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The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music
  • Edited by Tim Carter, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill , John Butt, University of Glasgow

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    The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music
    • Online ISBN: 9781139053860
    • Book DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738
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Book description

The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music seeks to provide the most up-to-date knowledge on seventeenth-century music together with a vital questioning of the way in which such a history can be told or put together for our present purposes. Written by a distinguished team of experts in the field, the chapters not only address traditional areas of knowledge such as opera and church music, but also look at the way this extremely diverse and dynamic musical world has been categorised in the past and how its products are viewed from various cultural points of view. While this history does not depart entirely from the traditional study of musical works and their composers, there is a strong emphasis on the institutions, cultures and politics of the age, together with an interrogation of the ways in which music related to contemporary arts, sciences and beliefs.

Reviews

‘Each of the essays delivers on the book's promise of a strong emphasis on the institutions, cultures, and politics of the age.'

Source: Choice

‘The editors should be commended for constructing such a thorough and such an interesting work. I most highly recommend this volume to all musicologists, students, general historians and all persons interested in the development of music. It is a must for all libraries.'

Source: American Reference Books Annual

‘This History contains an incredible amount of information concerning all aspects of music in that period.'

Source: Opera Journal

'The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music succeeds equally as a solid reference text and as a fine collection of related essays. It fills a large void in the scholarly literature, and it does so in a way that will engage, inform and enthuse a broad spectrum of readers for years to come.'

Source: Early Music

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  • 1 - Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque
    pp 1-26
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The important music produced during the Renaissance period will be somehow identifiable with the Renaissance in general. The chief difficulties facing notions of a musical Renaissance are of a somewhat different order. Although it was possible to view Greek and Roman ruins and statuary, and to read Classical texts in the original or, increasingly, in translation, no ancient music survived. Art historians have broadly adopted the idea of Mannerism as a style-period separating the High Renaissance from the Baroque, and brought on by the political, social and economic upheavals of Italy in the sixteenth century after the French invasions of the peninsula and the Sack of Rome. Mannerism has been called the stylish style, and certainly stylishness was claimed a virtue by many critics in the sixteenth century: thus Raphael criticised Gothic architecture for being devoid of all grace and entirely without style.
  • 2 - The seventeenth-century musical ‘work’
    pp 27-54
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In this chapter, the author suggests that the status of musical works and the various developments of the era need to be examined from the broader perspective of seventeenth-century culture, looking beyond the way in which pieces of music are instantiated. All speculative music theorists of the seventeenth century continued to see music as something intimately connected to the structure of the universe, it remains to be seen how composers could assert their individuality, and how pieces of music could readily be distinguished from one another. The concept of compositional perfection as held at the outset of the seventeenth century tended to work against the idea of the composer as original genius. The theoretical conception of disenchantment is particularly relevant to the discussion of the development of the concept of works. Willem Erauw draws attention to a particular point made in Goehr's thesis concerning the development of musical works around 1800.
  • 3 - Music in the market-place
    pp 55-87
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Professional musicians must make a living, and thus their activities are bound by economic forces and by society's various demands for their craft. The seventeenth century was a time of such social and economic upheaval that musicians could scarcely escape unscathed. The pace and variety of change posed many challenges to professional musicians. A few women musicians saw their careers flourish and were among the highest-paid performers of the century. Domestic music was richest in towns, where the population also provided a market for many other types of music. The biggest innovation in urban music was the opening of opera houses to paying audiences, starting with the Teatro S. Cassiano in Venice in 1637. The polarisation of listeners and music-makers was of great importance for the formation of the profession. Musical dissemination was fragmenting into niche markets that reflected the diversification of genres and styles. The prestige of printed music is evident in the practice of presenting copies.
  • 4 - Music in new worlds
    pp 88-110
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter examines how swiftly and comprehensively repertories, instruments, performance styles and ceremonial practices were transmitted along the routes of exploration in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, allowing the Oriental, Old and New worlds to share common musical experiences at roughly the same time. One of the richest areas of study towards evaluating the inter-relationships among colonial cultures involves the history and transmission of musical instruments. As a barometer of crosscultural influence, instrumental families have long been central sources for ethnomusicologists: they bear witness to a long history of multi-cultural appropriation, and they are also indicators of status and class, and, to use Bourdieu's term, of cultural capital. By the middle of the seventeenth century, lutes and vihuelas begin to be mentioned in Goa. Music was seen as a powerful political medium both in Europe and beyond, and it was very much part of the cultural and political imperatives of both the Portuguese and the Jesuits.
  • 5 - Music and the arts
    pp 111-131
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In many ways, the arts in the seventeenth century were shaped by the same aesthetic principles that had held sway during the sixteenth: the Humanist belief that a work of art had the ability, through imitation, to portray psychological, moral and other realities, and the power, through rhetorical means, to make those realities present to others. In music, the subject of text expression became the locus classicus for the debate between the conservatives and the moderns. The seventeenth century was one of taxonomies, of ordering and objectifying everything from the passions of the soul to the senses of the body. Expressing emotion was at the core of the Baroque aesthetic, and emotion was a function of motion. The pursuit of naturalism led inevitably to the Baroque cultivation of illusion. The seventeenth century was the Golden Age of European drama, beginning with William Shakespeare and closing with Jean Racine.
  • 6 - Music and the sciences
    pp 132-157
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter concerns the 'science' of music itself: how the field of musical knowledge was defined, classified and understood in the seventeenth century. It explores where music fitted into classifications of the arts and sciences more generally. The chapter examines how music, as an art, a body of skill, and a practice, contributed to changing understandings of 'science' and the 'sciences' during the seventeenth-century 'Scientific Revolution', an astonishing period of intellectual transformation during which it is generally recognised that the conceptual, methodological and institutional foundations of modern science were first established. Speculative music constituted the kind of philosophical knowledge that intellectuals might be expected to possess about music, a body of doctrine that was usually produced by graduates. Galileo Galilei is regarded as a leading figure of the seventeenth-century Scientific Revolution. Francis Bacon's writings had a demonstrable influence on later seventeenth-century experimental research. Marin Mersenne's contribution to seventeenth-century acoustics and musical science can hardly be overestimated.
  • 7 - The search for musical meaning
    pp 158-196
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Musical meaning became less a matter of universals than something contingent upon time and place. The emerging focus in the sixteenth century on the poetics of music fostered a range of new analytical and critical tools for approaching musical works of art. The influence of Classical poetics on the emergence of musical poetics was guaranteed in part by Humanist precedent. For seventeenth-century music, issues of tonal structure are complex and have yet to be fully resolved. The traditional view has the period marking a transition from Renaissance modes to the major-minor tonalities of the Classical period. Musical signifiers range from the literal to the conventional, where the musical sign stands as an emblem representing the thing being imitated without bearing any resemblance to it. Instrumental music continued both to draw on vocal models and to rely on sixteenth-century styles and genres. Baroque notation is more specific than that of the Renaissance, in terms of embellishment, articulation, dynamics, tempo and instrumentation.
  • 8 - Power and display: music in court theatre
    pp 197-240
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The seventeenth century inherited a well-established tradition of magnificent courtly spectacle. For centuries, European rulers had celebrated special occasions with feasts, tournaments and jousts, and parade-like entries into their domains, all involving spectacular decoration, costume and pageantry. Lavish spending on building projects and art works served the state by displaying the monarch's power and prestige. The music involves an alternation of segments for five-part chorus with accompanying instruments, and sections for a trio of dancing soprano soloists, accompanying themselves on guitars and a cembalino. Orfeo attempts to persuade Caronte with the power of his singing. Monteverdi presented the vocal music in two versions: one quite plain, indicating the basic melodic line, and the other with elaborate, virtuosic ornamentation of the sort a singer of the time would have added. An important footnote to the subject of Barberini patronage concerns the interventions of Italians in musical theatre at the royal courts of France in the 1640s and Spain in the 1650s.
  • 9 - Mask and illusion: Italian opera after 1637
    pp 241-282
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter focuses on the fact that Italy simply reflects the realities of a music genre which was to remain dominated by Italians through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The operas performed in the north Italian courts and in Rome in the first third or so of the seventeenth century formed just part of a broader gamut of princely entertainment that also embraced plays with intermedi, balli, mascherate, and various kinds of tournaments. Opera became firmly entrenched within the so-called 'myth of Venice', the tropes by which the city projected its self-image as a republican paradise. Maiolino Bisaccioni made the point in his account of the spectacular stagings achieved by the scene-designer Giacomo Torelli in the Teatro Novissimo. Court opera, in its early stages, had been concerned with the ever-problematic question of the verisimilitude of singing on stage. Opera could be exported to other countries, where it might, in turn, vie with more indigenous forms of entertainment.
  • 10 - The Church Triumphant: music in the liturgy
    pp 283-323
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During the seventeenth century, religious observance played an essential part in people's lives, both as the consequence of a pervasive system of belief that was seldom questioned, and as the crucial declaration of a confessional allegiance that might also have strong political overtones. This chapter focuses on the formal liturgical music composed for major services of various denominations, it is important to emphasise that polyphonic art music formed only a part of any church service in the seventeenth century: it was composed for, and experienced as part of, a broader liturgical context, knowledge of which is essential to understand its function and meaning. Plainchant intonations, plainchant or organ alternatim verses, chanted prayers and readings, are only the most obvious ways in which polyphony was spaced and framed. For Catholics, ritual gestures and movements, the perfume of incense, the relative locations of clergy and choir(s), vestments, paintings, tapestries and platforms, all had a role to play in the overall experience.
  • 11 - Devotion, piety and commemoration: sacred songs and oratorios
    pp 324-377
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Sacred music was made across a range of ritual or habitual activities outside the prescribed liturgy, and the space,corporate or personal, in which the art was to have its effect was also variable.This chapter discusses some of the vernacular sacred pieces ranged from the top to the bottom of society. The tradition of royal piety continued from before: the Marian/Cross devotion of Emperor Ferdinand II, a direct outgrowth of the traditional Habsburg themes of the pietas austriaca, had remarkably direct expression in the motet production of his Italian Kapellmeister Giovanni Valentini. For much of Catholic Europe, religious orders were central to vernacular music; in Italy the most obvious case is the Oratorians, the institutional patrons and transmitters of the lauda repertory old and new. Far from the middle-to-high culture of Europe, devotional music played an important role in the spread of Western ideologies.
  • 12 - Image and eloquence: secular song
    pp 378-425
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter emphasizes that the moral issues attached to music apply exactly to the increasingly cultured citizens of the upper bourgeoisie, even to those who had risen to high ranks within the Roman Church or to families with newly purchased titles of nobility. By the middle of the sixteenth century, the teaching of Latin grammar, dialectics and rhetoric had been adapted to instruction in modern languages in new petty and grammar schools, colleges and charity endowed institutions. Subjects such as eloquence and elocution which were not new to Humanistic education were now brought to bear on the vernacular. Eloquence derived from the use of rhetorical figures of speech. Highly eloquent texts, such as Elizabethan and Jacobean poems, needed effective elocution, or delivery, in order for listeners to grasp their figures and make sense of them. Writing poetry to already existing music also crossed language barriers, high and low genres of song, and the secular and religious spheres.
  • 13 - Fantasy and craft: the solo instrumentalist
    pp 426-478
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In practical and statistical terms, the role of seventeenth-century instrumental music is essentially modest and of minority significance. Plenty of evidence survives for an intensely active culture of solo playing throughout Europe. The ceremony manuals of churches and similar documents provide generous testimony to the nearly universal presence of organ solos in the liturgy. This chapter seeks to do some justice to instruments and their repertories, to the functional and other contexts of solo instrumental performance, and to the music itself. Most of the instruments used for solo performance have their own literature, with only sporadic overlap. Developments in the keyboard and lute repertories could both parallel one another and diverge notably, depending on the period and region. The two usual venues for solo playing, church and chamber, had quite different requirements. Churches were the domain of organists, trained professionals who often operated in a highly public arena on the largest instruments known to Christendom.
  • 14 - Form and gesture: canzona, sonata and concerto
    pp 479-532
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521792738.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Instrumental music followed patterns of dissemination similar to vocal genres, opera, cantata, and oratorio that began in Italy and spread further to mingle with non-Italian musical traditions. Of all genre designations used for instrumental music, canzona is one of the most revealing because it points to a specific compositional model, the chanson. The principal cities of early canzona composition were Brescia and Venice. The sonata enters the field of the seconda praticawith its search for new forms of musical expression and emotional arousal. For composers of ensemble music, affetto was applied in a specific sense to moments of harmonic intensity in slow, chordal sections, with chromaticism, cross-relations, dissonances and unusual melodic movement. The dissemination of the concerto to Salzburg, Passau and London in the hands of the internationally travelled Muffat and Handel constitutes just one facet of the remarkable exportation of Italian genres around the turn of the eighteenth century.

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.


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