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‘With tempered notes, in the green hills and among rivers’: Music, Learning, and the Symbolic Space of Recreation in the Manuscript Modena, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, α.F.9.9

GIOVANNI ZANOVELLO

in The Music Room in Early Modern France and Italy

Published by British Academy

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780197265055
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754166 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197265055.003.0011

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

‘With tempered notes, in the green hills and among rivers’: Music, Learning, and the Symbolic Space of Recreation in the Manuscript Modena, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, α.F.9.9

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How did the frottola inhabit Renaissance palazzi? One almost recoils from placing this unsophisticated music within the system of austere symbols that aristocratic interiors had to convey. This apparent contradiction, however, may offer precious insights on the status of music at the turn of the sixteenth century. This chapter describes the layout and content of a Paduan frottola source, MS Modena, Biblioteca Estense, Alpha.F.9.9, and the context in which it originated. The contrast between the highly learned framework and the more vernacular content of this manuscript arguably reflects the tension between humanistic standards required of music and a secular repertory just beginning to adjust to a new role. Only later would music be able to develop the vocabulary for a fruitful dialogue with literary and artistic humanism.

Keywords: frottola; palace; manuscript; Modena; humanism; music composition

Chapter.  3869 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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