Prima prattica

“first practice”

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– was the style of vocal polyphony written according to the accepted rules governing Franco-Netherlands counterpoint, as codified in Gioseffo Zarlino’s Le istitutioni harmoniche;(The harmonic institutions, 1558)

– The composers main concern is the beauty of the contrapuntal writing; music dominates the text

– Palestrina and Willaert


Seconda Prattica

“second practice”

was the newer style of vocal polyphony in which the text dominates the music, in accordance with Plato’s statement in the Republic that melody, relationship of sounds, and rhythm should follow the words or thought of text. 

-effective expression of the text justifies deviation from contrapuntal rules and legitimizes such things as unprepared dissonances, unorthodox resolutions, and melodic crudities. 

– Rore, Gesualdo, Luzzaschi, Wert, Caccii, Monteverdi

Johann Sebastian Bach



Dietrich Buxtehude

(1637-1707) Germany

-vocal works with sacred texts and organ works

-Wrote especaiily for the Abendmusiken, public concerts following the afternoon church services in Lubeck during the advent season; these were quite long, varied, quasi-dramatic affairs with many varied types of music, and attracted musicians from all over Germany 

William Byrd

(1543 – 1623) England

– English polyphonic songs, keyboard pieces, Latin masses (only 3), and motets

– brought English virginal music to a high level of excellence

– Last of the great Catholic church composers of the 16th century

– First English composer to absorb Continental imitative techniques so thoroughly that he could apply them imaginatively and without constraint.

Giulio Caccini

(1551-1618) Italy

-songs and opera

Le nuove musiche (The new Music, collection of songs published 1602)

Euridice (1600, opera)


– developed songful yet mainly syllabic style of solo writing, aimed at clear declamation of words but embellished the melodic lines at appropriate places

-placed his ornaments carefully to enhance message of text

– Wrote out ornaments and other expressive elements


– During 1570s and 80s he was much involved with the Camerata sponsered by de’ Bardi and its discussions concerning the nature of Greek music. As a result he evolved a new style of singing which approached the naturalness of speech – hence a ;kind of recitative

Arcangelo Corelli

(1653-1713) Italy

– suites for bowed string instruments (trio sonatas, most fashionable ensemble music of the time)


– esteemed as violinist, composer, and teacher


– clear key tonalities (one of first to write exclusively in major-minor key tonalities)

-wrote no vocal music at all

Francois Couperin

(1668-1733) France

– Keyboard music (organ but especially harpsichord)

– considered one of the most important French musicians

– more than 235;harpsichord;pieces;

John Dowland

(1562-1626) England

– leading composer of lute songs

– his melodies are remarkable for their subtly and their sensitive text declamation

Giacomo Carissimi

(1605-1674) Italy

Latin oratorio, Jephte;(oratorio, exemplifies a mid-century oratorio; best known of his extant oratorioes)

– when writing musical speech he considered correct verbal accentuation and accurate;expressive;articulation of phrases and sentences so that each word of phrase fits into the whole with the appropraite expression of its emotional content

– achieved this through use of dissonance, ornaments, word;painting, ect.;

Girolamo Frescobaldi

(1583-1643) Italy

– keyboard music

– leading Italian composer of keyboard music in the first half of the 17th century

– wrote in all keyboard genres then current

– stated aim was to raise the quality of organ music and organ playing

Giovanni Gabrieli

(1553-1612) Venice, Italy

– polychoral music and instrumental ensemble works

– works most characteristic of his style are those for divided choirs

– was most prolific composer of instrumental ensemble works during his era

Carlo Gesualdo

(1561-1613) Italy

– madrigals

– one of principal composers of Italian madrigals

– was primarily interested in conveying emotional expression, and used chromaticism both harmonically and melodically for that purpose

– employed chromaticism widely, restricting its abundant use to passages that are not complicated rhythmically

George Frederic Handel


Clement Janequin

(c. 1490-1562) France

– one of two principal chanson composers

– was particularly celebrated for his descriptive chansons, which featured imitations of bird calls, hunting calls street cries, and sounds of war

Josquin des Prez

(1450s-1521) Italy and Notre Dame, France

– 18 masses, 100 motets, and 70 secular vocal works

– few musicians have enjoyed higher renown while they lived or exercised more profound and lasting influence

– work straddles the Middle Ages and the modern world

– strove to make the music better communicate the meaning of the texts

– foremost composer of secular music of his time and an acknowledged master of Mass and motet composition;

Orlando de Lassus

(1532-1594) Germany

sacred music (esp. motets and masses)

– was one of the greatest composers of sacred music in the last half of the 16th centurry

Jean-Baptiste Lully

(1632-1687) ;France

-ballet and opera

-had royal monopoly over music in France

– established form of French overture


Claudio Monteverdi

(1567-1643) Italy

– opera and madrigals

– Madrigals had a special place in his career

– his compositions made the crucial stylistic transition in this genre from the polyphonic vocal ensembles to the instrumentally accompanied solo and duet

– his first five books of madrigals are monuments in the history of the polyphonic madrigal

-transition from Renaissance to Baroque can be seen through his work

– composed much sacred music, best known for his secular music

Cristobal de Morales

(1500-1553) Spain

– sacred music, masses and motets

– most eminent Spanish composer of his time

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

(1525/1526 – 1594) Masses and other sacred music

– has been upheld as chief exponent of strict stye of diatonic modal counterpoint used in the 16th century

– music was conservative, serious, and objective

-secular music mostly confined to madrigals


– style was the first in the history of Western music to be consciously preserved, isolated, and imitated as a model in later ages

-considered standard for polyphonic church music

Jacopo Peri

(1561-1633) Italy

– opera Dafne, Euridice;

-Italian composer, singer, and instrumentalist

– most significant contribution was his development of the dramatic;recitative;for musical theater

Henry Purcell

(1659-1695) England

– opera/incidental music and instrumental works Dido and Aeneas

one of England’s greatest composers.

– genius especially apparent in his instrumental works

– master of canon and ground bass

Jean Phillipe Rameau

(1683-1764) France

– most important French musician in the 18th century.

– Famous as a theorist but wanted to write opera

-involved in pamphlet wars with supporters of Lully

Cipriano de Rore

(1515-1565) Italy


-leading madrigalist of his generation (approx. 120 survive)

– preferred to set serious poetry of high literary quality

– all his madrigals are four or five voice settings

Alessandro Scarlatti

(1660-1725) Italy

– opera cantata

– more than 600 cantatas

– composer who brought Neapolitan school into prominence

– Naples became a center of opera largely due to his endeavors

Heinrich Schütz

(1585-1672) Germany

sacred music

– considered the greatest German composer of the 17th century

– first German composer to have international renown

– his German texts and fusion of German and Italian styles present in his music form the foundation of the remainder of the Baroque era

John Taverner


Masses, Magnificats, and votive antiphons

– most important English composer during the first part of the 16th century

Georg Philipp Telemann

(1681-1767) Germany

cantatas (over 1000)

– regarded, along with Handel, the greatest living composer during the high Baroque

– influential because his works were so highly known

– renowned for his vivid interpretations of the images and affections suggested by his texts


Tomas Luis de Victoria

Spain (1548-1611)

sacred music (20 masses and 52 motets)

– after Palestrina, was most illustrious exponent of Roman polyphonic style

– exclusively sacred, with greater expressive intensity, took advantage of notes outside the diatonic modes

Antonio Vivaldi

(1678-1741) Italy

operas and concertos

– known today mainly for his orchestral music

– first composer to make slow mvt as important as two allegro mvts

-composes of the Classical concerto adopted and developed Vivaldi’s dramatic;conception;of the;soloist’s role

– successors admired and emulated his concise themes, clarity of form, rhythmic vitality, and logical flow of musical ideas

Adrian Willaert

(1490-1562) Italy

sacred compositions (173 motets)

– pioneer in bringing text and music into closer rapport

– his experiments in chromaticism and rhythm were on the cutting edge of new developments

– compositions suit the accentuation, rhetoric, and punctuation of the text; never allowed rest to interrupt word or thought within a vocal line, positioned cadence only when a unit of text was completed

Basso continuo

the independent bass line played throughout a Baroque composition to provide the foundation for the unnotated harmonic structure of the work.  Was most often figured bass.  Process of improvising the accompaniment is called realization.  The use of basso continuo did not cease when the Baroque era came to an end but continued to a diminishing extent until 1800.  [230 Stolba]

A foundation for improvised chords that filled in the harmony in the Baroque period.  In this system, composer wrote out only melody and bass.  Typical texture of Baroque period was firm bass and a florid treble, held together by unobtrusive harmony.

Beggar’s Opera

;1728.; Helped popularize English ballad opera.; Broadly satirized the fashionable Italian opera; music consists for the most part of popular tunes, usually ballads, with a; few numbers that parody familiar operatic airs.

Brandenburg Concertos


six concertos, BVW 1046-1051 composed in 1721 and dedicated to Margave of Brandenburg.; Bach fully assimilated Italian style (3 mvts., fast-slow-fast order of Italian concerto, triadic themes, steadily driving rhythms, ritornello form of the Allegro mvts).; He introduced tutti material into the soli, and expanded form with devices like long cadenza (5th Concerto) and elaborately developed fugues.; 3rd and 6th are ripieno concertos without featured solo instruments; the others are concerti grossi, pitting solo instruments in various combinations against the body of strings and continuo. ;




chaconne/passacaglia– short, ostinatio bass patterns that served as foundation for continuous-variation pieces.; [272 Stolba]; Characteristic of both in the 17th century is the continuous repetition of a four-bar formula in triple meter and slow tempo.; [279 Grout]


Chorale prelude

a term often applied to any chorale-based organ work.; This form of chorale prelude did not appear until the middle of the 17th century.; [more on 350 Grout]; A rather short polyphonic setting of an entire chorale melody.; Composers treated chorale melody in various ways: the entire melody might be presented in long note values and retained in the uppermost part throughout the piece; the entire melody might be written in long phrases but indiv. phrases might be distributed successively among several polyphonic lines; entire melody might be ornamented or paraphrases; or each phrase of the chorale melody might be treated as a point of imitation.

Dialogue between Ancient and Modent Music

1581 treatise by Vincenzo Galilei; used doctrines of Mei to attack the theory and practice of vocal counterpoint as exemplified in Italian madrigal.; His argument held that only a single line of melody, with pitches and rhythms appropriate to the text could express a given line of poetry.; Therefore, when several voices simultaneously sang different melodies and words, in different rhythms and registers, music could never deliver the emotional message of the text.; If some voices were high and others low, some rising and others descending, some moving in slow notes and others fast, then the resulting chaos of contradictory impressions severed only to show off the cleverness of the composer and ability of the performers.; Galilei believed that, if music like this had any value at all, it was only suitable for instruments.; Word-painting, imitations of sighing, and the like, so common in the 16th-century madrigal, he dismissed as childish.; Only a solo melody could enhance the natural speech inflections of a good actor or orator.;

Florentine Camerata

;informal academy hosted by Count Giovanni Bardi in the early 1570s, where scholars discussed literature, science, and the arts, and musicians performed new music.; Caccini, Peri, Galilei, and Mei were all involved


;concluded that the Greeks contained powerful effects with their music because it consisted of a single melody, whether sung by a soloist with or without accompaniment, or by a chorus.; This melody could move the listener through the natural expressiveness of vocal register, rises and falls in pitch, and changing rhythms and tempo. Galilei attacked the theory and practice of vocal counterpoint as exemplified in Italian madrigal.; This humanistic view of music goes against the prevailing polyphonic trends, and was crucial in the establishment of opera

French ouverture

ouverture (;opening; in Fr.); in two-part form, the first slow and majestic with dotted rhythms, the second quick, fluent, and fugal, after which the first section is often recalled.;


Lully established this for ballets; throughout the rest of the Baroque era, the were used to introduce ballets, operas, oratorios, and inst, works; they also appeared as independent pieces.; The ouverture was originally intended to create a festive atmosphere for the ballet or opera that followed; its function, among others, was to welcome to king to a dance or performance. ;

Heinrich Glareanus

Swiss Theorist; wrote famous treatise Dodekachordon (The 12-string lyre, 1547) that added four new modes to the traditional eight.; With these additions, he made the theory of the modes more consistent with the current practice of composers.; [146-147 Grout]; Thought Josquin was the greatest of all composers.; Wrote his treatise after investigation Greek tonoi and medieval modes.

Institutioni armoniche

;;The harmonic institutions;; 1558 treatise by Gioseffo Zarlino that codified rules governing vocal polyphony of Franco-Netherlands counterpoint, which became Monteverdi;s prima prattica.; Zarlino believed Willaert reached emotional heights reached by ancients.

l’Art de toucher le clavecin

The Art of Playing the Harpsichord, 1716.  Couperin’s book considered various aspects of a pupil’s early training in playing harpsichord, discussing fingering, argrement symbols and ornamentation and other matters of performance practice, and suggested fingerings for diff. passages in his harp. music.  Provides insight into his didactic methods and constitutes a valuable source concerning performance practice in the early 18th century.  


1607 opera by Monteverdi; his earliest surviving stage production.; Includes recitative, madrigal, monody, arioso, and all kinds of instrumental music.; Reveals Monteverdi;s ability to characterize human nature through music.;


a through-composed settings of one poetic stanza intended for a cappella performance.; Because the music was meant to enhance the meaning of the poetry, text painting and formal irregularities were common.; Became the most significant type of Italian secular song during the Renaissance. ;

Johann Mattheson

German critic, theorist, and composer. He published several books that offer valuable information on the state of German music of the period, especially in Hamburg. These include Das neu-er;ffnete Orchestre (1713), Critica musica (1722;5/R1984), and a collection of musical biographies, Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte (1740/R1954), which also contains his autobiography. His theoretical writings include treatises on thoroughbass and the important Der vollkommene Capellmeister;



;a 20-century term for a type of Italian accompanied solo secular song popular between 1600-1640.; The vocal line emphasized text expression through correct declamation, flexible rhythm, and appropriate use of ornamentation.; [Stolba]


Pope Marcellus Mass


freely composed mass by Palestrina (1562-3); freely composed.; Possibly in response to Pope Marcellus; admonishment about the difficulty in discerning the words in masses, Palestrina;s mass was clearly designed for intelligibility of the words.; [Stolba]

All of his musical traits are evident in this work.; To give variety, he divided the 6-voice choir into various smaller groups, each with its particular tone color, and reserved the full 6 voices for climactic or significant words.



;new genre of theatrical work perfected by Lully that reconciled demands of drama, music, and ballet [so essentially, one of the two traditions of French opera] [Grout]. ;

Subjects drawn from Greek mythology or Latin and Spanish chivalric romances; most of the time, the dramas deals with the conflict between glory and duty or glory and love.; Have prologue and five acts, which became standard in French opera.; Considered poetry of prime importance and wrote music appropriate for correct declamation of text.; Drama developed through simple recitative, which he insisted must be performed as written (no alteration in rhythm and with only those embellishments he notated or approved). ;

Trait; de l’harmonie


 “Teatise on Harmony”, written in 1722 by Jean-Philippe Rameau.  Was most important and most influential of his theoretical writings.  Believed harmony is foundation of all music, and that melody is derived from harmony.  He believed the identity of a chord is determined by its root, and that inversion does not change the chord’s identity but mearly weakens the chord.  In a series of harmonies, the imp. factor is the root-progression of the chords (the fundamental bass), not the notated bass notes.  Laid out concept of functional harmony (most imp. chords are tonic, dominant, and subdominant; all others chords are related to and secondary to these).