Night and Deceit: Verdelot's Machiavelli

Susan McClary

in Modal Subjectivities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780520234932
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929159 | DOI:
Night and Deceit: Verdelot's Machiavelli

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It has become customary in musicology to situate the madrigal and music of the sixteenth century within a neoplatonic framework, with particular reliance on the Italian pythagorean Marsilio Ficino. Within that framework, concepts undeniably crucial to Renaissance culture (for example, harmonia) dominate, rising explicitly to the surface in polemical debates over compositional propriety in the fin de siècle madrigal. However, a wide range of intellectual contexts coexisted in the sixteenth century, some complementary but others mutually antagonistic. For instance, this same period also nurtured Baldassare Castiglione's Book of the Courtier (1528), a self-help guide for those who would pass themselves off as members of the elite, and Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince (1513), which marks the beginning of modern political theory. Some of the first madrigals were composed for Machiavelli's 1526 production of his play La Mandragola (The Mandrake), among the most celebrated comedies in the Italian language. The French musician Philippe Verdelot figures among the earliest practitioners of the new genres of madrigals.

Keywords: madrigal; music; Marsilio Ficino; Niccolò Machiavelli; La Mandragola; Philippe Verdelot

Chapter.  7052 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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