IV and VII Chapter one is an exploration of what might seem to be the more peripheral aspects of alfabeto song publications: titles, dedications, encomia, and other textual references to the repertory. Despite the boilerplate aspect of much of this material, I will argue that the types of metaphors and strategies evoked in this paratextual language show evidence of composers and publishers desires to present their alfabeto songs with particular rhetorical landscapes in mind.
Chapter two offers an introduction to the language of alfabeto song texts, with special emphasis on the pastoral tone that characterizes a large percentage of the repertory.
Chapter three presents a chronology of the published repertory, including analyses of regional publication and a comparative study of the published tradition within the larger context of Italian music publishing in the seicento. Chapter four explores some representative musical and textual concordances within the repertory.
The final two chapters offer concluding and interpretive thoughts about the observations presented in previous sections, with chapter five focusing on the origins and prominence of the tradition in the Kingdom of Naples and Rome, and the final chapter recounting how the practice of notating vocal music with alfabeto has played out in musicological historiography since the early twentieth century. Nearly a century ago, Chilesotti invoked the popular nature of alfabeto song prints as a talisman of their artistic ability, and this, within a larger context of Italians. While both associations appear somewhat simplisticand certainly were designed in the service of broader intellectual or aesthetic agendastheir approaches to making sense of the repertory illustrate the polarizing and sometimes ambivalent attitudes about alfabeto songs and to an extent popular music in general that reveal themselves in reflections about music in early modern Italy.
At the same time, these scholars' focus on the popular resonates with the contexts surrounding the alfabeto songs first flourishing and consequent proliferation in print.
With this premise in mind, it is hoped that this project can start where Chilesottis left off in , and that his claims for the repertorys musical and cultural viability be revisited with a focus and attention that is overdue. Chapter 1: The Language of Alfabeto Song Print Dedications, Letters, and Titles Oggi non se ne compongono tante perch si usa poco di cantare madrigali, n ci occasione in cui si abbiano da cantare, amando pi le genti di sentir cantare a mente con gli strumenti in mano con franchezza, che di vedere quattro o cinque compagni che cantino ad un tavolino col libro in mani, che ha troppo del scolaresco e dello studio.
These statements by Pietro della Valle and Scipione Cerreto introduce us to the problematic and sometimes ambiguous status of the Spanish guitar during the early decades of the seventeenth century. As a member of the strumenti di corde family, the instrument was simultaneously associated with the noble lute and arpa doppia, and considered the instruments of peasants, blind beggars, and clowns. Yet, as della Valle and the alfabeto song repertory illustrate, the instrument could also function as a fashionable instrumental prop in vocal music performances.
Similarly, the visibility of the Spanish guitar and alfabeto song among the influx of monody prints issued after is problematic for some recent scholars. Tim Carter has suggested that as a phenomenon created under the banner of new music aesthetics, vocal music with alfabeto fails to meet the high standards of the new music tradition. Solerti, Scipione Cerreto, Dell'arbore musicale Naples: Sotille, , Published in facsimile in Francesco Luisi, ed.
THE ALFABETO SONG IN PRINT, 1610 – CA. 1665
Alfabeto songs, printed with great regularity after , are for Carter adumbrations of the new music rather than true manifestations of the practice: The striking persistence of the new music in print cannot be explained simply by those collections numerous at least from the s clearly catering to singers of modest achievement, with simple tunes and pleasant ditties sung to the strummed chords of the Spanish guitar.
Although alfabeto songs proliferate under new music guises new music representatives such as DIndia, Kapsberger, and Francesca Caccini composed alfabeto songs, often printed side-by-side with their new music compositions , they cannot be considered true new music projects because they lack the same degree of musical erudition.
The Spanish guitar and alfabeto song are complicated symbols in seicento music. Not only do they escape modern historiographical categories, they also confused musical authorities of their own time. To better understand this complex repertory, it will be helpful to explore the repertorys meaning and significance in seventeenth century Italy. This chapter attempts to extract some of the repertory's contemporaneous significance through examining the language of dedications, encomia, letters, and miscellaneous notes to the reader that often introduced the editions.
While the encomiastic writing of these "paratextual" items reflects a written practice that became standardized in musical publications around the middle of the previous century, they often contain clues about a variety of matters concerning publishing, performance, taste, and audiences. Themes and Metaphors in Paratextual Material Antiquity As Jane Bernstein has noted, antiquity and nature were common themes in the dedication letter writing of Italian music prints of the mid-sixteenth century. This is observed in the frequent allusion to the chitarra as the seicento heir to the ancient kithara cetera or cetra in Italian.
Apollo himself, who the ancients reputed as the God of wisdom, often raised with delight a sweet bow and struck the admirable strings of his musical instrument. While Apollo's instrument is not named, the etymological similarities between Achilles's cetera and the modern chitarra are clearly at play in Aldigatti's citation of ancient practice. The linguistic and organological associations of the chitarra with the kithara in Italy go back at least to Tinctoris, who in the late fifteenth century described a four-string fretted instrument called a cetole as a derivate of the Greek lyre.
Jane A. Stefano Pesori created a similar legitimizing atmosphere in his introduction to the Galeria musicale, his second of two known alfabeto songbooks, published in In addition to namedropping the likes of Pythagoras, Pesori also noted the edifying affects of cetra playing in the lives of the notable Roman figures Titus, Hadrian, and Nero: Eccoti Giovent virtuosa una Galeria Musicale, debole s, m honorato disegno della mia professione; desideroso di trattenerti alquanto, e ricercarti dallo studio migliore daltre pi necessarie, e pi giovevoli discipline.
Tarreco con alcune toccate di Chitarriglia larmonia allorecchio; non per lusingarti alluso delle Sirene, m per invaghirti s lopinione di Pitagora de i Cieli; giudicio di Esso principalmente mirabili, perche armonici. Presso grandhuomeni non affeminata, disprezzabile la Musica. Tito Imperatore scrive Suetonio la prattico. Adriano pi volte deposto colle cure lo Scettro, si tratenne delicie con una Cetra. Lo stesso Nerone, benche spietato applaudendo musicalmente allincendiose ruuine di Roma. I bring to bear, with various toccate for the Chitarriglia, harmony for the ear; not for enticement as used by the Sirens, but to make you fond of the heavens, which according to the opinion of Pythagoras, are most wondrous because of their harmonies.
Music for great men is not effeminate or despicable. Emperor Titus writes Suetonius practiced it; Hadrian many times left his cares and his sceptre to entertain delights with a kithara. Nero, despite his ruthlessness, did the same with musical applause at the fiery ruins of Rome. In this passage, Pesori's moralizing tone is framed within an apologia on the chitarriglia.
He is moved to point out that although the sound of the instrument has the potential reputation? Moreover, Pesori traces the noble heritage of the chitarriglia back to the days of the ancient Romans, forging a historiography that serves to legitimize not only the Galeria, but Pesori's own professional status. In the introduction to his other alfabeto song book, Lo scrigno armonico, Pesori goes a step further in establishing the ancient connotations of the chitarriglia, noting that according to Marco Scacchi, the chitarriglia surfaced in antiquity even before the kithara, and simultaneously with the harp: Mi resta per ultimo di far particolari queste lodi alla Chitarriglia.
Il Volgo tiene esser venuta dalle Spagne l'inventione di questo suono, forsi perche essendo le sue correnti veramente d'oro nel valore, non possano derivare se non d'onde i fiumi corrono s le rene dorate, come f il Tago; chi h prattica nei racconti dell'armonia scritti tanto eruditamente allo Scachi, trover che la Chitarriglia assai pi antica delle Cetre, e gemella dell'Arpe. He who has experience in the accounts of harmony written in such an erudite manner by [Marco] Scacchi will find that the Chitarriglia is even more ancient than the Cetre, and is the twin of the harp.
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While few alfabeto song composers go to such lengths in creating a historical vision of the chitarriglia and chitarra, Pesori's statements demonstrate the desire to situate the instrument against the backdrop of ancient practice, thus validating its cultivation for his readers. It can be a short-hand for obtaining a performance, or it can be an exemplum of a class of performance possibilities. The score is either a disposable part of the musical culture, or it is a sign of it. Scores of modern pop music might be an equivalent.
In print, the score is quite often a counter or token in patron-artist relations as it is a functional tool for making music. Scores in the seventeenth century are by no means coextensive with the repertory, actual or potential. They are the tip of another iceberg.
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Nicol Fontei's opening statements in the dedication to Giorgio Nani of his Bizzarrie poetiche of , for example, suggest that the composer envisioned for his music an audience outside Nani's circle:. While his discussion is limited to printed editions of Lully's tragdies lyriques and early Italian court operas, Bianconi's observations could arguably be applied to other "noble" printed editions such as Monteverdi's fifth book of madrigals. Meyer, ed. Eugene Narmour and Ruth A.
Solie Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon, , Questi armoniosi concenti, detti Bizzarrie Poetiche, animati in gran parte dalla penna gentile del Sig. Giulio Strozzi per uso della di lui virtuosissima Cantaratrice, devono quasi merci d'honore sovra il picciol legno della mia sorgente fama pericolosamente incaminarsi per l'ampio Mare delle publiche stampe al dubbio porto dell'eternit. These harmonious concenti, called Bizzarrie Poetiche, were enlivened in great part by the kind pen of Signore Giulio Strozzi for usage by his most virtuous singer; they will, as treasured goods aboard the small ship of my inspired fame, dangerously make their way across the vast sea of public prints toward the doubtful port of eternity.
The motives for publication in Fontei's case stand in striking contrast to those who envisioned their publications for the souvenir press. He informs his readership that the music printed within the publication is intended for performance per uso and equates the printing of the book with an apt Venetian metaphor to a ship transporting precious cargo toward the "doubtful port of eternity.
To what extent did Fontei and others like him consider the entrepreneurial potential of publishing alfabeto songs? Nigel Fortune proposed the assumption that composers and publishers added alfabeto to increase the market value of their publications. Alessandro Vincenti and Giovanni Battista Robletti, for example, both printed alfabeto song books in which no dedicatee or patron is mentioned. Nicol Fontei, Delle bizzarrie poetiche Soavi ardori.
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THE ALFABETO SONG IN PRINT, 1610 – CA. 1665
Scielta di villanelle Kapsberger, Giovanni Girolamo. Li fiori libro sesto Various, ed. Arie de diversi Abatessa, Giovanni Battista.
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