behooves me to talk about the nature of the fifth mode, which shows itself to be haughty
and cheerful. Philosophers called it Lydian from the nature of the ferocious and prideful
Lydian people. (p. 143)

Non è dubbio alcuno ch’il quinto Modo per la cagione del dittono, che è sotto al semidittono
della sua quinta. non sia allegro, & tutto vivo. (fol. 49v)
There is no doubt whatsoever that the fifth mode is cheerful and lively, for within its fifth the
ditone lies below the semiditone. (p. 156)

3.8. Finck (Practica musica, Wittenberg, 1556):


Quintus, peculiari nomine Lydius dictus, sanguineo non dissimilis est, Hic hilaritati, comitati,
mitioribusque affectibus competit, quibus cum maximè delectetur, aversatur contentiones,
sedat motus, fovet concordiam, naturae est Iovialis. Non itaque sine gravi causa his nomini-
bus, delectabilis, hilaris, modestus, gaudium moestorum, desperantium recreatio, afflictorum
solatium, insigniri coepit. Textui huic memorabilia commenta praestantium artificum alioqui
impervestigabilia includi debent. (sig. [Rriv])
The fifth is called by its own name, Lydian, is not dissimilar to the sanguine. It is suited for
hilarity, cheerfulness, and gentler and milder affects, with which, in that it delights greatly, it
turns away contention, calms agitation, cultivates concord. Its nature is [similar to that] of
Jupiter. Therefore it begins—not without significant cause—to be called by the following
name: delectable, cheerful, modest, joy of the sorrowful, revivifier of the desperate, comfort of
the afflicted. This text must be joined with memorable [and] otherwise impenetrable conceits
of exceptional artists.

3.9. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche,Venice, 1558):


Alcuni vogliono, che nel cantare, questo Modo arrechi modestia, letitia, & sollevatione a gli
animi dalle cure noiose. Però gli Antichi usarono di accomodarlo alle parole, o materie, che
contenessero alcuna vittoria: onde da tal cose alcuni lo dimandarano Modo giocundo,
modesto, & dilettevole. (p. 325)
Some claim that, in singing, this mode brings to the spirit modesty, happiness, and relief from
annoying cares. Yet the ancients used it with words or subjects that dealt with victory, and
because of this some called it a joyous, modest, and pleasing mode. (p. 67)

3.10. Tallis (The whole psalter translated into


English Metre, London, 1567/8):
The fifth delighteth: and laugheth the more. (p. 193)

3.11. Pontio (Ragionamento di musica, Parma, (1588):


Ancora sarà buono il compositore avertisca di pigliare un Tuono appropriato alle parole; come
sarebbe à dire se le parole saranno meste pigliare un Tuono mesto, come il Secondo, Quarto,
et Sesto, se anco le parole mostreranno allegrezza, pigliare uno de gli altri Tuoni. (p. 148)
197 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

It is also a good idea for the composer to take care to choose a mode appropriate to the words,
that is, if the words are sad, to choose a sad mode, such as the second, fourth and sixth, yet if
the words display happiness, to choose one of the other modes. (p. 372)

3.12. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


La natura di questo tuono sonato nelli tasti proprij rende l’Armonia gioconda, modesta, è
dilettevole. (p. 6)
The nature of this tone when it is played untransposed renders the harmony joyful, simple,
and delightful. (p. 108)

3.13. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Veteres Ecclesiastici Lydio ac HypoLydio propter Diapente severitatem in gradualibus & pas-
sione Dominica, multoties usi sunt. Nostra vero ætas hoc ipso modulo equitem ad arma &
pugnam vocat. Est enim minax & severus modus, quem tamen, ut levem Plato rejecisse legitur.
(sig. K-Kv)
The older churchmen often used Lydian or Hypolydian because of the severe fifth for graduals
and the passion of the Lord. Our time, however, calls the knight to arms and to battle with this
very mode. For it is a threatening and severe mode, although Plato is said to have rejected it as
being too light.

3.14. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Lydius der fünffte Modus, ist von Natur hart / scharff / hefftig / gestreng / saurschlechtig /
trohend. Zu dieser unserer Zeit wird er nicht viel gebraucht / Sondern ex abusu, und auss
Unverstand / oder vielmehr Unwissenheit / der eylffte Modus Jonicus, mit dem zugetzten b fa
(welches Weich= und Gelindigkeit / den zarten Ohren viel lieblicher und annemlicher ist )
dafür gebraucht. Es schicket sich aber zu diesem Modo harte Trohwort / und zum theil mit
Klagen vermischet. (p. 104)
Lydian, the fifth mode, is by nature hard, harsh, strong, severe, bitter, [and] threatening. In our
time it is not used much, but rather in its place—out of negligence and lack of understanding
or far rather ignorance—the eleventh mode, Ionian, with its additional b fa (whose softness
and mildness is far more sweet and pleasant for tender ears) is used. Hard, threatening words
are suitable for this mode, partly mixed with laments.

3.15. Sweelinck (“Über die acht, respektive zwölf


Tonarten,” 17th Century):
Der Quintus Tonus ist von Natur gut zu gebrauchen zu Dankgesängen (“Dankereyen”) und
besonders lustig zu singen. (p. 145)
The fifth mode is by nature very suitable for use in songs of thanksgiving and is particularly
pleasurable to sing.
198 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

4. Clefs
4.1. Lydian
Appendix Table 4.1 Lydian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 Beringer C2 Cerone C3 Beringer F3 Herbst


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Nucius
Cerone Nucius Cerone Rodio
Diruta Rodio Diruta
Herbst Galilei
Nucius Herbst
Praetorius Nucius
Rodio Pontio
Zarlino Rodio
Zarlino

C1 Pontio C3 Cerone C4 Cerone


F3

C4 Galilei
Praetorius

F4 Calvisius

G2 flat Bona C2 flat Bona C3 flat Bona F3 flat Bona


Sancta Maria Sancta Maria Sweelinck Sweelinck
Sweelinck Sweelinck Vicentino Vicentino
Vicentino Vicentino
C4 flat Sancta Maria F4 flat Sancta Maria

4.2. Transposed Lydian


Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Lydian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C2 flat Beringer C4 flat Cerone F3 flat Beringer F4 flat Cerone


Cerone Herbst Calvisius Galilei
Diruta Rodio Cerone Praetorius
Herbst Diruta Rodio
Praetorius Galilei
Rodio Herbst
Rodio

C1 flat Calvisius F5 flat Herbst

C1 Sweelinck C3 Sweelinck C4 Sweelinck F4 Sweelinck


199 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

HYPOLYDIAN
1. Melodic Structure

hypolydian 1.1. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 45v.

hypolydian 1.2. Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 50.

hypolydian 1.3. Michel de


Menehou, Nouvelle instruction
familiere, Paris, 1558, sig. Biiiv.

hypolydian 1.4. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. Kv.
200 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

hypolydian 1.5. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol.
54v (recte 56v).

2. Cadence Points
Banchieri “A voci Coriste”: C, a, F (p. 123)
Cerone F, C, “clausulas de passo”: a, G, d (p. 893)
Diruta F, C, a (p. 3)
Dressler F, a, C (pp. 160–61)
Herbst C, F, a (p. 74)
Lanfranco C, d, F, a (p. 110)
Pontio F, C, a, B-flat if in a flat key, “per transito”: G, d (p. 113)
Sancta Maria F, a, “de passo”: C (fol. 69)
Sweelinck C, F, a (p. 145)
Vanneus C, d, F, a (fol. 89v)
Vicentino B-flat, C, F, d (fol. 56v)
Zarlino C, a, F (pp. 326–27)
201 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Cochlaeus (Tetrachordum musices, Nuremberg, 1511):
Triti Hypolydius, 6., Qui procedit per Lachrymosam continentiam. (sig. Cii)
Tritus, which contains. . . . Hypolydian, 6, moving with doleful moderation. (p. 47)

3.2. Gaffurius (De Harmonia Musicorum Instrumentorum Opus,


Liber Quartus, Milan, 1518):
Hyppolydii autem moduli eius quem lydium nominavimus collateralis Polymnestrem vet-
eres celebrant auctorem: quem et multo maiorem chordulae tractum atque remissiorem
sonum fecisse contendunt. Hic enim lydii ducis sui et propriam dicitur subvertere iucundi-
tatem ad pias.s.lacrimas convertens: et flebilis congruentiae participatione laetati. (fol.
LXXXVIIv)
The ancients celebrated Polymnestor as creator of the Hypolydian mode, the collateral of our
Lydian; they say he made a lower sound by adding longer strings. It is said to subvert the pleas-
antness of the Lydian, its leader, to tears and to participation in a harmony of lamenting.
(p. 187)

3.3. Lanfranco (Scintille di musica, Brescia, 1533):


Ma egli e di natura contraria al suo Autentico. Perchioche questo invita: & induce il core
allagrimare. (p. 110)
But this [mode] is by nature contrary to that of its Authentic, since it invites and induces the
heart to weep.

3.4. Vanneus (Recanetum de musica aurea, Rome, 1533):


Sextus tonus pius ac devotus. Sexto tono, ex Placalibus tertio, cuncta pietatis verba moventia,
maxime ex Devotione, & Commiseratione, & Laetitia ad lachrymas, aptissime commodantur,
nec iniuria Musici devotum, lachrymabilem, ac pientissimum appellant tonum, ad differentiam
Secundi toni, quem diximus funestum ac aerumnosum. (fol. 92v)
The sixth mode is pious and devoted. The sixth mode, the third of the Plagals, is most suitably
given all words of piety that move [one] to tears, especially from devotion, or from pity and
joy, and not without justice do musicians call it the devoted, tearful, and most pious mode, in
distinction to the second mode, which we have called the dirgelike and grief-stricken. (p. 375)

3.5. Agricola (Rudimenta musices, Wittenberg, 1539):


Cum vero de amore, precatione, vel lamentatione fuerint verba, flebiles et adulatorias modu-
lationes, quae ex secundo quarto et sexto oriunter tonis, accommodare decet. (sig. Dij)
When the words deal with love, prayer or lamentation, it is fitting to set them to doleful and
flattering melodies, which arise from the second, fourth and sixth modes. (p. 367)
202 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.6. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):


Mediocris iucunditatis est Modus, nihil eximiae elegantiae habens, propter mediationem sub
tritono factam. Ideoque veteres Ecclesiastici in gravibus cantilenis eo usi videntur: Quae hodie
tamen, ut iam saepe admonuimus in Hypoionicum plaeraeque mutatae conspiciun-
tur. . . . quem in Hypolydio obtinebat, loco, semitonio minore, in secundum locum. (p. 114)
The mode is moderately pleasing, having no unusual elegance because of the division which
includes the tritone. And the old church musicians seem to have used it in serious songs, most of
which, however, are found today to be changed into the Hypoionian. . . . by lowering the small
semitone from the highest place, which it had in the Hypolydian, into the next position. (p. 152)

3.7. Vicentino (L’antica musica ridotta alla


moderna prattica, Rome, 1555):
. . . . al Lidio etiam dio che il Plagale habbia alquanto piu del mesto, del suo Autentico, nondi-
meno questo sesto Modo hà dell’allegro, & del feroce. (fol 45v)
Although the plagal is somewhat sadder than the authentic, nevertheless, the sixth mode is still
relatively cheerful and ferocious. (p. 144)

Sarà di contraria natura di gl’altri modi plagali, perche la maggior parte d’essi saranno mesti; &
questo sarà allegro, per cagione del dittono, che sarà nella parte di sotto della sua quinta. (fol. 50)
Its nature is opposite to that of the other plagal modes, for most of them are sad, whereas the
sixth mode is cheerful because the ditone is in the lower position within its fifth. (p. 157)

3.8. Finck (Practica musica, Wittenberg, 1556):


Sextus hypolydius appellatus, priori contrarius, in precationibus non est infrequens: qui etsi ab
aliquibus Veneri attribuitur, quod pręse ferat humanitatem, simulet Curios, interea tamen insi-
diosè & callidè in omnes occasiones intentus sit, tamen videtur collationi illi subesse aliquid
absurditatis: Deus enim non fallitur, Deoque inspectori cordium fucata specie perinde ut hom-
ini non imponitur. (sig. [Rriv])
The sixth, called Hypolydian, contrary to the previous one, is not rare in prayers. Although it
is attributed by some to Venus because it proffers human kindness, imitates the Curios [a
family which served as a model for Roman virtue], in the meanwhile however insidiously and
cunningly lays in wait for each opportunity. To him however, this collection seems to be based
on a certain absurdity; for God does not allow himself to be deceived, and God, the inspector
of the heart, is not bedazzled in the same way as man by a painted face.

3.9. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche,Venice, 1558):


Questo da gli Ecclesiastici è stato molto frequentato, si come era frequentato anche molto il
suo Modo principale: Imperoche si trova ne i loro libri molte cantilene, composte sotto questo
Modo, ilquale dicono, non esser molto allegro, ne molto elegante; & però lo usarono nelle
cantilene gravi & devote, che contengono commiseratione; & lo accompagnarono a quelle
materie, che contengono lagrime. Di maniera che lo chiamarono Modo devoto, & lagrimev-
ole; a differenza del Secondo, ilquale è più tosto funebre, & calamitoso, che altro. (p. 326)
203 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

The sixth mode, like its principal mode, was used very frequently by churchmen, and thus
there are many compositions in their books which are written in this mode. They felt that the
sixth mode was not very cheerful or elegant, and therefore they used it in serious and devout
compositions containing commiseration, and accommodated it to matters containing tears.
So they called it a devout and tearful mode to distinguish it from the second mode, which is
more funereal and calamitous. (p. 70)

3.10. Tallis (The whole psalter translated into English Metre,


London, 1567/8):
The sixth bewaileth: it weepeth full sore. (p. 193)

3.11. Padavano (Institutiones, Verona, 1578):


Ut quum de morte, vel lugubri re aliqua, aut quavis lamentatione verba fuerint, flebilem pro
sua virili adhibeat concentum. Ad hoc enim ego quidem plurimum facere arbitror cantilenam
in quarto, aut sexto tono, seu etiam in secundo dispositam: quod constat tonos hosce, quum
remissiores sint, huiusmodi effectum facile parere. (p. 14)
Thus when the words are about death or any other mournful subject or are about a particular
cause of lament, it [the music] ought as far as possible to employ a soft harmony. For this,
indeed, I think that the piece ought especially to be arranged in the fourth or sixth mode or
even in the second one: as it happens, these modes, being lower, easily produce an effect of the
kind described. (p. 372)

3.12. Pontio (Ragionamento di musica, Parma, (1588):


Ancora sarà buono il compositore avertisca di pigliare un Tuono appropriato alle parole;
come sarebbe à dire se le parole saranno meste pigliare un Tuono mesto, come il Secondo,
Quarto, et Sesto, se anco le parole mostreranno allegrezza, pigliare uno de gli altri Tuoni.
(p. 148)
It is also a good idea for the composer to take care to choose a mode appropriate to the words,
that is, if the words are sad, to choose a sad mode, such as the second, fourth and sixth, yet if
the words display happiness, to choose one of the other modes. (p. 372)

3.13. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


Questo tuono sonato nelli suoi tasti naturali rende l’armonia divota, e grave. (p. 7)
Played untransposed, this tone renders the harmony devout and solemn. (p. 109)

3.14. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Appellatur alius vetus sextus, & est mediocris jocunditatis, parum enim elegantiæ habet,
propter mediationem sub tritono factam. (sig. Kv)
The other is called the old sixth and is of average pleasantness. It has namely little elegance,
because its division is made below the tritone.
204 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.15. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Dieser Modus ist von Natur gelind / trawrig / und klaghafftig / bequem zu den Vorbitten und
Klagliedern / mit deβ Herzens sonderbaren toben und Unwillen. Wird aber wie der fünffte
selten gebraucht / sondern mit dem zwölfften Modo Hypojonico, durch das zugesetzte b fa
confundirt und vermenget. (p. 105)
Hypolydian is by nature mild, sad, and plaintive, suitable for intercessions and songs of lament,
with the singular raging and resentment of the heart. Like the fifth, however, it is rarely used,
but rather confounded and confused with the twelfth mode, Hypoionian by means of the
added b fa.

3.16. Sweelinck (“Über die acht, respektive zwölf


Tonarten,” 17th Century):
Der Sextus tonus ist von Natur fröhlich, und eignet sich besonders zu solcher Materie.
(p. 147)
The sixth mode is by nature cheerful and is particularly suited to such subjects.

4. Clefs
4.1. Hypolydian

Appendix Table 4.1 Hypolydian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 Beringer C3 Cerone C4 Beringer F4 Cerone


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Galilei
Cerone Nucius Cerone Herbst
Diruta Rodio Diruta Nucius
Herbst Galilei Praetorius
Nucius Herbst Rodio
Praetorius Nucius
Rodio Rodio
Zarlino Zarlino

C1 flat Bona C3 flat Bona C4 flat Bona F4 flat Bona


Pontio Sweelinck Pontio Pontio
Sancta Maria Vicentino Sancta Maria Sancta Maria
Sweelinck Sweelinck Sweelinck
Vicentino Vicentino Vicentino

C2 flat Sancta Maria


205 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

4.2. Transposed Hypolydian


Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Hypolydian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 flat Beringer C2 flat Cerone C3 flat Beringer F3 flat Cerone


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Galilei
Cerone Rodio Cerone Herbst
Herbst Galilei Praetorius
Praetorius Herbst Rodio
Rodio Rodio
F4 flat Calvisius

G2 Sweelinck C2 Sweelinck C3 Sweelinck C4 Sweelinck

Bernhard and Rodio write that this mode is rarely used by modern composers.

MIXOLYDIAN
1. Melodic Structure

mixolydian 1.1. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555,
fol. 46.

mixolydian 1.2. Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 50v.

mixolydian 1.3. Michel de


Menehou, Nouvelle instruction
familiere, Paris, 1558, sig. [Biv].
206 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

mixolydian 1.4. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. K2.

mixolydian 1.5. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 56v.

2. Cadence Points
Banchieri “per voce humani”: C, e, g (i.e. transposed, p. 125)
Cerone G, d, “Clausulas de passo”: e, F, a, C (p. 896)
Diruta G, b, d (p. 3)
Dressler G, d, “minus principalis”: C (pp. 160–63)
Herbst G, d, b, “assumptae sive peregrinae”: a, C (p. 75) “Die Clausula in N
dur. . . . weil sie mehrentheils im Phrygio oder tertio Modo gebräuchlich /
wird in diesem Modo selten gebraucht / sondern zwo andere / eine im a:
die andere im c. dafür angenommen.” In translation, “The cadence in
b. . . . because it is mostly used in Phrygian or the third mode, is rarely used
in this mode; rather two others, in a and in C, are taken in its stead.”
Lanfranco G, a, b, C, d (p. 111)
Pontio G, d, “per transito”: C, e, a, F (pp. 115–16)
Sancta Maria G, d (fol. 69)
Sweelinck G, d, b (p. 147)
Vanneus G, a, b, C, d (fol. 89v)
Vicentino G, C, d, a, F(d) (fol. 56v)
Zarlino G, b, d (p. 327)
207 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Cochlaeus (Tetrachordum musices, Nuremberg, 1511):
Tetrardi Mixolydius, 7., Qui procedit per Saltus inimicos. (sig. Cii)
Tetrardus, which contains Mixolydian, 7, moving with uncommon leaps. (p. 47)

3.2. Gaffurius (De Harmonia Musicorum Instrumentorum Opus,


Liber Quartus, Milan, 1518):
Mixolydio autem: que & gravissimum Dorii modi tetrachordum continuet & acutissimum
duobus coniunctis tetrachordis superductum tonum obtineat: geminam contulere naturam.
Incitationis. s. & continentiae: quem (hac ipsa ratione) & mixto colore pictores monstrant: &
variis tripudiis (incitatioribus videlicet & revocatis moesticiam ducentem) adolescentiae &
Iuventutis mores praefigurare ferunt. (fol. LXXXVI)
The Mixolydian has a twofold nature since it contains the lowest tetrachord of the Dorian
mode and the highest whole tone above in the two conjunct hexachords. It has the nature of
excitement and of continence; for this reason painters show it in a mixed color. They say that
in various dances (those that are more excited and those recalled to sorrow) it prefigures the
customs of adolescents and the young. (p. 184)

3.3. Lanfranco (Scintille di musica, Brescia, 1533):


Ma secondo Franchino: questo ha due nature: cio e di incitatione lasciva: & di modesta con-
tenenza. (p. 111)
But according to Franchinus this [mode] has two natures, that is that of lascivious incitement
and that of modest contentment.

3.4. Vanneus (Recanetum de musica aurea, Rome, 1533):


Septimus tonus mistus ac querimo niosus. Septimum tonum in Autenticorum turba Quartum,
Lasciva verba, cum modestis, iucundisque mixta, tum concitata, iracunda, atque minantia,
Summopere decent, ob idque querimoniosus nuncupatur tonus. (fol. 93)
The seventh mode is mixed and with complaint. The seventh tone, fourth in the complement
of the Authentics, is expecially suited to lascivious words mixed in with moderate and pleasant
ones, but then also to excited, angry, and threatening ones; and for this reason it is called the
querulous mode. (p. 375)
208 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.5. Agricola (Rudimenta musices, Wittenberg, 1539):


Cum indignationem et severitatem sapiunt verba, asperos et severos disponat sonos, quod
tertio et septimo competit tono. (sig. Dij)
When the words convey a feeling of indignation and severity, he ought to arrange for the
sounds to be harsh and severe, as conforms to the third and seventh modes. (p. 367)

3.6. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):


Apud veteres Ecclesiasticos in maximo erat usu, nostra vero tempestate in novis thematis, que-
madmodum & eius Plagius, Mixolydius, atque adeo Lydius cum suo Plagio Hypolydio, prope
ignotus. Quod inde accidissereor, Quod Ionicus celebrior Modus, & ut puto, antiquior homi-
num usu, ut sol habeat diapente, & si non positu specie tamen cum Mixolydio communem,
Caeterum assuefactio ea effecit, ut cantores ad eam perpetuo adiecerint ut fa, quae diatessaron
est Ionici, superne adiecta, non re sol, quae Mixolydij est diatessaron. Porrò ad hunc Modum
multae sunt iucundissimae cantiones, ut in mille Responsorijs Introitibusque patet. (p. 134)
It was in very great use among early church musicians, but in our time the Mixolydian and its plagal,
and also the Lydian and its plagal, are almost unknown in recent composers of themes. I think this
has occurred because the Ionian, a more celebrated mode, and as I believe, older in men’s usage, has
the fifth ut sol common with the Mixolydian, although not the octave-species arrangement. Further,
this worked out in practise that singers would constantly add ut fa, which is the fourth added above
in the Ionian, to this fifth, not re sol, the fourth of the Mixolydian. Moreover, many extremely pleasing
songs are in this mode, as is evident in a thousand Responsories and Introits. (p. 170)

3.7. Vicentino (L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica,


Rome, 1555):
Questo modo sarà molto allegro, & havrà del superbo. (fol. 45v)
This mode is very cheerful and rather haughty. (p. 144)

Hora il settimo Modo sarà il piu alto de tutti, & sarà molto allegro. (fol. 50)
The seventh mode is the highest of all, and it is very cheerful. (p. 158)

3.8. Finck (Practica musica, Wittenberg, 1556):


Septimus tonus cui & Myxolydij nomen inditum est, cum Saturno plaeraque communia habet,
voce Stentorea & magnis clamoribus se ostentat, ut omnibus terrorisit, sed mihi rem seriam agere
non videtur: nam seniores usu edocti, & calamitatibus mansuefacti, anxij semper ac solliciti, accu-
ratius omnia perpendunt, fortunae inconstantiam metuunt, recordantur ineptiarum adolescen-
tiae, suntque in universum morosiores. Interdum etiam simulant austeritatem studio emendationis
res futuras denunciaturi. In invectivis huius toni praecipuus usus est. (sig. [Rriv-Rrivv])
The seventh mode which is also given the name Mixolydian, has most in common with Saturn.
It presents itself with a stentorian voice and great noise, and terrorizes everybody, but it
appears to me not to do anything seriously. For the elderly—taught by experience and accus-
tomed to calamity, always anxious and solicitous—examine everything exactly, fear fortune’s
inconstancy, remember the foolishnesses of adolescence, and on the whole are in a bad mood.
209 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

Occasionally they simulate austerity and denounce with zeal the improvements of future
developments. This mode is used mostly for invectives.

3.9. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche,Venice, 1558):


A questo (secondo che dicono) si conviene parole, o materie, che siano lascive; o che trattino
di lascivia; le quali siano allegre, dette con modestia; & quelle, che significano minaccie, per-
turbationi, & ira. (p. 327)
The words which are appropriate to this mode are said to be those which are lascivious or
which deal with lasciviousness, those which are cheerful and spoken with modesty, and those
which express threat, perturbation, and anger. (p. 72)

3.10. Tallis (The whole psalter translated into English Metre,


London, 1567/8):
The seventh treadeth stout: in froward race. (p. 193)

3.11. Padavano (Institutiones, Verona, 1578):


Quum verò verba indignationem et increpationem exprimentia, proferri oportet: asperi
utique, et duriores soni sunt adhibendi: id quod tertio, ac septimo tono plerunque solitum est
ascribi. (p. 14)
When, however words expressing indignation and disapproval need to be delivered, [the
music] should no doubt employ harsh and harder sounds, which are wont to be attributed, for
the most part, to the third and seventh modes. (p. 372)

3.12. Pontio (Ragionamento di musica, Parma, (1588):


Ancora sarà buono il compositore avertisca di pigliare un Tuono appropriato alle parole; come
sarebbe à dire se le parole saranno meste pigliare un Tuono mesto, come il Secondo, Quarto,
et Sesto, se anco le parole mostreranno allegrezza, pigliare uno de gli altri Tuoni. (p. 148)
It is also a good idea for the composer to take care to choose a mode appropriate to the words,
that is, if the words are sad, to choose a sad mode, such as the second, fourth and sixth, yet if
the words display happiness, to choose one of the other modes. (p. 372)

3.13. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


Questo tuono Sonato nelli suoi tasti naturali rende l’Armonia allegra, e soave. (p. 7)
Played untransposed, this tone renders the harmony bright and agreeable. (p. 110)

3.14. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Fuit hic modus veterious Ecclesiasticis valde gratus, ob multas virtutes, quas habet, maximè vero
ob sedatam quandam gravitatem. Ejus Cantiones non sunt supra modum jocundæ, sed hon-
estatem & gravitatem magis repræsentant. Convenient itaque huic modo, illustriora S. Scripturæ
210 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

dicta, pietatem redolentia, nec non insigniores sententiæ, quas γνω̃μας Græci dicunt. Nostra
ætas nobilitatem vix agnoscit, adeò ad omnia obsurduit honesta, ut inquit Glareanus. (sig. K2)
This mode was very pleasing to the old churchmen because of the many virtues which it has,
but mostly because of a certain sedate dignity. Its songs are not immoderately pleasant, but
rather display honesty and dignity. Suitable to this mode are famous passages from the Holy
Script, redolent of piety, as well as the more excellent maxims which the Greeks call gnomes.
Our time hardly perceives nobility, is even deaf for everything honorable, as Glarean says.

3.15. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Mixolydius oder Mysolydius auβ den Mysis und Lydis vermischt / daher er auch den Namen hat
/ ist von Natur Ernsthafft / und etwas saur / aber nicht so gar sehr wie der Dritte. Andern ist er
frölich und lieblich / kan doch auch Trawrigkeit / Zorn und andere Affecten erwecken. Und
geziemen sich zu diesem Modo prechtige und ernsthaffte Wort / denckwürdige und tapffere
Thaten / Straffen / Vermahnungen / und dergleichen Materien. (p. 106)
Mixolydian—or Mysolydius, from the joining of Mysis and Lydis, for which reason it also has
its name—is by nature serious and somewhat bitter, but not so very much like the third
[mode]. In addition it is cheerful and pleasant, can also awaken sadness, anger and other
affects. And splendid and serious words are suitable for this mode, thought-worthy and bold
deeds, punishments and warnings, and other such subjects.

3.16. Sweelinck (“Über die acht, respektive zwölf Tonarten,”


17th Century):
Der Septimus Tonus ist gut zu gebrauchen bei Materien, welche die Fröhlichkeit zu erkennen
geben, ebenso bei Materien der “perturbation und wiederwertigkeit.” (p. 148)
The seventh mode may be used well for subjects which show cheerfulness, as well as for sub-
jects concerning “perturbation and adversity.”

4. Clefs
4.1. Mixolydian

Appendix Table 4.1 Mixolydian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 Beringer C2 Bona C3 Beringer F3 Herbst


(mixoaeolius) (mixoaeolius)
Bona Cerone Bona Nucius
Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Rodio
Cerone Nucius Cerone Sancta
Maria
211 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

Diruta Rodio Diruta Sweelinck


Herbst Sancta Maria Galilei Vicentino
Nucius Sweelinck Herbst
Pontio Vicentino Nucius
Praetorius Rodio
Rodio Sancta Maria
Sancta Maria Sweelinck
Sweelinck Vicentino
Vicentino Zarlino
Zarlino

C2 Pontio C4 Bona
F3 Cerone
Galilei*

C4 Praetorius

F4 Calvisius

*C2 and F3 in the original; the printed notes, however make it clear that C4 was intended.

4.2. Transposed Mixolydian


Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Mixolydian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 flat Beringer C3 flat Cerone C4 flat Beringer F4 flat Cerone


(mixoaeolius) (mixoaeolius)
Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Galilei
Cerone Rodio Cerone Herbst
Herbst Sweelinck Diruta Praetorius
Praetorius Galilei Rodio
Sweelinck Herbst Sweelinck
Rodio
Sweelinck

C2 flat Diruta
Rodio

Calvisius, Cerone and Zarlino write that while pieces in this mode are often notated in their
natural range they may also be notated in their transposed position.
212 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

HYPOMIXOLYDIAN

1. Melodic Structure

hypomixolydian 1.1. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, 46.

hypomixolydian 1.2. Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome, 1555, fol. 50v.

hypomixolydian 1.3. Michel de Menehou, Nouvelle instruction familiere, Paris, 1558, sig. [Biv].

hypomixolydian 1.4. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. K2v.
213 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

hypomixolydian 1.5. Nicola Vicentino, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, Rome,
1555, fol. 57.

2. Cadence Points

Banchieri “per voci humane”: C, G, e, (i.e., transposed, p. 127)


Cerone G, d, C, “clausulas de passo”: F, a, b (p. 897)
Diruta d, b, G (p. 3)
Dressler G, d, C (pp. 162–63)
Herbst d, G, b (rarò), “assumptae sive peregrinae”: C, a (p. 76)
Lanfranco C, d, F, G, a (p. 111)
Pontio G, d, C, “per transito”: F, a (p. 117–18)
Sancta Maria G, C (fol. 69v)
Sweelinck d, G, b, C (“anstatt der Kadenz auf H”; “instead of the cadence on
b.”) (p. 149)
Vanneus d, F, G, C (fol. 89v)
Vicentino G, C, d, F, a (fol. 57)
Zarlino d, b, G (p. 328)

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Cochlaeus (Tetrachordum musices, Nuremberg, 1511):
Tetrardi Hypomixolydius, 8., Qui procedit per Decentem & quasi matronalem tenorem. (sig. Cii)
Tetrardus, which contains. . . . Hypomixolydian, 8, following a modest and sedate course.
(p. 47)
214 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.2. Lanfranco (Scintille di musica, Brescia, 1533):


Ma questo secondo il detto Aaron, si conviene ne i luoghi allegri, ma di modesta contenenza
pieni. (p. 111)
But this [mode] according to above-mentioned Aaron is suitable for lively places, but full of
modest joy.

3.3. Vanneus (Recanetum de musica aurea, Rome, 1533):


Octavus tonus mitis suavisque. Octavus omnium tonorum ultimus, laetitia, iucunditate,
suavitate afficit auditores, ab omni lascivia, ac omni vitio penitus alienus est, ei merito
sermo mitis, moratus, gravis, resque continens profundas, speculativas, divinas, ut sunt de
coelesti foelicitate & gloria, a Musicis dedicatus est, nec ab hoc tono verba abhorrent, quae
ad exorandam gratiam contempta sunt, eius nomen est rei consequens, quum suavis
mitisque dicatur. (fol. 93)
The eighth mode is mild and sweet. The eighth, the last of all modes, affects all who
hear it with joy, pleasure, and sweetness, and it is completely alien to lasciviousness and
to every vice. To it by right musicians have dedicated speech that is mild, unhurried,
serious, that contains profound matter, or philosophical, or theological, since they con-
cern heavenly happiness and glory; nor do words shrink from this mode that are
attempted for the sake of asking favor. Its name follows the facts, since it is called sweet
and mild. (p. 375)

3.4. Agricola (Rudimenta musices, Wittenberg, 1539):


Laudis et modestiae verba, iucundas exigunt cantiones, quod primo, quinto et octavo tono
adscribi solitum est. (sig. Dij)
Words of praise and temperance require pleasant melodies, which are customarily assigned to
the first, fifth and eighth modes. (p. 367)

3.5. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):


Apud veteres Ecclesiasticos in magno fuit usu, ad quem elegantissimas sanè, ac suavissimas
cantilenas effinxerunt, nostra vero aetate, ut supra testati sumus, Cantores ad eam formam
rarissimè Tenores novos instituunt, à veteribus tamen desumptos elegantissimè quatuor con-
cludunt vocibus. (p. 120)
It was in great use among early church musicians, who fashioned the most elegant and agree-
able songs according to it; yet in our time, as we stated above, singers very rarely arrange new
tenors in that mode, but they enclose very beautifully in four voices those selected from the
early musicians. (p. 157)

3.6. Vicentino (L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica,


Rome, 1555):
Questo ottavo Modo è di natura assai viva, & è Ecclesiastico. (fol. 46)
This eighth mode is by nature quite lively as well as pious. (p. 145)
215 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

Resta à dir dell’ottavo Modo, il quale è allegro & ecclesiastico. (fol. 50v)
It remains to be said that the eighth mode. . . . is cheerful and pious. (p. 159)

3.7. Finck (Practica musica, Wittenberg, 1556):


Octavus Hypomixolydius appellatur: Hic tonus non dissimilis est naturae ac moribus honestae
matronae, quae mariti iram & commotionem oratione favoribili lenire & sedare conatur, Omnes
occasiones irae praecîdit, offensiones studiosè (ut par est) vitat, quarum quidem mulierum magna
est penuria. Placabilis ideò dicitur, quod illius conditio & natura eiusmodi est. (fol. Rr ivv)
The eighth is called Hypomixolydian. This mode is not dissimilar to the nature and customs
of a honest matron which attempts to mollify and quiet down the rage and agitation of her
husband with agreeable speech. It cuts off all occasions for rage, it carefully avoids impropri-
eties (as is fit), of which there is great lack in women. It is therefore called placable because that
is its condition and nature.

3.8. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche,Venice, 1558):


. . . . & dicono li Prattici, che questo Modo hà natura di contenere in se una certa naturale soavità, &
dolcezza abondante, che riempe di allegrezza gli animi de gli ascoltanti, con somma giocondità, &
soavità mista; & vogliono, che sia al tutto lontano dalla lascivia, & da ogni vitio. La onde lo accom-
pagnarono con le parole, o materie mansuete, accostumate, gravi, contenenti cose profunde, spec-
ulative, & divine; come sono quelle, che sono accommodate ad impetrar gratia da Dio. (p. 328)
Practicing musicians say that the eighth mode contains a certain natural softness and an abun-
dant sweetness which fills the spirits of the listeners with joy combined with great gaiety and
sweetness. They also claim that it is completely removed from lasciviousness and every vice.
Hence they use it with words or subjects which are tame, civilized, and grave, and which con-
tain profound, speculative, and divine thoughts, such as those suited for entreating the grace
of the Lord. (p. 74)

3.9. Tallis (The whole psalter translated into English Metre,


London, 1567/8):
The eighth goeth mild: in modest pace. (p. 193)

3.10. Padavano (Institutiones, Verona, 1578):


Laudis et modestiae verba medios quodammodo illos exigunt, quod primus, itemque octavus
toni optimè prestant. (p. 14)
Words of praise and virtue require, to a certain degree, those middle [sounds] for which the
first and eighth modes are particularly appropriate. (p. 372)

3.11. Pontio (Ragionamento di musica, Parma, (1588):


Ancora sarà buono il compositore avertisca di pigliare un Tuono appropriato alle parole; come
sarebbe à dire se le parole saranno meste pigliare un Tuono mesto, come il Secondo, Quarto,
et Sesto, se anco le parole mostreranno allegrezza, pigliare uno de gli altri Tuoni. (p. 148)
216 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

It is also a good idea for the composer to take care to choose a mode appropriate to the words,
that is, if the words are sad, to choose a sad mode, such as the second, fourth and sixth, yet if
the words display happiness, to choose one of the other modes. (p. 372)

3.12. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


Questo tuono sonato nelli suoi tasti naturali rende l’Armonia vaga, & dilettevole. (p. 8)
Played untransposed, this tone renders the harmony charming and delightful. (p. 111)

3.13. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Porro hic naturalem quandam suavitatem, & auribus affluentem dulcedinem, modestia &
delectatione mixtam habet, unde à Veteribus in delicijs est habitus. Conveniunt huic modo res
piæ res honestæ ac jocundæ. Nota quod hic modus præter mediationem ac finalem clavem,
reliqua omnia quantum ad tonorum semitoniorumque dispositonem attinet, communia
habet cum Dorio. (sig. K2v)
Further this [mode] has a certain suavity and sweetness which flatters the ears, mixed with
modesty and delectation, whence in antiquity one considered it for pleasure. Pious subjects,
honorable and pleasant subjects are suited to this mode. Note that this mode—except for the
mediant and final—has all the rest, as far as the disposition of the tones and semitones is
concerned, in common with Dorian.

3.14. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium


Melo-poëticum, Nuremberg, 1643):
Hypomixolydius der achte Modus, ist von Natur züchtig / versöhnlich und lieblich / und werden
ihme Zucht / Lob und Ehrerbietungswort / Brautlieder und Dancksagungen zugeschrieben.
Heutiges tags werden die Psalmen und Historien / welche die fürnembsten Wolthaten Gottes
begreiffen / sampt der H. Schrifft Trostspruch / damit gezieret und darauff gesetzt. (p. 107)
Hypomixolydian, the eighth mode, is by nature modest, conciliatory and pleasant and words
of modesty, praise, and veneration, bridal songs and thanksgiving are assigned to it. Today the
psalms and the Bible stories, which contain the good deeds of the Lord, as well as the words of
comfort from the Bible, are adorned by and set to this mode.

3.15. Sweelinck (“Über die acht, respektive zwölf


Tonarten,” 17th Century):
Der Octavus Tonus ist von Natur besonders geeignet zu andächtiger und tiefsinniger Materie
und daher zu geistlichen Gesängen am besten zu gebrauchen. (p. 150)
The eighth mode is by nature particularly suited to devout and profound subjects and is there-
fore best used for sacred songs.
4. Clefs
4.1. Hypomixolydian
Appendix Table 4.1 Hypomixolydian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 Beringer C3 Bona C4 Beringer F4 Bona


Bona Cerone Bona Cerone
Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Galilei
Cerone Nucius Cerone Herbst
Diruta Rodio Diruta Nucius
Herbst Sweelinck Galilei Praetorius
Nucius Vicentino Herbst Rodio
Praetorius Nucius Sweelinck
Rodio Rodio Vicentino
Sweelinck Sweelinck
Vicentino Vicentino
Zarlino Zarlino

G2 Bona* C2 Bona* C3 Bona* C4 Bona*


Pontio Sancta Maria Pontio F3
Sancta Maria Sancta Maria

F3 Sancta Maria

*[Notated] like the 7th mode, or more frequently with the clefs associated with the first, as seen
in the top line of this table. (p. 73)

4.2. Transposed Hypomixolydian


Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Hypomixolydian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 flat Beringer C2 flat Cerone C3 flat Beringer F3 flat Galilei


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Herbst
Cerone Rodio Cerone Praetorius
Herbst Sweelinck Galilei Rodio
Praetorius Herbst
Rodio Rodio
Sweelinck Sweelinck

C4 flat Sweelinck

C4 flat Cerone
F3 flat

F4 flat Calvisius

Pontio writes that this mode is usually notated in its proper range.
218 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

AEOLIAN
1. Melodic Structure

aeolian 1.1. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. K3.

2. Cadence Points

Banchieri “Per voci humane”: d, F, a (i.e., transposed, p. 129)


Cerone a, e, C, “clausulas de passo”: d, F, G (p. 900)
Diruta a, C, e (p. 3)
Herbst a, e, C, “peregrinae”: d, F (p. 77)
Sweelinck e, C, a (p. 151)
Zarlino a, C, e (p. 331)

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):
Aeolius. . . . divisus harmonicôs. . . . vetus quidem, sed multis annis nomine exulans simplex, ut
vocat Apuleius, apertus, tersusque, aptissimus cum alijs cantibus, tum maximè modulandis
lyricis versibus. Hic cum iucunda, ac supra modum dulci suavitate gratam habet severitatem,
quod non tam facit diapente re la, cum Dorio communis, quippe quae utrosque concludit
Modos, quàm diatessaron mi la, supernè huic Modo annexa, mirè auribus grata, cum in Dorio
sit re sol, non ingrata illa quidem neque in concinna, sed magis cum re la vulgo celebrata,
Ideoque minus miranda. (p. 104)
Aeolian. . . . is divided harmonically. . . . old indeed, but deprived of a name for many years, and
simple as Apuleius says, open and pure, most suitable for various songs and especially for
setting lyric verses. It has a pleasant seriousness together with an agreeable sweetness charm-
ing beyond measure, which the fifth re la, common with the Dorian also inasmuch as it con-
cludes both modes, does not produce so much as the fourth, mi la, added above to this mode,
is wonderfully pleasing to the ears, while the fourth re sol in the Dorian is indeed neither dis-
agreeable not inelegant, but is used more commonly with re la, and thus is less singular.
(pp. 142–43)

3.2. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche,Venice, 1558):


Questo Modo, alcuni l’hanno chiamato aperto, & terso, attissimo ai versi lirici; la onde se
li potranno accommodar quelle parole, che contengono materie allegre, dolci, soavi, &
219 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

sonore: essendo che (come dicono) hà in sè una grata severità, mescolata con una certa
allegrezza, & dolce soavità oltra modo. E cosa notissima a tutti li periti della Musica, che
questo Modo col Primo sono tra loro molto conformi: percioche la Prima specie della
Diapente è commune all’uno, & all’altro; & si può passare dall’uno in l’altro facilmente.
(p. 330)
Some have called the ninth mode open and terse, very suitable for lyric poetry. One can use
this mode with words containing cheerful, sweet, soft, and sonorous subjects, because (as it is
claimed) it possesses a pleasant severity, mixed with a certain cheerfulness and sweet softness.
It is well known to all experts in music that this mode and the first mode conform with each
other, for the first species of diapente is common to both of them, and one can pass easily from
one to the other. (p. 77)

3.3. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


Questo tuono sonato nelli suoi tasti naturali rende l’Armonia allegra soave et sonora.
(p. 9)
Played untransposed, this tone makes the harmony bright, agreeable, and sonorous.
(p. 112)

3.4. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Porro tersus, mitis ac mirè suavis est hic tonus vel Modus com jocunda enim dulcedine gratam
habet severitatem, quam non modo Diapente re la. Porrò communem, verum etiam
Diatessaron Mi la excitat. (sig. K3)
Further this mode is pure, mild and wonderfully suave, it has agreeable sweetness with a pleas-
ant severity, which not only the fifth re la, but also the fourth mi la generates.

3.5. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Aeolius der neundte Modus, ist lieblich / frölich / zu wichtigen und Gottsfürchtigen Sachen
geschickt: Wird auch vom Apuleio simplex und einfältig genennet / dann im untersten Theil
wegen der quint Re la, welche er mit der ersten gemein hat / ist er sanfftmütig / und über die
massen lieblich / aber in der obersten stelle / wegen der quart Mi la, ist er etwas härter und
weinender / als der erste Modus. Sein gebrauch kan in denen Sachen seyn / die eine Gravität
mit einer Gottes furcht in sich begreiffen. Hierher gehören auch Tapffere / Mannliche und
Lobwürdige Thaten. (p. 107)
Aeolian, the ninth mode, is pleasant, cheerful, and suitable for important and God-fearing
subjects; it is also called simplex and simple by Apuleuis, as in the lower range—because of
the fifth re la which he shares with the first one—it is mild, and extraordinarily agreeable,
but in the upper range—because of the fourth mi la—it is somewhat harder and more
weepy than the first mode. It may be used for those subjects which combine gravity with
piety.
220 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

4. Clefs
4.1. Aeolian
Appendix Table 4.1 Aeolian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 Beringer C2 Cerone C3 Beringer F3 Herbst


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Nucius
Cerone Nucius Cerone Rodio
Diruta Rodio Diruta
Herbst Herbst
Nucius Nucius
Praetorius Rodio
Rodio

C2 Zarlino C3 Galilei C4 Galilei


C2 Praetorius

F3 Zarlino C4 Cerone
F3

F4 Calvisius

C2 Nucius* C3 Nucius* F4 Nucius* F5 Nucius*

*Nucius gives these clefs but writes that one can also notate this mode an octave higher which is more
usual, “Vel sic per octavam, quod usitatus est.” (sig. K3)

4.2. Transposed Aeolian

Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Aeolian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 flat Beringer C3 flat Cerone C4 flat Beringer F4 flat Galilei


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Herbst
Cerone Rodio Cerone Praetorius
Diruta Diruta Rodio
Herbst Galilei
Praetorius Herbst
Rodio Rodio

F4 flat Cerone
F3 flat

F5 flat Calvisius
221 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

HYPOAEOLIAN
1. Melodic Structure

hypoaeloian 1.1. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. [K3v].

2. Cadence Points

Banchieri “Per voci humane”: d, a, F (i.e., transposed, p. 131)


Cerone a, e “clausulas de passo”: C, d, G (p. 902)
Diruta e, C, a (p. 3)
Herbst e, a, C, “Peregrina”: d (p. 78)
Sweelinck e, C, a (p. 151)
Zarlino e, C, a (p. 332)

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):
Hic Modus rarus est in usu nostra aetate, ad quem paucas in choro cantilenas reperias, pręter
Gradualia quędam, ut vocant quorum multa in adventu, multa diebus paschalibus canuntur,
quędam alijs item temporibus: quod factum existimo ignorantia discriminandi Modos.
(pp. 124–25)
This mode is infrequently used in our time, and one finds few songs in choirs according to it,
except some Graduals, as they are called, many of which are sung in Advent, and in Easter
time, also some at other times. I believe this happened through inability to distinguish the
modes. (p. 161)

3.2. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche, Venice, 1558):


Potemo dire, che la natura di questo Modo sia non molto lontana da quella del Secondo, &
del Quarto, se tal giudicio si può fare dall’harmonia, che nasce da esso: imperoche si serve
della Diapente, che è commune del Secondo; & della Diatessaron, che serve anche il Quarto.
(p. 332)
We may say that the nature of the tenth mode is not very different from that of the second and
fourth modes, if such a judgment may be made from the harmony arising from it; for the
222 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

tenth mode is composed of the diapente which is used in the second mode and the diatessaron
which is used in the fourth mode. (p. 83)

3.3. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


Sonato nelli suoi tasti naturali rendi l’Armonia alquanto mesta. (p. 10)
Played untransposed, it makes the harmony somewhat melancholy. (p. 113)

3.4. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Porro non adeò gravis est, ut Æolius Diatessaron enim Mi la, commiserationem habet. Sed
Diapente gratam oblectationem. (sig. K3v)
Further it is not so weighty as the Aeolian fourth, namely mi la, but has compassion. But the
fifth has agreeable delectability.

3.5. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Dieser zehende Modus ist von Natur trawrig / seuffzend / weinend und versöhnlich: Schicken
sich derowegen zu diesem Modo die Klaglieder Jeremiae, Buβgebet (daβ uns Gott auβ allerley
Creutz und Plagen gnädiglich erledigen wolle) und dergleichen. (p. 108)
This tenth mode is by nature sad, sighing, lachrymose and conciliatory. Therefore the lamen-
tations of Jeremiah, prayers of repentance (that God may relieve us mercifully from all sorts of
crosses and plagues) and the like are suitable for this mode.

4. Clefs
4.1. Hypoaeolian

Appendix Table 4.1 Hypoaeolian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 Beringer C3 Cerone C4 Beringer F4 Calvisius


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Cerone
Cerone Nucius Cerone Galilei
Diruta Rodio Diruta Herbst
Herbst Galilei Praetorius
Nucius Herbst Rodio
Praetorius Nucius
Rodio Rodio
Zarlino Zarlino

F3 Nucius
223 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

4.2. Transposed Hypoaeolian


Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Hypoaeolian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 flat Beringer C2 flat Cerone C3 flat Beringer C4 flat Cerone


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius F3 flat Galilei
Cerone Rodio Cerone
Herbst Herbst
Praetorius Rodio
Rodio

C3 flat Galilei C4 flat Praetorius


C2 flat Rodio

F3 flat Herbst

F4 flat Calvisius

IONIAN
1. Melodic Structure

ionian 1.1. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. K4.

2. Cadence Points
Banchieri “Per voci humane”: C, e, G (p. 133)
Cerone C, G, “clausulas de passo”: e, F, a (pp. 903–04)
Diruta C, e, G (p. 3)
Herbst C, G, e, “clausulae peregrinae”: F,a (p. 79)
Sweelinck C, G, e (p. 151)
Zarlino C, e, G (p. 333)
224 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):
Porrò hic Modus saltationibus aptissimus est, quem plaereque Europae regiones, quas nos
vidimus, adhuc in frequenti habent usu. Apud veteres Ecclesiasticos per raro ad hunc Modum
cantilenam reperias. At à proximis quadringentis, ut opinor annis, etiam apud Ecclesiae can-
tores ita adamatus, ut multas Lydij Modi cantiones, ut iam saepe diximus, in hunc mutarint,
suavitate ipsius ac lenocinio illecti. (p. 115)
Moreover, this mode is very suitable for dancing and many territories of Europe which we
have seen still use it frequently. One will very rarely find a song in this mode among the old
church musicians. On the other hand, I believe that for the last four hundred years it has also
been so deeply admired by church singers, that, enticed by its sweetness and alluring charm,
they have changed many songs of the Lydian mode into this mode, as we have often said
already. (p. 153)

3.2. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche,Venice, 1558):


Questo è di sua natura molto atto alle danze, & ai balli: per il che vedemo, che la maggior parte
de i balli, che si odeno nella Italia, si suonano sotto questo Modo; La onde nacque, che alcuni
lo dimandarono Modo lascivo. (p. 333)
The eleventh mode is by its nature very suitable for dances and balli, and therefore we find that
most balli heard in Italy are played in this mode. Hence it has happened that some have called
it a lascivious mode. (p. 85)

3.3. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


Questo tuono sonato nelli suoi tasti naturali, rende l’Armonia viva, & piena di allegrezza.
(p. 10)
Played untransposed, this tone renders the harmony fresh and full of gaiety. (p. 114)

3.4. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


A Luciano γλὰφυζο, id est, jocundus, & ab Apulejo Varius & lascivus nominatur. Porro ut
Jonum levitas etiam proverbio celebrata nota est: ita ipsorum modulus in totum saltationi-
bus & delicijs addictus, suavitatis ac jocunditatis habet multum severitatis prope nihil:
Quidam huic modo lascivem petulantiam ascribunt: quippe ad quem inter saltandum
petulantes fiant motus. Unde illud Horatij. Motus doceri gaudet Ionicos matura Virgo.
(sig. K3v)
It is called “glaphyros,” that is pleasant, by Lucian and varied and lascivious by Apuleius.
Further just as the lightness of the Ionians is proverbially known, so is their mode wholly given
to dances and pleasures, it has much suavity and pleasantness and almost no severity. Some
ascribe lascivious exuberance to this mode, inasmuch as they make exuberant movements
during the dances. Thus the remark of Horace that it pleases the mature virgin to be taught
the Ionian movements.
225 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3.5. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Ionicus der eylffte Modus, ist von Natur frölich / und zu den sanfftmütigen affecten am bequem-
bsten / ist versöhnlich und ein stiller Modus, der die Einigkeit erhält. Und schicken sich zu
diesem Modo, Wort der Einigkeit / und der Lieb / der Zucht und Belustigung. Ist in der alten
Kirchen nicht sehr gebräuchlich gewesen / aber heutiges Tags / nach dem der Lydius und fünffte
Modus nicht viel geachtet wird / ist er sehr üblich / wird ins gemein für den fünfften Modum
oder Tonum gehalten. Neben seiner Fröligkeit ist er auch leichtfertig und fürwitzig / derhalben
man ihn fast in ganz Europa zu den Tänzen gebrauchen thut / nach dem Zeugnis Horatii:
Motus doceri gaudet Jonicos matura Virgo.
Es werden auch die Trombetten die Soldaten im Streit behertzt zu machen / in diesem Tono
geblasen. Ist aber nichts desto weniger zu den Geistlichen Gesängen auch zugebrauchen: Dann
man allerley liebliche Gesänge / als Dancksagung und Lobgesänge / drauff setzen kan. (p. 109)
Ionian, the eleventh mode, is by nature cheerful and is most suitable for the gentler affects, is
conciliatory and a quiet mode, which preserves unity. And words of unity and of love, of mod-
esty and amusement are suitable for this mode. It was not much used in the old churches, but
today, due to the fact that Lydian, or the fifth mode, does not receive much attention, it is very
common and held commonly to be the fifth mode or tone. In addition to its cheerfulness it is
also frivolous and pert, and for that reason one uses it almost in all of Europe for dances, in
accordance with the words of Horace:
It pleases the mature virgin to be taught the Ionian movements.
The trumpets are also blown in this mode to encourage the soldiers in battle. It may none the
less also be used for sacred songs, for one can set all sorts of pleasant songs, such as those of
thanksgiving and praise in it.

4. Clefs
4.1. Ionian
Appendix Table 4.1 Ionian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 Beringer C3 Cerone C4 Beringer F4 Cerone


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Herbst
Cerone Nucius Cerone Nucius
Diruta Rodio Diruta Praetorius
Herbst Herbst Rodio
Nucius Nucius
Praetorius Rodio
Rodio Zarlino
Zarlino

C4 Galilei F4 Galilei
C1 C3
226 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

4.2. Transposed Ionian


Appendix Table 4.1 Ionian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 flat Beringer C2 flat Cerone C3 flat Beringer F3 flat Galilei


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Herbst
Cerone Rodio Cerone Praetorius
Herbst Galilei Rodio
Praetorius Herbst
Rodio Rodio

C4 flat Cerone
F3 flat

F4 flat Calvisius

HYPOIONIAN
1. Melodic Structure

hypoionian 1.1. Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613, sig. K4.

2. Cadence Points

Banchieri “Per voci humane”: C, a, F, (i.e., transposed, p. 135)


Cerone G, C, “clausulas de passo”: e, F, d (p. 906)
Diruta G, e, C (p. 3)
Herbst G, C, e, “clausulae peregrinae”: a, F (p. 80)
Sweelinck G, e, C (p. 151)
Zarlino G, e, C (p. 334)
227 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

3. Descriptions of the Mode


3.1. Glareanus (Dodekachordon, Basel, 1547):
Hic apud veteres Ecclesiasticos praeter Responsoria in matutinis & vesperis, in raro fuit usu,
nisi quatenus ex Hypolydio Hypoionicum fecêre, commutatione mi in fa, in b clave, de qua in
Lydio Hypolydioque abunde dictum est. Hic vulgo Sextus dicitur, ex G in g. aut ex C in c. si
quidem fa est in b clavi, ab annis quingentis plus minus recipi ceptus, ut cum in alijs multis,
tum in cantibus de corpore CHRISTI patet. Multum Gratiae habet in Orthrijs & amatorijs,
lingua potissimum Celtica, qua Helvetij utuntur, nec minus Germanica transrhenana. Tubarum
sonitus hodie inter huius Modi limites constat, integra omnibus chordis diapente, sed diates-
saron extremis potissimum. Certe aetas nostra, non minus hoc Modo quam Ionico ad omneis
levitates utitur. Threnos item ad hunc Modum institutos elegantissime decantant. (p. 137)
This mode has been used rarely among early church musicians, aside from Responsories of
Matins and Vespers, except where they formed the Hypoionian from the Hypolydian by
changing mi into fa on the b key, which has been fully discussed in the Lydian and Hypolydian.
It is commonly called the sixth mode, extending from G to g or from C to c if fa is indeed on
the b key, and has been used for about five hundred years, as is evident as well in many other
songs, especially in those for Corpus Christi. It has great charm in morning songs and love
songs, expecially in the Celtic tongue which the Swiss use, and also in the Germanic language
across the Rhine. The tones of the trumpets in these times fit the range of this mode, with the
fifth complete in all its pitches, but with the fourth having chiefly the outermost tones. Our
time undoubtedly uses this mode no less that the Ionian for all frivolities; yet they also sing
threnodies arranged in this mode very beautifully. (pp. 172–173)

3.2. Zarlino (Le Istitutioni harmoniche,Venice, 1558):


Questo Modo, è atto alle cose amatorie, che contengono cose lamentevoli: perche è nelli
Canti fermi Modo lamentevole, & hà alquanto di mestitia, secondo il loro parere; tuttavia
ciascuno compositore, che desidera di fare alcuna cantilena, che sia allegra, non si sa partire
da lui. (p. 334)
This mode is suitable for expressing thoughts of love which contain lamentful things, for in
plainsong it is a lamentful mode and according to the opinion of some it has something sad
about it. Nevertheless, every composer who wishes to write a composition that is cheerful does
not depart from this mode. (p. 86)

3.3. Diruta (Seconda Parte del Transilvano, 1609):


Questo tuono sonato nelli suoi tasti naturali, rende l’Armonia meno allegra del suo autentico.
(p. 11)
Played untransposed, this tone renders the harmony less cheerful than the authentic. (p. 115)

3.4. Nucius (Musices Poeticae, Neisse, 1613):


Porro hic Modus lasciviem representans, nihilominus sicut Tonicus ad omnes levitates usur-
patur propter jocunditatem. Viderint ergo artifices, quomodo his duobus modis res serias,
pias & graves adhibeant cum jocunditatum ac suavitatum sint refertissimi. (sig. K4)
228 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

Further this mode represents lasciviousness; nevertheless like the Ionian, it is used for all light
things because of its agreeableness. Therefore artists may see how they allocate serious, pious
and weighty subjects to these two modes which are abundantly rich in agreeability and
suavity.

3.5. Herbst (Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,


Nuremberg, 1643):
Dieser Modus ist von Natur trawrig / weinend und demütig / und schicken sich zu diesem
Modo, Klagelieder / Epitaphia, Lamentationes, Gebet / und dergleichen Materien. (p. 110)
This mode is by nature sad, lachrymose and humble and plaints, epitaphia, lamentations,
prayers, and other similar subjects are suitable for this mode.

4. Clefs
4.1. Hypoionian

Appendix Table 4.1 Hypoionian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

G2 Beringer C2 Cerone C3 Beringer F3 Herbst


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Nucius
Cerone Nucius Cerone Rodio
Diruta Rodio Diruta
Herbst Galilei
Nucius Herbst
Praetorius Nucius
Rodio Rodio
Zarlino Zarlino

C4 Cerone
F3 Galilei

C4 Praetorius

F4 Calvisius
229 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

4.2. Transposed Hypoionian


Appendix Table 4.2 Transposed Hypoionian

Superius Altus Tenor Bassus

Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source Clef Source

C1 flat Beringer C3 flat Cerone C4 flat Beringer F4 flat Cerone


Calvisius Herbst Calvisius Galilei
Cerone Rodio Cerone Herbst
Diruta Diruta Praetorius
Herbst Galilei Rodio
Praetorius Herbst
Rodio Rodio

Calvisius writes that pieces appear equally often in the transposed clefs as in the natural ones.

SOURCES FOR THE MODAL CHARACTERISTICS

Agricola Agricola, Martin, Rudimenta musices, (Wittenberg: Georg Rhau, 1539; fac-
simile Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1969); translation by Don Harrán,
Word-Tone Relations in Musical Thought, Musicological Studies &
Documents 40, (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1986), p. 367.
Beringer Beringer, Maternus, Musicae: Das ist der freyen lieblichen Singkunst erster
und anderer Theil, (Nuremberg, 1610; facsimile, Leipzig: Zentralantiquariat
der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 1974). Information on the clefs,
sig. E1–G3v.
Bona Bona da Brescia, Valerio, Regole del Contraponto et Compositione, (Casal,
1595), as cited by Bernhard Meier, Die Tonarten der klassischen
Vokalpolyphonie, (Utrecht: Oosthoek, Scheltema & Holkema, 1974).
Information on the clefs pp. 73–74.
Calvisius Calvisius, Sethus, Exercitationes Musicae duae, (Leipzig: F. Schnellboltz,
1600; facsimile, Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1973). Information on the
clefs, pp. 73–74.
Cerone Cerone, Don Pietro, El Melopeo y Maestro, (Naples: B. Gargano y L. Nucci,
1613; facsimile, Bologna: Forni Editore, 1969). Information on the clefs, pp.
884–912.
Cochlaeus Cochlaeus, Johannes, Tetrachordum musices, (Nuremberg: Friedrich
Peypus, 1511; facsimile, Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1971). Translated
and edited by Clement A. Miller, Rome, 1970.
230 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

Diruta Diruta, Girolamo, Seconda parte del Transilvano, (Venice: Giacomo Vincenti,
1609; facsimile, Bologna: Forni Editore, 1969), fol. 6; translation by Murray
C. Bradshaw and Edward J. Soehnlen, The Transylvanian, (Henryville:
Institute of Medieval Music, 1984). Information on the clefs, Terzo libro,
pp. 4–12.
Dressler Dressler, Gallus, “Praecepta musica poeticae,” 1564, Berlin, Staatsbibliothek
zu Berlin, Mus. ms. autogr. theor.; edited and translated by Robert Forgács,
Gallus Dressler’s Praecepta musica poëticae, (Urbana: University of Illinois
Press, 2007).
Finck Finck, Hermann, Practica musica, (Wittenberg: Georg Rhau, 1556; facsimile,
Bologna: Forni Editore, 1969).
Gaffurius Gaffurius, Franchinus, De Harmonia Musicorum Instrumentorum Opus,
(Milan: Gotardus Pontanus, 1518; facsimile Bologna: Forni Editore, 1972).
Translated by Clement A. Miller, (Rome, 1977).
Galilei Galilei, Vicenzo, Fronimo Dialogo, (Venice: l’Herede di Girolamo Scotto,
1584; facsimile, Bologna: Forni Editore, 1969). Information on clefs, p. 90.
Herbst Herbst, Johann Andreas, Musica Poëtica, sive Compendium Melo-poëticum,
(Nuremberg: Jeremias Dümler, 1643). Information on clefs, pp. 69–80.
Lanfranco Lanfranco, Giovanni Maria, Scintille di musica, (Brescia: Lodovico
Britannico, 1533; facsimile, Bologna: Forni Editore, 1970).
Menehou Menehou, Michel de, Nouvelle instruction familiere, (Paris: Nicolas du
Chemin, 1558; facsimile Geneva: Minkoff Reprint, 1981).
Nucius Nucius, Johannes, Musices Poeticae, (Neisse: Crispin Scharfenberg, 1613);
facsimile, Leipzig: Zentralantiquariat der Deutschen Demokratischen
Republik 1976). Information on clefs sig. I3–K4.
Padovano Padovano, Giovanni, Institutiones ad diversas ex plurim vocum harmonia
cantilenas, sive modulationes ex varijs instrumentis fingendas, (Verona:
Sebastiano & Giovanni delle Donne, 1578), as quoted and translated in Don
Harrán, Word-Tone Relations in Musical Thought, Musicological Studies &
Documents 40, (Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler-Verlag, 1986), p. 372.
Pontio Pontio, Pietro, Ragionamento di Musica, (Parma: Erasmo Viotto, 1588; fac-
simile, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1959). Information on clefs pp. 99–119.
Translations of the modal descriptions, Don Harrán, Word-Tone Relations
in Musical Thought, Musicological Studies & Documents 40, (Neuhausen-
Stuttgart: Hänssler-Verlag, 1986), p. 372.
Praetorius Praetorius, Michael, Syntagma Musicum 3, (Wolfenbüttel: Elias Holwein,
1619; facsimile Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1978). Information on clefs, pp. 36–40.
Rodio Rodio, Rocco, Regole di Musica, (Naples, 1609). Information on clefs,
pp. 58–85.
231 Appendix: Modal Characteristics

Sancta Maria Sancta Maria, Fray Thomas de, Libro llamado, Arte de tañer Fantasia,
(Valladolid: Francisco Fernandez de Cordova, 1565; facsimile, Geneva, 1973).
Information on clefs fol. 67v–70.
Sweelinck Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon, transcribed by Robert Eitner, “Über die acht,
respektive zwölf Tonarten und über den Gebrauch der Versetzungszeichen
im VI. und XVII. Jahrhunderte nach Joh. Peter Sweelinck,” Monatshefte für
Musik- Geschichte 3 (1871), pp. 133–51.
Tallis Tallis, Thomas, The whole psalter translated into English Metre, (London:
John Day, 1567/8), as described in Ellinwood, Leonhard, “Tallis’ Tunes and
Tudor Psalmody,” Musica Disciplina 2 (1948), p. 193.
Vanneus Vanneus, Steffano, Recanetum de musica aurea, (Rome: Valerius Doricus,
1533; facsimile, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1959). Translation of modal descriptions
by Cristle Collins Judd, “Renaissance Modal Theory,” p. 375.
Vicentino Vicentino, Nicola, L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica, (Rome:
Antonio Barre, 1555; facsimile, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1959). Translation by
Maria Rika Maniates, Nicola Vicentino, Ancient Music Adapted to Modern
Practice, edited by Claude V. Palisca, (New Haven: Yale University Press,
1996). Information on clefs, fol. 53–57.
Zarlino Zarlino, Gioseffo, Le Istitutioni harmoniche, (Venice, 1558; facsimile, New
York: Broude Brothers, 1968), pp. 320–335. Translation of Part Four by Vered
Cohen and Claude V. Palisca as On the Modes, (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1983).
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index

Aaron, Pietro, 12–14 Castiglione, Baldesar, 152


Adam of Fulda, 55–56 Cerone, Scipio, 95
Agricola, Martin, 24–26, 30–33, 38, 43–44, Clavijo del Castillo, Bernardo, 5
52, 56, 145, 168, 175, 181, 188, 195, 201, Cochlaeus, Johannes, 167, 174, 180–81, 187,
208, 214 194, 201, 207, 213
articulation, see metric hierarchy Coclico, Adrian, 109–10, 137
Artusi, Giovanni Maria, 48–50 Conforto, Giovanni Luca, 147
Corteccia, Francesco, 8–10
Banchieri, Adriano, 156, 158–61 Con quel coltel, 8–9
Bardi, Giovanni de’, 154
basso continuo, 158–61 dalla Casa, Girolamo, 139–40
Bede, Adam, 22 DeFord, Ruth, 56
Bermudo, Juan, 5, 137 Dickey, Bruce, 144
Bernhard, Christoph, 111 diminutions, 68, 107, 139–145, 148–152,
Besardus, Jean-Baptiste, 146 157–158
Bidon (Antoine Colebauld), 152 diminutions in consort, 139–40, 149–51
Blackburn, Bonnie, 7, 12, 26, 48, 137, 150 Diruta, Girolamo, 57–59, 146–48, 155–57, 159,
Borrono, Pietro Paolo, 146 163, 170, 177, 183, 190, 197, 203, 209,
Bourgeois, Louis, 44 n. 33, 59–60, 65 216, 219, 222, 224, 227
Bovicelli, Giovanni, 68 Dixon, Graham, 153–54
Brown, Howard Mayer, 144 Dressler, Gallus, 95, 110
Brunelli, Antonio, 69 Durante, Ottavio, 148
Burmeister, Joachim, 110–116, 120–24,
128–30 Elyot, Thomas, 109
Buus, Jacques, 156 essential graces, see graces

Cabezon, Antonio de, 83 Ferand, Ernst, 137


Caccini, Giulio, 147–48, 151, 155 Finck, Hermann, 20–21, 28, 33, 52, 110, 135
cadences, 71–87 n. 4, 137–140, 169, 176, 182, 189, 196,
cadenze fuggite, 78–84 202, 208–09, 215
definitions, 71–75 Florentine Camerata, 154
forms, 75–87, 134–35 Florentius de Faxolis, 45
peregrinae cadences, 95 Francesco da Milano, 3, 105, 146
Calvalieri, Emilio de’, 106 Frescobaldi, Girolamo, 156
cantare super librum, 8
Capriola, Vincenzo, 146 Gaffurius, Franchinus, 37 n. 26, 138, 167–68,
Cara, Marchetto, 152 175, 181, 188, 194, 201, 207
Carruthers, Mary, 15–17, 109 Galilei, Vincenzo, 51, 105, 154
cartella, 10–11, 14–15, 17, 155–56 Gallus, Joseph, 156

241
242 Index

gamut, 10, 20–23, 42, 46, 99 Lanfranco, Giovanni Maria, 56, 138, 168, 175,
Ganassi, Silvestro, 103–05, 143–45, 148 181, 188, 194, 201, 207, 214
Glarean, Heinrich, 27, 90, 168–69, 175–76, Lasso, Orlando di, 111–24, 128
181–82, 188–89, 195, 202, 208, 214, 218, In me transierunt irae tuae, 111–24
221, 224, 227 Lupi, Johannes
Goudimel, Claude A jamais croy recouvrer mon adresse, 60–64
Les cieux en chacun lieu, 33–38, 44 Luscinius, Othmar, 2
graces, 143–48 Lusitano, Vincenzo, 137–38
accento, 147 Luzzaschi, Luzzasco, 15, 17, 156, 158–59
esclamatione, 142, 147–48
groppo, 140–41, 147 Maffei, Giovanni, 139–40
groppo granito, 140–41 Maschera, Fiorenzo, 156
groppo posato, 140–41 memory, 15–18, 22–23, 108–09, 134–35, 163
intonazione, 147–48 Menehou, Michel de, 165, 173, 179, 186, 192,
mordents, 145–46 199, 205, 212
ondeggiamento, 142–43, 145, 148 Merulo, Claudio, 156
quiebro, 146 metric hierarchy, 55–70
redoble, 146 articulation, 55, 57–59, 70
tremoletto, 146 diminutions, 65–70
tremolo, 139–46, 148 rhythmic flexibility, 55, 57–70
trillo, 139–43, 147–48 tactus, 55–57
Guido of Arezzo, 22 mode, 88–101, 127–28, 133, 165–231
Guidonian hand, 22–24 Aeolian, 218–220
Guilliaud, Maximilian, 25, 33 affective quality, 88, 95–97, 100, 120,
see also descriptions of the mode
harmonia, 150–51 authentic modes, 93–94, 97–100
Haug, Andreas, 162 cadence points, 94–95, 100, 102, 167, 174,
Herbst, Johann Andreas, 74, 96–97, 144 n. 27, 180, 187, 193, 200, 206–07, 213, 218, 221,
171, 177, 184, 190–91, 197, 204, 210, 216, 223, 226
219, 222, 225, 228 clefs, 98, 100, 171–72, 178–79, 184–85,
hexachord, 20–47, 51–54 191–92, 198, 204–05, 210–11, 217, 220,
hard, 20 222–23, 225–26
natural, 20 descriptions of the modes, 167–71,
soft, 20 174–78, 180–84, 187–91, 194–97,
transposition, 42–43 201–04, 207–210, 213–16, 218–19,
Heyden, Sebald, 28–29 221–22, 224–25, 227–28
Hofhaimer, Paul, 2–3 determination thereof, 99–100
Holford-Strevens, Leofranc, 26, 48 Dorian, 93, 165–72
Hothby, John, 72 fourth and fifth structures, 90–94,
Hotteterre, Jean-Jacques, 146 99–100
Hugh of St. Victor, 18 Hypoaeolian, 221–23
Hypodorian, 94, 173–79
intabulation instructions, 154–57 Hypoionian, 226–29
intonation, 45–54 Hypolydian, 94, 199–205
Isaac, Heinrich Hypomixolydian, 93, 212–217
Innsbruck ich muss dich lassen, 39–44 Hypophrygian, 95, 186–92
Ionian, 90, 223–26
Josquin Deprez, 7, 28–29, 83, 110, 123 Lydian, 90, 94, 96–97, 192–98
243 Index

melodic structure, 165–66, 173–74, 179–80, fuga realis, 120, 122, 124, 129
186–87, 192–93, 199–200, 205–06, hypallage, 120, 129
212–13, 218, 221, 223, 226 hypobole, 129
Mixolydian, 94, 205–11 hypotyposis, 121–22, 130
Phrygian, 95, 120, 179–85 mimesis, 122, 130
plagal modes, 93, 97–100 noëma, 122, 130
transposition, 99 pathopoeia, 122, 130
Monteverdi, Claudio, 103 rhythmic flexibility, see metric hierarchy
Monteverdi, Giulio Cesare, 103 Rifkin, Joshua, 111, 123–24
Morley, Thomas, 52, 110, 121, 138 Rippe, Albert de, 83
motivicity, 123–24 Robinson, Thomas, 146–47
musica ficta, 35–37, 75, 81–82 Rognoni, Francesco, 147
Rore, Cipriano de, 8, 15, 17, 106, 140, 155
Nucius, Johannes, 96–97, 110–111, 166, 170–71,
173, 177, 179, 183–84, 186, 190, 193, 197, Sadeler, Jan I., 11
199, 203, 209–10, 212, 216, 219, 222, 224, Salomonis, Elias, 26–27
226–28 Sancta Maria, Fray Thomas de, 27–28, 35–38,
41–43, 64–68, 93–94, 100–01, 107–08,
O’Dette, Paul, 103 120, 131–35, 137–38, 146
Owens, Jessie Ann, 4, 8–10, 14, 30 n. 15 scala decemlinealis, 10–11
score culture, 4, 19, 153–161
Padovano, Giovanni, 170, 177, 183, 190, 203, Serafino, Aquilano, 103
209, 215 sight-reading skills, 3–4
Palisca, Claude, 112, 123 skills, 131–52, 163
Parmigianini (Francesco Mazzola), 124, 126 beginners’, 131–35, 137, 148
part-book culture, 4–19, 138, 153, 156 contrapunto alla mente, 132, 136–38, 140–41
Peri, Jacopo, 155 professional musicians’, 136–152
Philomathes, Venceslaus, 11–12 voice quality, 141
polyphony, 1, 19 solmization, 20–54
Pontio, Pietro, 5, 86, 95, 170, 177, 183, 190, application of syllables, 28–45
196–97, 203, 209, 215–16 English solmization, 30 n. 15
Pontormo (Jacopo Carucci), 124–25 flats, 27, 38–39, 41–44
Praetorius, Michael, 56, 144 hexachord, 20–21, 23–28, 45–47
intonation, 45–54
reading from facsimile, 18–19 musica ficta, 35–37
res facta, 8 mutation, 25, 30–33, 35, 38, 40–41, 44
rhetoric, 102–130, 142, 144, 148, 152, 163 sharps, 36–39
expression in performance, 102–09, 123, syllable quality, 24–29, 45–47, 51–54, 102
144, 148, 152 “hard” keys, 30–31, 33, 43, 46–47
motivicity, 123–24 “soft” keys, 30, 32–33, 39, 43, 46–47
tempo changes, 107–08, 123 Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon, 96–97, 171, 178,
rhetorical figures, 109–116, 120–124, 184, 191, 197, 204, 210, 216
128–30, 135
anadiplosis, 121, 129 tactus, 55–58, 107–08, 131–32
anaphora, 121, 128–29 Tallis, Thomas, 170, 176, 183, 189, 196, 203,
auxesis, 129 209, 215
climax, 121, 129 Tarling, Judy, 109 n. 16, 111, 123
faux bourdon, 121 Tinctoris, Johannes, 7, 71, 137
244 Index

tuning systems, 47–51 137, 149–51, 156, 165–66, 169, 173–74, 176,
equal temperament, 48, 50–51 179–80, 182, 186–87, 189, 192–93, 195–96,
just intonation, 48, 51 199–200, 202, 205–06, 208, 212–15
meantone temperament, 48, 50–51 voice quality, 141
Pythagorean, 48, 50
Tyard, Pontus de, 3 Waissel, Matthias, 146
Willaert, Adrian, 73, 75, 77–78, 106, 123
van Damme, Simon, 84–85 Wyssenbach/Formschneider, 146
Vanneus, Stephanus, 72, 96–97, 168, 175, 181,
188, 194–95, 201, 207, 214 Zacconi, Lodovico, 6, 56–57, 108, 138, 141,
Vasari, Giorgio, 124–27 144–45, 147–48, 151 n. 46, 155
Vecchi, Orfeo, 15 Zarlino, Gioseffo, 51, 73, 78–86, 90, 97–98, 106,
Verovio, Simone, 156 110, 121, 170, 176, 182–83, 189, 196,
Viadana, Lodovico, 153–54 202–03, 209, 215, 218–19, 221–22, 224, 227
Vicentino, Nicola, 6–7, 43–44, 75–76, 81–83, Zenobi, Luigi, 5–6, 135–45, 148–149,
86–87, 91–97, 100, 106–110, 123, 127–28, 151–152, 163