Reference Entry

Leonardo da Vinci

Emanuel Winternitz

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780198662037
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:
Leonardo da Vinci

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  • Early Renaissance Music (1400-1500)
  • High Renaissance Music (1500-1600)


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(b Anchiano, nr Vinci, 1452; d château of Cloux, nr Amboise, May 2, 1519). Italian artist and scientist. He was also profoundly occupied with music. In addition to performing and teaching music, he was deeply interested in acoustics and made many acoustical experiments with immediate bearing on music. He wrestled with the concept of musical time and invented a considerable number of ingenious musical instruments and improved existing ones. Leonardo also had some highly original ideas about the philosophy of music that were intimately connected with his philosophy of painting. It is characteristic that in his paragone, which forms an introduction to his treatise on painting, he accorded music the highest place, after painting, among the arts.

No details are known about Leonardo's musical education in Florence, but it is significant that Andrea del Verrocchio, in whose workshop he grew up, was also a musician. One of the earliest biographical sources, the so-called Anonimo Gaddiano (...

Reference Entry.  1395 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Renaissance Music (1400-1500) ; High Renaissance Music (1500-1600)

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