Italian Music 1

Italian music, within European music, Italian music has been of outstanding importance from the very beginning until today.

Its main characteristic is the vocal, melodic moment. Numerous types and genres of vocal music originated in Italy (e.g. madrigal, cantata, opera, oratorio) and served as a model for composers in many other countries. Rome as the seat of the Pope, the ambition of the princes and the wealth of the cities (Florence, Milan, Venice, Naples) promoted instrumental music as well as the creative cultivation of music theory. Time and again, Italy was a magnet for musicians, and Venice in particular became a musical capital during the Baroque period.

However, music was already enjoyed in ancient Italy, among others. a central position among the Etruscans. Wall paintings in Etruscan burial chambers testify to this, and they also show the influence of Greek culture. Music was no less important with the Romans; roman music. For more articles about Italy and Europe, please follow Homosociety.

Middle Ages

The development of Italian music is closely linked to the early Christianization of the country, which initially resulted in the adoption of Eastern, especially Greek, and later also Alexandrian and Byzantine musical cultures. Associated with this was the promotion of music by the Church with centers in Rome, Milan, Benevento, Ravenna and Aquileja, each of which developed its own liturgical repertoire. The names of Bishop Ambrose of Milan and Pope Gregory the Great are particularly associated with the development of Christian chant; the Gregorian chant named after him radiated all over Europe and shaped the entire Catholic Church (nmusik) of the Middle Ages. The founding of the Schola Cantorum in Rome is also associated with Pope Gregory. To fix music in writing, Guido von Arezzo introduced the Neumenschrift around 1000, from which the Western musical notation developed.

Polyphonic music using the Organum technique has been documented for the church as early as the 10th century in Milan. Otherwise, the contribution of Italian music to the development of the polyphony that arose north of the Alps was rather small. In the 13th century, the lauden, unanimous religious folk-language songs, found widespread use in Italy through religious popular movements. Italian music experienced its first high point in the Trecento, when polyphonic secular music blossomed in northern and central Italy, which was characterized by rich vocal melismatics and was characterized by clear harmonic sequences. The main forms of this two- and three-part music, determined by the vowels, but also performed with instruments, were the caccia (a canon song), the early madrigal and the ballata. F. Landini was the most important master of this vocal music, which quickly spread in Bologna (Jacopo da Bologna), Padua (Bartolino da Padova [worked between 1365 and 1405] as well as the Marchetto of Padua, well known as a theorist) and Brescia. In addition, inter alia Giovanni da Cascia (first half of the 14th century) and Ghirardello da Firenze (* 1320, † 1363). The notation of Italian Trecento music is a variant of the mensural notation found in France at the same time. This first flowering of Italian music, which was not immediately continued in Italy itself, is closely related to the musical development in Burgundy after 1400.


In the 15th and beginning of the 16th century, Italian music was also under the influence of Franco-Flemish composers (Franco-Flemish music) such as G. Dufay, Josquin Desprez , H. Isaac and later O. di Lasso, who were temporarily in Italy worked while C. de Rore and A. Willaert stayed there permanently. From the papal chapel in Rome, to which almost all of these musicians had once belonged, a Roman school emerged in the 16th century, to which the Spaniards C. de Morales and T. L. de Victoria also belonged. In it followed C. Festa and G. Animuccia one of the most important composers of the 16th century, G. P. da Palestrina. As a member of the papal chapel, he remained loyal to the Gregorian tradition and developed hisstyle, which turned away from the realism of the madrigal and which led vocal polyphony to its classical climax,particularly in his masses and motets. The composition of the GP da Palestrinas, which is perfectly balancedand whose melody is based entirely on the Latin language, but is certainly indebted to Ars nova in terms of lines and harmony, has been the model for Catholic church music for centuries as the so-called Palestrina style.

Independent of the Roman school, in northern Italy with the center of Venice, inter alia. A. Willaert, C. de Rore and their Italian students like A. and G. Gabrieli a music whose main characteristics were the polychoir, the color in the sound and the use of instruments (Venetian school). The genres Ricercar and Fantasia (later developed into the Fugue), Prelude and Toccata as well as the Sonata were cultivated. The madrigal also experienced a new upswing, and a harmony that already existed Chromatic used, served clay painting purposes (affect theory). A new relationship to sumptuous festivity led to the creation of an important, mainly multi-choir, instrumental ensemble music from Venice around 1600 by G. Gabrieli. The greatest theorist of the 16th century, G. Zarlino, also worked in Venice, which was the center of music printing at the time.

Italian Music 1