Chapter

Noble and Manly Understanding

Andrew Dell'Antonio

in Listening as Spiritual Practice in Early Modern Italy

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780520269293
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950108 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520269293.003.0005
Noble and Manly Understanding

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Lelio Guidiccioni was one of the most prominent and influential virtuosi in the early modern Roman curia. He is best known to musicologists as the dedicatee of Pietro Della Valle's “Della musica dell'età nostra,” which is the most detailed contemporary account of seventeenth-century Roman musical culture. This chapter attempts to understand Guidiccioni's perspective on music as heard. Guidiccioni is keenly concerned with the power of sonic imagery and the ability of sound to be an instrument of transcendence for the properly disposed listener. He is singularly interested in theorizing the place of virtù, the essence of noble masculinity, in the sonic receptive “practice” of music. This chapter uses Guidiccioni's work as a touchstone delving into the ways in which the emergent discourses of musical connoisseurship examined, were placed specifically in the service of noble, masculine, and spiritual identity. Guidiccioni's perspective on the primacy of the well-disposed listener for the definition of musical worth and the crucial role of sound in opening a path to transcendence does not seem to have taken significant hold in Italian musical circles beyond mid-century

Keywords: Lelio Guidiccioni; virtuosi; modern Roman curia; path to transcendence; sonic receptive

Chapter.  11410 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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