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(It. madrigale; orig. matricale—pastoral in the mother‐tongue).

Vocal comp., of It. origin, for several vv., usually unacc. but sometimes with instr. acc. Texts usually secular (amorous, satirical, or allegorical), but there are madrigali spirituali. Madrigals were first sung in It. towards the end of the 13th cent. and early examples survive by Giovanni da Cascia and Jacopo da Bologna. The form was revived in a different style in the 16th cent. by It. composers and by the Flemish Arcadelt, Verdelot, and Willaert. It became more complex and experimental in the hands of Lassus, Palestrina, and A. Gabrieli and achieved its finest flowering in the works of Donati, Marenzio, Gesualdo, and, especially, Monteverdi. In the 17th cent. it was superseded by the cantata.

The singing of It. madrigals was imported to Eng. by It. composers such as Ferrabosco the elder who worked at Elizabeth I's court. Nicholas Yonge, of St Paul's Cath., formed a madrigal choir and in 1588 pubd. Musica Transalpina, a coll. of It. madrigals to Eng. words. Eng. composers such as Byrd, Morley, and later Weelkes and Wilbye, wrote superb madrigals, though they did not always call them by that name. In the 19th cent., mock‐madrigals were composed by Sullivan and German.

See also Fellowes, E.H.

See also Fellowes, E.H.

Subjects: Music.

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