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Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Volume 9 (2003) No. 1

The Players of Florentine Monody in Context and in History, and a Newly Recognized Source for Le nuove musiche

To the memory of Claude Palisca Tornerà di auro il secolo? (Intermedio VI,1589)

Victor Anand Coelho*


Recent studies into the stylistic background of Caccini’s Le nuove musiche are in substantial agreement that the print is less a collection of “new musics” that suddenly shifted the paradigm, but more a validation of practices that were cultivated by amateurs and professionals throughout much of the sixteenth century. In this article I expand the boundaries of these investigations by discussing the transmission of Florentine monody between professional and amateur musicians in Florence within the context of an important new manuscript discovery containing intabulated accompaniments of works by Caccini, Peri, and Rasi.

1.  Recent Studies of Caccini’s Le nuove musiche

2.  Sources of Le nuove musiche

3.  The Players of Monody

4.  The Cavalcanti Family and Raffaello “il giovane”

5.  A Newly Recognized Source of Florentine Monody

6.  Accompaniments and Variants



Musical Example



1. Recent Studies of Caccini’s Le nuove musiche

1.1 The history of Giulio Caccini’s Le nuove musiche and its role in the development of Florentine monody in general offer an instructive example of shifting attitudes in the musical historiography of the late Italian Renaissance. Let us consider three related examples in an historical context. Fifty years ago, Oliver Strunk included Caccini’s well-known preface to the 1602 Nuove musiche in his selection of important source readings in the history of music, introducing it as it “epoch-making.1 Only a couple of years earlier, Manfred Bukofzer had also established Caccini’s place in history as both the catalyst of the new monodic style and the first composer of monodies;2 and until the third (1973) edition of Grout’s History of Western Music,3 Caccini was still credited with inventing a new style of song, seemingly without indebtedness to any prior influence or stylistic ancestry.

1.2 But as we know now through the work of Claude Palisca, Tim Carter, John Walter Hill, Howard Brown, and others,4 Caccini’s works were closely connected to earlier and long-standing musical traditions, namely the techniques of the improvisatori, the Italian tradition of arranging polyphonic madrigals for voice and lute, as well as to the repertories of the villanella, canzonetta, and napolitana. Accordingly, in 1992, Tim Carter implicitly corrected Strunk’s opinion when he wrote that Caccini’s print was “perhaps not the epoch-making publication the composer might have wished.”5 Similarly, Palisca’s subsequent revisions of Grout’s text introduced mention of earlier stylistic models in order to illuminate the stylistic background of the Nuove musiche.6 Going a step further, John Walter Hill has argued that Caccini was not the only, and perhaps not even the first, monody composer to have drawn directly upon sixteenth-century unwritten and semi-written practices and repertoires, and that the early continuo-accompanied monodies by several Neapolitan and Roman composers, in particular, do not depend exclusively on Caccini’s works as their models.7

1.3 Without trying to diminish the clear importance of Caccini’s print, these more recent studies of the past twenty to thirty years have forced a reassessment of Caccini’s claims to novelty and originality. Furthermore, they testify to a fundamental shift in musicological methodology—commensurate to the reevaluation of the notions of “central” and “peripheral” in all research sectors of the academy—from almost exclusive reliance on “great sources” to “source inclusion.” In simple terms, the great source model defined the historical position of the Nuove musiche as an invention—following Caccini’s own claims—that ushered in a new age. It was accepted as a pivotal source to which the origin of many “Baroque” characteristics could be traced. Perhaps it was a logical choice, given the promise of its title, the proximity of the publication to both the new century and the date of the first operas, and a musical style that was theoretically validated by Caccini’s detailed and well-illustrated preface.8

1.4 Current opinion, however, has taken us in quite the opposite direction. Adopting a more critical and source-inclusive methodology, historians now agree that the print is less a collection of “new musics” that suddenly shifted the paradigm, but more a validation of practices that were cultivated throughout much of the sixteenth century, and an institutionalization of them through Caccini’s courtly standing and musical rank at the Medici court.9 Caccini’s own admission that some of his songs were composed already by about 1585 has helped intensify our search for his own sources to the point where we now have the means to retrace the steps that led to the creation of the Nuove musiche. In short, where Caccini’s print was once seen as the cause, now it has become the effect, and, indeed, not the only effect of those causes.

2.  Sources of Le nuove musiche

2.1 It is not just the sheer number, but the type of source that we have used that has, I think, led to the reassessment I have just described and the revised history of Florentine monody. Specifically, it has been our willingness to connect sources like the Nuove musiche, the polished and tested product of a fifty-year-old singer and composer at the Medici Court, with such sources as the so-called Cavalcanti Lute Book (B-Br MS II 275—see figure 1a), a fascinating but often carelessly prepared personal lute manuscript copied by a relatively unknown fifteen-year-old Florentine a decade before the publication of Caccini’s print.10 Are these two sources, clearly evocative of the old “central-peripheral” dichotomy, respectively, really comparable?

2.2 Cavalcanti is only one of almost a dozen Florentine lute manuscripts of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries that have helped us find the roots and follow the growth of Florentine monody.11 Common to all of these sources is the presence of intabulated accompaniments to solo song. The accompaniments represent either arrangements of vocal polyphony for solo voice and lute, or, in the sources from the 1590s and later, intabulated continuo realizations, usually containing the text of the voice part, but without the melody. Together, these sources make up a large and important manuscript tradition of Florentine monody that transmits performances and histories of these pieces rather than just concordant readings. Moreover, the different types of lute song included in these manuscripts and the diverse source types themselves—ranging from didactic tablatures copied by Vincenzo Galilei and professional Medici court manuscripts, to retrospective anthologies and fragments owned by amateurs—have allowed us to reconstruct the methods used by Renaissance musicians to transform polyphony into solo lute song, as well as to accompany and sing poetry to the lute. The integration of these tablature sources into our history of monody has allowed for a more systematic history of monody’s development, and new perspectives relevant to cultural, philological, textual, and performance concerns.

2.3 Given the primacy of text declamation and rhythm in the Florentine monody repertory, it seems strange that the one aspect of these manuscript sources that has attracted the most scholarly attention has not been the text setting but the tablature accompaniments themselves. In no other song repertory from any period have we devoted so much attention to accompaniments. They have been examined in an evolutionary sense as containing the seeds of the development of basso continuo and functional harmony; as frozen versions of the venerable improvised tradition and sixteenth-century practices of arranging vocal polyphony; and as sources that argue for and against their use as representing accurate notions of performance practice, instrumentation, and pitch. Taken together, our investigations of these often elementary accompaniments have led us down the paths of history, historiography, humanism, theory, performance, and context. Using these categories as a framework, I will discuss here how these issues present themselves at every level of studying this music and what they tell us about the professional and amateur circulation of Caccini’s music. I will offer some answers to these questions in the context of a new manuscript discovery in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris) that contains yet more intabulated accompaniments of works by Caccini, Peri and others, introducing, once again, readings that confront the propriety of the printed source as an authoritative text.

3.  The Players of Monody

3.1 The case of Raffaello Cavalcanti, the owner of one of the most important solo lute and lute songbooks of the sixteenth century, provides an accurate profile of a young lutenist and singer in Florence in the decade during which the contents of the Nuove musiche were already being circulated. The Cavalcanti lute book has been known for a long time, particularly as an important, if possibly corrupt, source for the music of Francesco da Milano.12 But until recent archival research, we have known almost nothing about the history of its owner and the context of the manuscript.13 Like most other Florentine lute manuscripts of the late sixteenth century, the Cavalcanti lute book contains works for voice and lute in several different formats. Some are arrangements of polyphony exactly along the lines Vincenzo Galilei had proposed for the singing of ancient airs; that is, vocal works with lute accompaniment drawn mostly from the strophic canzonetta and napolitana repertories.14 Galilei’s influence is, in fact, very strong in this manuscript. In most of these pieces, the vocal parts are intabulated in diverse and clever ways for lute, with the song texts intended to be sung to the bass voice of the intabulated lute part—which, in most cases, replicates the bass voice of the vocal model—a practice that was first described by Galilei and revealed in several other Florentine manuscripts of the 1580s and 90s.15 New studies have shown that other pieces could be sung as duets, and still others to the upper voice of the model, as demonstrated by sources like the Bottegari lute book.16 The manuscript also contains formulas for singing stanze—poems in terza and ottava rima—which transmit notated examples of the improvisatory practice of singing poetry to music, which was central to Galilei’s own musical aesthetic.17 What is clear is that in the decades prior to the Nuove musiche’s “official” launch in Florence, the techniques and sources of the new vocal style were already in the hands and voices of young noble amateur musicians like Raffaello Cavalcanti in Florence. Their arrangements of polyphony into lute-accompanied song and their intabulated accompaniments reveal how “monody” and the poetics of music-text relationships had always been part of the amateur musician’s repertoire.

3.2 What is the profile of these players? Who were they, and what can the Paris lute book and other manuscript sources tell us about the dissemination and transmission of Florentine monody in context and in history? Title pages of Italian lute manuscripts reveal that some of these young owners were juvenile, probably just under ten years old, given the crude drawings on the cover of the Torino lute manuscript, dated around 1580 (figure 2). This is corroborated by images of monody performance,18 which suggest players in their teenage years, as in the famous Caravaggio and Gentileschi lutenists, and earlier Florentine portraits of lute players by Bronzino (figure 3) and Salviati (figure 4) provide more specific information of the young age and status of lute manuscript owners in a city that celebrated the achievements of youth.19

4.  The Cavalcanti Family and Raffaello “il giovane”

4.1 The voluminous genealogical material in the Raccolte Pucci and Sebregondi in the Archivio di Stato in Florence20 reveals seven main lines of the Cavalcanti family, which is borne out by Scipione Ammirato’s manuscript history of the family located in the Carte Dei that traces the Cavalcanti up to the late sixteenth century.21 The most prosperous time for the family was during the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when the Cavalcanti bank was flush, with offices in Florence and Rome. As Medici supporters (and residents of the district of Santa Croce), the family’s status in Florence was prone to sudden changes, and some of the Cavalcanti were exiled in the fifteenth century along with Cosimo the Elder. Others, like Giovanni Cavalcanti, were related by marriage to the Medici, and there exists correspondence between Caterina de Medici and Cosimo I regarding Cavalcanti weddings.22 As with all noble Florentines families, the Cavalcanti marriages and business relationships were strategic, and this is partially why information about the family is dispersed throughout the papers of the Manelli, Riccardi, Compagni, Strozzi, Guicciardini, Capponi, Antinori, and Galilei family archives. These connections within and between families were typical of the kinship alliances formed by noble Florentines, and over the years they resulted in large networks of influence and loyalty, facilitating the acquisition of property and wealth, and promoting a localized circulation of music within their households.

4.2 Raffaello was born around 1575 to Jacopo di Raffaello Cavalcanti (1537–1596), making him about fifteen years old at the time he signed his manuscript.23 Like most noble Florentine men, Raffaello delayed marriage until his thirties, wedding his cousin Maria d’Alessandro (from the della Valle line) in 1608, which provided a substantial dowry and a portion of a country estate in Brugnano.24 In 1619 this property was sold to Girolamo Guicciardini, whose influential family served Medici interests and who was also a partner in the Cavalcanti business in Rome.25 In 1629 most of Raffaello’s and Maria’s assets were handed over to senators Tommaso and Giovanni Cavalcanti, probably in connection with a financial crisis in the family business and the preoccupation of the family at that time with settling several lawsuits.26 Following the death of Raffaello’s mother-in-law, Lucrezia della Valle, in 1632, for which Raffaello’s account book lists payments for the funeral arrangements (including drapes for the body and alms [limosina]),27 little of importance is known of Raffaello until the death of his wife, Maria, in 1648, and his own death in 1649.28

4.3 Born into a complex network of alliances nurtured over centuries by his distinguished family, Raffaello had easy access to both court and city culture. He was able to tap into the circulation of rare, unpublished music of a distinct Florentine flavor that ranged from compositions by noble amateurs to court musicians. His manuscript is the earliest source of Piero Strozzi’s Fuor dell’ humido nido, sung by Caccini on a cart during the 1579 Medici wedding celebrations, and among its many other vocal settings are previously unrecognized arrangements of madrigals by Florentine musicians such as Malvezzi (Occhi miei che vedeste, fol. 74v) and Striggio, works transmitted locally by “Cav. Antinori” (Empio cor cruda voglio, fol. 52)29, and unique works attributed to Francesco da Milano. 30 This largely private network of musical transmission among prominent Florentine amateurs, professional musicians, and nobles, was the precise means by which the Italian madrigal developed decades earlier in Florence.31 The impact of these local repertories has been studied by Tim Carter in his work on Jacopo Corsi and Florentine printing. “The point remains,” Carter remarks, “that the transmission of the latest music, at least to Florence, may well have been a question of personal networks. These networks are precisely the kind that scholars of manuscript transmission are adept at tracing, and it seems that they may have remained effective even in the age of printing.”32

5. A Newly Recognized Source of Florentine Monody

5.1 If the Cavalcanti lute book represents a domestic source that resulted from an insider’s access to early (and “pseudo”) monody, the manuscript F-Pn Vmd7 137.305 brings us closer to court, and perhaps even to Caccini himself. The Paris lute book has never been described,33 and it remained unknown and inaccessible to scholars until I was able to study it in May, 1998, thanks to François-Pierre Goy of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, who drew my attention to the tablature. The inside of the modern front cover contains the ex libris of Geneviève Thibault, the Comtesse de Chambure, and like many of the lute manuscripts that came into the Bibliothèque Nationale from the collections of Henri Prunières and the Comtesse, the steps of its acquisition history are difficult to retrace.34 The Paris lute book is modest in appearance and size, and its thirty-nine folios are all uniformly ruled with four systems of tablature staff lines. Since the manuscript is devoid of any name or date, and almost half of its folios are blank, it would appear hopeless to try to speculate about its context, uses, and provenance. Luckily, both an owner, or at least a copyist, and a date can be inferred from scribal and musical concordances, and this information, in turn, suggests a place for the copying and use of the manuscript.

5.2 Four hands copied the Paris lute book, of which the first can be singled out as the main scribe who was responsible for almost the entire source.35 It is the same scribe that copied the bulk of the Florentine manuscript Naples, a central Florentine solo lute and lute song manuscript, which contains three exact concordances with Paris (nos. 3, 7, 17), including the arrangement of Caccini’s Oimè begl’occhi (see figure 5a and figure 5b).36 Naples is also dated 4 August 1607, which allows us to date the Paris manuscript with some precision.37 The appearance of four copyists combined with the presence of so many blank folios, suggests that the manuscript was a work in progress, a florilegium or pedagogical book supervised by a teacher.38

5.3 If we rely on the musical and scribal concordances the Paris lute book shares with Naples, coupled with some specific information we now have of the users of the Naples manuscript, it would appear that the Paris lute book had a direct connection to the heart of the Medici musical establishment of the early seventeenth century. In a recent article, I proposed its companion, Naples, as a valuable source for the reconstruction of the music for the1608 Medici wedding.39 The manuscript was supervised by court lutenist Giovanni Nannicino, whose name appears both on the title page of Naples as the teacher to a certain Francesco Quartiron,40 and in archival documents that list him as one of the musicians who played in the intermedio Il tempio della pace of 1608.41 If Nannicino is truly the main scribe in Naples, which is very likely, he would be, by extension, Scribe 1 in Paris and the link to the Medici court. Quartiron’s name has not turned up in any Medici documents, and it is likely that, like Raffaello Cavalcanti, he was a young student in his teens studying the lute with Nannicino. In this scenario, he can probably be identified with one of the subsidiary hands in the Naples manuscript.

5.4 Similar to virtually all Florentine lute manuscripts of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Paris contains a “mixed” repertory beginning with six solo lute works up to folio 6, followed by seventeen songs with lute accompaniment (see Table 1 for an inventory). The solo pieces display a typical Florentine flavor: variations on the Aria di Fiorenza, a setting of La Monica, also known as Une jeune fillette, a toccata, and a setting of the Romanesca that also appears in Naples in the same hand.


Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Rés. Vm7 137.305: Inventory 39 ff. (22–39 blank); 11.8 x 16.5 cm.; 4 hands; ca. 1607 Italian tablature for solo lute (11 courses) and lute and voice (texts only plus tablature)

no. fol. Content Concordances
  1 [Blank staves]  
1. 1v [Ruggiero]  
2. 2v [Toccata]  
3. 3v [Aria di Fiorenza]  
4. 5v Romanescha Naples, in same hand
5. 6 [La Monica = Une jeune fillette]  
6. 6v Vaga su spin’ ascosa (Caccini / text: Chiabrera) Nm1614; Brussels 704
7. 7v Oimè, begli occhi (Caccini) Nm1614; Barbera; Naples
8. 8v Ard’il mio petto misero (Caccini / text: Chiabrera) Nm1602; Brussels 704
9. 9v Fortunato augellino (Caccini / text: Rinuccini) Nm1602; Florence 66; Brussels 704 (without tablature)
10. 11 Perché t’en fuggi (Caccini) Brussels 704; Brussels 16.663; Florence 66; Florence 115
11. 11v Deh com’ in van chiedete (Caccini / text: Guarini) Tenbury42
12. 12v Da fortunati campi (Peri / text: Rinuccini) La Dafne, 1597 (prologue of Ovid); Florence 66
13. 13v Dovrò dunque morire (Caccini / text: Rinuccini) Nm1602; Brussels 704; Bologna Q140; Tenbury
14. 14v Schiera d’aspri martiri (Rasi / text: Chiabrera) F. Rasi, Vaghezza di musica per una voce sola (Venice, 1608)43
15. 15v Fuggi tutta la notte e tutto il giorno  
16. 16 Dove potrò mai gir  
17. 17 Bellissima regina [Peri?] Naples
  18 [Blank staves]  
18. 18v Poi che humil  
19. 19v Mille dolci parolette Florence 30; Florence 66; Brussels 704
20. 20v O begl’ occhi (text: Chiabrera) Brussels 704; Florence 66
21. 21 Non avea febo ancor (text: Rinuccini) Florence 114
22. 21v Temer donna non dei (text: Marino)  
  22–39v [Blank staves]  

The remainder of the manuscript contains the texts of seventeen songs along with an intabulated accompaniment for each. Unlike the important early source of monody Brussels 704, the Paris manuscript includes only the song texts under the Italian tablature accompaniment, but not the notated melody. Thus, to perform from this manuscript the singer/student would have had to commit the notes of the song to memory, a format that reveals standard pedagogical practice and preserves as well the essentiality of the relationship between master and apprentice.44

5.5 The Parisaccompaniments are clearly not intabulations of previously notated vocal parts, which is the manner in which the song accompaniments are derived in Cavalcanti, Paris 28 and some other Florentine sources.45 Rather, they are realized continuo accompaniments or else accompaniments perhaps initially intabulated that were later reduced into a figured bass line. This is the same format that is present in other Florentine books that contain monodies with intabulated accompaniments, such as Florence 30, Florence 168, Naplesand the relatively unknown Brussels 16.663.46

5.6 The vocal settings in Paris provide further evidence that the compilers or users of the manuscript were in close proximity to the most important composers working at the Medici court in the early seventeenth century. Seven of the seventeen vocal works are by Caccini, all appearing anonymously and clustered in one section of the manuscript (nos. 6–11, 13). Since two of these works do not appear in either book of the Nuove musiche (Perche t’en fuggi [10] and Deh com’ in van chiedete [11]), they (and possibly some or all of the remaining five Caccini pieces that were published) were transmitted through the localized manuscript tradition that we have now identified of this repertory.47 Paris is the only common source to both of these pieces.

5.7 Similarly, the rare appearance of Da fortunati campi (12), Ovid’s prologue from Jacopo Peri’s lost La Dafne, constitutes one of the few remaining fragments from this work, all of which are transmitted through manuscripts. This setting (see figure 6a and figure 6b) is the only source of La Dafne that contains an intabulated accompaniment, and it contains two more verses that are not found in the other source in which it appears, Florence 66. In all other respects it is an exact concordance.48

5.8 The last identifiable composer in the manuscript is the singer and theorbist Francesco Rasi (1574–1621), whose setting of Chiabrera’s Schiera d’aspri martiri (14) was published in 1608. Rasi served mainly the Gonzaga court and probably sang the role of Orpheus in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo of 1607. But he was a student of Caccini, and he sang in some of the most important musical events at the Medici court.49 The Paris accompaniment follows the printed version in identical fashion.

6. Accompaniments and Variants

6.1 If the Paris settings of Peri, Rasi, and the unpublished songs by Caccini reveal few if any variants with other sources, the five Caccini songs concordant to Le nuove musiche (6–9, 13) introduce numerous differences between the Paris and the printed versions in the categories of accidentals, overall form, rhythm, and in the harmonies themselves. This is not surprising, since the works from the Nuove musiche were widely disseminated in manuscripts of various formats (with and without tablature; with and without a notated melody), for different instruments (lute, cittern,50 and theorbo), and for a variety of contexts (teaching, professional and domestic performance). Furthermore, according to Caccini, works like Dovrò dunque morire were among those that he was already singing by 1585, which means that by the time of the Paris manuscript, it had been circulated and interpreted for over twenty years. If we accept that the Nuove musiche represents Caccini’s desire to set the record straight by providing an authorized version of music that he admits as having been corrupted by singers, it is possible that Paris, like Brussels 704, belongs in the tradition of those idiosyncratic readings that were formalized and printed by Caccini as an ostensibly “authoritative” version. Or, the Paris variants could show that even after Caccini published his two books, performers continued to adapt, alter, and edit these works for their own performance. Indeed, there is evidence that the manuscript versions of Caccini’s works were more widely known than the printed tradition.51

6.2 Since Paris contains only text and tablature without the melody, it is impossible to make comparisons with regard to ornamentation and nuances of text setting. Nevertheless, the Paris accompaniments reveal many harmonic, melodic, and formal variants that allow us to reconstruct the melodic differences. In Dovrò dunque morire, Vaga su spin’ ascosa, and Oimé begl’ occhi,52 entire chords are eliminated or telescoped, there are a variety of major-minor conflicts between the two versions that have clear melodic implications, and text repetitions in the printed version, which are usually highly ornamented by Caccini in preparation for the final cadence, are not found in Paris. The Paris (figure 5a) and Naples (figure 5b) versions of Oimé begl’ occhi even contain different text, “poi che pensando al tempo del partire” instead of “Se pria ch’io giung’al tempo del partire,” which further suggests that the Paris version may not be indebted to the printed version at all.

6.3 Example 1 gives the entire Paris setting of Caccini’s Dovrò dunque morire in a comparative transcription with the melody and bass of the published version (see figure 7) to serve as a summary of the kinds of alteration—or differences, rather—that are contained in many of the Paris readings.53 The unornamented and purely chordal accompaniment is characteristic of both the entire manuscript and of the other sources that contain realized tablature accompaniments (see figure 8a and figure 8b). The Paris accompaniments, however, though straightforward, are rendered with far greater precision than in sources like Brussels 704, and are more musically sophisticated in the categories of voicing, texture, and fingering. Compared to the printed version, however, Paris simplifies the harmonies of many passages through elimination of cadential 7–6 suspensions (mm.10, 11) and halving the length of long notes (mm. 29–30, 32), which effectively trims the vocal ornamentation, commensurate to the abilities, probably, of the student. This, along with the fact that the accompaniment often doubles the vocal part, brings this version closer to the “pre-monodic” song style of the texted intabulation—which, of course, is the tradition from which this particular work derived, as it is one of Caccini’s oldest—than to the elaborate courtly style of a Caccini, Rasi, or the virtuoso bass singer Palentrotti, which is essentially what the printed version represents.

6.4 The most common variants between manuscript and print lie in the discrepancy between major and minor chords, or notated and unnotated accidentals. In many cases, Paris simply clarifies standard practice by providing major chords at cadences (or Picardy thirds), which are not usually figured in the print (e.g. mm. 4, 9, 11, 22). However, in some places Paris contradicts the actual figured bass in Nm1602, causing discrepancies between major and minor thirds (e.g. m. 2, 3rdbeat; m. 5, 1st beat; and m. 6, 3rd beat), and on occasion Paris disagrees with the chromatic alteration to the notes themselves, which changes the implied chord root completely (m. 23, 3rd beat, for example). I cannot offer any consistent theoretical argument to explain these changes without resorting to a highly subjective reading of how the copyist might have understood the music-text relations of this work. Or, perhaps Paris represents either an earlier version by Caccini or else the “tattered and torn” tradition cited by the composer in his preface to Nm1602 that forced him to publish an authorized version, though I hardly think that the Paris readings go to that extreme.

6.5 We are on safer ground by taking a broader historical and stylistic view of the Paris manuscript, as seen through Dovrò dunque morire. With its avoidance of most chord inversions, seventh chords (e.g. mm. 10, 20, 29)—particularly cadential formulas that introduce passing sevenths (e.g. mm. 8, 26)—and formal cuts (or simply non-inclusion) of highly ornamented passages (such as the deletion of the last phrase that appears in the Nm1602, which ornaments “morò mia vita” over a descending tetrachord), Paris offers, I think, a distinctly archaic reading of the work. It remains more within its Dorian parameters and is closer in overall style of rhythm and accompaniment to the texted intabulations that form part of the important background to Florentine monody.

6.6 Externally, Paris resembles other Florentine manuscript sources containing realized accompaniments, and the variants I have described above are similar to those described by Hill, Carter, Porter, Maze, and others. The ancestry of the Paris manuscript, however, places these changes close to court, as we can see from its companion status with Naples, a source with strong Medici connections. On a larger contextual level, Paris once again urges us to consider how Caccini’s works not only began but remained as a flexible, individual, and even somewhat improvisatory practice that was sustained outside the printed tradition in the florilegia of amateurs, teachers, and young players. These versions unsettle the traditional historical foundations that have supported Caccini’s print as the crucial turning point in early seventeenth-century music, and argue instead for the continued integration of this large manuscript tradition into our evolving histories of the age.



Florence, Conservatorio, MS Barbera

Bologna Q 140 Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, MS Q 140
Bottegari Modena, Biblioteca Estense, MS C 311
Brussels 704 Brussels, Bibliothèque du Conservatoire Royal de musique, Codex 704
Brussels 16.663 Brussels, Bibliothèque du Conservatoire Royal de musique, MS Littera S. No. 16.663
Cavalcanti Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, MS II 275 D
Florence 30 Biblioteca Nazionale, Magliabechi XIX, 30
Florence 66 Biblioteca Nazionale, Magliabechi XIX, 66
Florence 114 Biblioteca Nazionale, Magliabechi XIX, 114
Florence 115 Biblioteca Nazionale, Magliabechi XIX, 115
Florence 168 Biblioteca Nazionale, Magliabechi XIX, 168
Haslemere Haslemere, Dolmetsch Library, MS II.B.1
Naples Naples, Conservatorio di Musica “San Pietro a Majella,” MS 7664
Nm1602 Giulio Caccini, Le Nuove musiche (Florence, 1602)
Nm1614 Giulio Caccini, Le Nuove musiche e nuova maniera di scriverle (Florence, 1614)
Nuremberg 3 Nuremberg, Bibliothek des Germanischen National-Museums, MS 33.748/M.271 [3]
Paris Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Vm7 135.305
Paris 28 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Rés. Vmd. 28
Tenbury Tenbury, St. Michael’s College, MS 1018 (on deposit in Oxford, Bodleian Library)

Return to Table 1


* Victor Coelho (coelho@ucalgary.ca) is Professor of Music at the University of Calgary and a fellow of Villa I Tatti, the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence. His publications include The Manuscript Sources of Seventeenth-Century Italian Lute Music (New York, 1995), Performance on Lute, Guitar, and Vihuela (Cambridge, 1997), Music and Science in the Age of Galileo (Dordrecht, 1992), and The Cambridge Companion to the Guitar (New York, 2002), in addition to many articles on late-sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Italian music. He is the 2000 recipient of the Noah Greenberg Award given by the American Musicological Society for his reconstruction of the music for the 1608 Medici wedding, which he has recorded with the Complesso Barocco, and has performed as a lutenist throughout North America and Europe.

1.. Oliver Strunk (ed.), Source Readings in Music History (New York: W. W. Norton, 1950), 370.

2. Manfred Bukofzer, Music in the Baroque Era (New York: W. W. Norton, 1947), 29.

3. Donald Jay Grout, A History of Western Music, 2nd ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1960), 278.

4. The following studies have been crucial in establishing a more systematic history for the development of Florentine monody and Le nuove musiche in particular: Claude Palisca, The Florentine Camerata: Documentary Studies and Translations (New Haven: Yale University Press,1989); Palisca, “Vincenzo Galilei and Some Links Between Pseudo-Monody and Monody,” The Musical Quarterly 46 (1960): 344–60; Howard Mayer Brown, “The Geography of Florentine Monody: Caccini at Home and Abroad,” Early Music 9 (1981): 147–68; John Hill, “Realized Continuo Accompaniments from Florence ca. 1600,” Early Music 11 (1983): 194–208; and Tim Carter, “On the Composition and Performance of Caccini’s Le nuove musiche (1602),” Early Music 12 (1984): 208–17.

5. Tim Carter, Music in Late Renaissance & Early Baroque Italy (Portland, Oreg.: Amadeus Press, 1992), 191.

6. Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca, A History of Western Music, 4th ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1988), 360–61. See also Howard Mayer Brown, “Vincenzo Galilei in Rome: His First Book of Lute Music (1563) and its Cultural Context,” in Music and Science in the Age of Galileo, ed. Victor Coelho (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992), 153–75.

7. John Walter Hill, Roman Monody, Cantata, and Opera from the Circles around Cardinal Montalto, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 1:57–120.

8. The preface is translated by H. Wiley Hitchcock in Giulio Caccini, Le nuove musiche, ed. H. Wiley Hitchcock. Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque 9 (Madison, Wis.: A-R Editions, 1970); see also Carter, “On the Composition and Performance.”

9. The topic of how Medici patronage was crucial to the publication and subsequent validation of Caccini’s music has not been sufficiently explored, though it is alluded to in the article on Caccini in The New Grove Dictionary of Music, 2nd ed. (London: Macmillan, 2001) by William Porter and Tim Carter. The relationship is similar to Galileo’s systematic “courting” of Medici patronage in order to legitimize his own scientific conclusions; see Mario Biagioli, Galileo Courtier: the Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1993), esp. 1–10; 103–58.

10. The Cavalcanti lute book has been the subject of several studies over the past decade, mostly to do with its large vocal repertory consisting mostly of arrangements, and works that preserve the techniques of poet-improvisers of the Renaissance: see Victor Coelho, “Raffaello Cavalcanti’s Lute Book (1590) and the Ideal of Singing and Playing,” in Le Concert des voix et des instruments à la Renaissance, ed. J.-M. Vaccaro (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1995), 423–42; see also Veronique Lafargue K., “Le laboratoire du signore Cavalcanti,” in ‘La musique de tous les passetemps le plus beau’: Hommage à Jean-Michel Vaccaro, ed. H. Vanhulst, F. Lesure & V. Coelho (Paris: Éditions Klincksieck, 1998), 47–65. Leslie Chapman Hubbell’s “Sixteenth-Century Italian Songs for Solo Voice and Lute,” 2 vols. (Ph.D. diss., Northwestern University, 1982); contains an overview of the vocal repertory and an inventory of the manuscript (pp. 461–95). A detailed study that examines Cavalcanti’s arrangements for voice and lute within the context of other Florentine lute books of the same period is in Richard Keith Falkenstein, “The Late Sixteenth-Century Repertory of Florentine Lute Song,” (Ph.D. diss., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1997): 101–52, which is best approached through the excellent article on Italian accompanimental practice by Kevin Mason, “Per cantare e sonare: Accompanying Italian Lute Song of the Late Sixteenth Century,” in Performance on Lute, Guitar, and Vihuela: Historical Performance and Modern Interpretation, ed. V. Coelho (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 72–107.

11. Many of these sources are listed in Carter, “On the Composition and Performance of Caccini’s Le nuove musiche (1602),” 208–17, and in Hill, “Realized Continuo Accompaniments from Florence,” 194–95. Other Florentine manuscripts for lute and voice not listed by Carter or Hill containing works by Caccini are Naples, Brussels 16.663 (see Victor Coelho, The Manuscript Sources of Seventeenth-Century Italian Lute Music [New York and London: Garland, 1995]), and Paris, which is the subject of this study.

12. On the conflicting attributions of the Francesco repertory in Cavalcanti, see Victor Coelho, “The Reputation of Francesco da Milano and the Ricercars in the ‘Cavalcanti Lute Book’,” Revue Belge de Musicologie 50 (1996): 49–72.

13. I am grateful to Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence and its director Walter Kaiser for granting me one-year residency in Florence as a Robert Lehman Fellow during 1997–98, during which I was able to gather information about the Cavalcanti family. Almost all of the existing documentary material is contained in the Archivio di Stato in Florence (I-Fas).

14. See Coelho, “Raffaello Cavalcanti’s Lute Book”; see also Claude Palisca, “Vincenzo Galilei’s Arrangements for Voice and Lute,” in Essays in Musicology in Honor of Dragan Plamenac on his 70th Birthday, ed. Gustave Reese & Robert J. Snow (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1969), 207–32; and Howard Mayer Brown, “Vincenzo Galilei in Rome: His First Book of Lute Music (1563) and its Cultural Context,” in Music and Science in the Age of Galileo, ed. Victor Coelho (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992), 153–75.

15. Such as (besides Cavalcanti), Paris 28 and Haslemere. For a title inventory of the vocal works in Paris 28, see Sources manuscrites en tablature, luth et théorbe (ca. 1500–ca. 1800): Catalogue déscriptif. Vol. 1: Confoederatio Helvetica (CH), France (F), ed. F-P. Goy, C. Meyer & M. Rollin (Baden-Baden: Valentin Koerner, 1991), 116–18; the editors’ dating of this manuscript to “vers 1600–1610” is at least a decade too late. On the Haslemere manuscript, see Coelho, The Manuscript Sources, 167–69, 650–53; also, Dinko Fabris, “Une extension du Manuscrit de Sienne (ca. 1590) à Haslemere (GB): hommage à Bob Spencer,” in Luths et luthistes en Occident, ed. P. Canguilhem, J. Dugot, et al (Paris: Musée de la Musique, 1999), 113–20.

16. See Lafargue K., “Le laboratoire” on Cavalcanti; on techniques of arrangement in Bottegari, see Falkenstein, “The Late Sixteenth-Century Repertory,” 153–266.

17. For a study of these formulas in Cavalcanti, see Coelho, “Raffaello Cavalcanti’s Lute Book” and Falkenstein, “The Late Sixteenth-Century Repertory,” 134–52.

18. Barbara Russano Hanning, “Images of Monody,” in ‘Con che soavita’: Studies in Italian Opera, Song, and Dance, 1580–1740, ed. I. Fenlon and T. Carter (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 1–12.

19. On the relationship between Bronzino and the Cavalcanti as patrons of art, see Elizabeth Pilliod, “Le Noli me tangere de Bronzino (1503–1572) et la décoration de la chapelle Cavalcanti de l’église Santo Spirto a Florence,” Revue du Louvre 5/6 (1991): 50–61.

20. I-Fas Raccolta Sebregondi 1446 [Cittadinario Fiorentino, Quartiere S. Croce, vol. III, 23-v] contains information about the Cavalcanti family including lists of those members who achieved status as bonomini and gonfaloniere, as well as information about the Neapolitan branch of the family. The Pucci genealogical material (I-Fas Manoscritti 595/II, Carte Pucci sc. IV, 35) contains more detailed genealogies for the late sixteenth-century Cavalcanti.

21. I-Fas Manoscritti 382 [Carte Dei, Busta 16]: Istoria / Della Famiglia de Cavalcanti / scritta da Scipione Ammirato / l’Anno 1586 [but completed in 1626]

22. I-Fas Carte Strozziane, no. 53; see Index, p. 205.

23. Raffaello’s birth and death dates can be deduced from I-Fas Fondo Manelli-Galilei-Riccardi. Archivio Cattani, Eredità Cavalcanti, filza XXVI: Registro d’Huomini e Donne Cavalcanti [arranged alphabetically]: “Raffaello fig:lo naturale di Jacopo di Raffaello Cavalcanti morto in Firenze di circa 74 anni a dì 7 Giugno 1649.”

24. I-Fas Compagni, Serie B, 35 [without foliation], “Scritta matrimoniale de Maria figlia di Alessandro Cavalcanti con Raffaello di Jacopo Cavalcanti stipulata il 20 Dicembre 1608.” These documents give details of Maria’s dowry, inherited through Alessandro (father), Lucrezia delle Valle (mother) and an aunt (Luisa). It consisted of L. 3530 and part of a country estate, the Podere di Brugnano, which came into the family through Ormanno Cavalcanti, who bequeathed it to Alessandro and Lucrezia della Valle (I-Fas Compagni, Serie B, 37).

25. I-Fas Mannelli-Galilei-Ricardi, 483, contains documents relating to the business proposed in Rome run by Lorenzo Cavalcanti along with Piero Guicciardini and Tommaso and Giovanni Cavalcanti, “[per] mercantili, cioé in Affitti, Cavovece, Appalti.” Piero Guicciardini signed the lute manuscript Nuremberg 3, one of the central sources for the music of the 1608 Medici wedding. See Victor Coelho, “Public Works and Private Contexts: Lorenzo Allegri and the Florentine Intermedi of 1608,” in Luths et luthistes en Occident, ed. P. Canguilhem, J. Dugot, et al. (Paris: Musée de la Musique, 1999), 123.

26. I-Fas Medicei del Principato 6397, Inserti IV, fol. 400 contains the materials relating to the division of the Cavalcanti consorteria (which provided dowries to orphaned girls) following the death of Senator Tommaso [di Battista di Tommaso] Cavalcanti (1558–1630). Information about the consorteria is in I-Fas Mannelli-Galilei-Ricardi 481: “Memoria di Tommaso Cavalcanti,” filza 156. Filza 159 (“Documenti relativi alla causa Cavalcanti contro la religione di S: Stefano per il recupero /di alcun effetti ceduti alla medesima …”) gives details about the lawsuit.

27. I-Fas Compagni 35 (unfoliated).

28. For Raffaello’s last testament and inventory of his estate, see I-Fas Compagni 35, Serie B, [filza 21]. His will is written in the hand of the notary; see I-Fas Notarile Moderno, Novelli, Carlo, no. 14856–14973 [per 1649].

29. The work, which also appears in Bottegari, is by Fabrizio Dentice. Thus, Fabris reads the attribution in Cavalcanti as “Cavalier Antice”; all others read it as “Antinor” or “Antinori” (see figure 1a and detail of signature in figure 1b). See also Dinko Fabris, ed., Da Napoli a Parma: itinerari di un musicista aristocratico. Opere vocali di Fabrizio Dentice 1530–ca. 1581 (Milan: Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, 1998), 77–78.

30. On the Florentine tradition of Francesco, see Victor Coelho, “Papal Tastes and Musical Genres: The Case of Francesco da Milano ‘Il Divino’ and the Clementine Aesthetic,” in The Pontificate of Clement VII: History, Politics, Culture, ed. Kenneth Gouwens and Sheryl Reiss (Aldershot: Ashgate, forthcoming).

31.. On the circulation of Arcadelt’s madrigals in Florence and the role played by the diplomat Bartolommeo Cavalcanti as one the madrigal’s earliest patrons, see Richard Agee, “Ruberto Strozzi and the Early History of the Madrigal,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 36 (1983): 1–17.

32. Tim Carter, “The Music Trade in Late Sixteenth-Century Florence,” in Atti del XIV Congresso della Società Internazionale di Musicologia, ed. A Pompilio, L. Bianconi, F. Alberto Gallo, D. Restani, 3 vols. (Torino, 1990), 1:289–94.

33. I was not aware of this source during the preparation of my book, The Manuscript Sources of Seventeenth-Century Italian Lute Music (New York: Garland, 1995).

34. For a description of the Chambure collection that entered the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (excluding mention of Paris, of course) see Musiques Anciennes: Instruments et partitions, XVIe–XVIIIe siècles (Paris: Biblothèque Nationale, 1980).

35. The copyists appear to be distributed as follows: Hand 1: ff. 1–5v, 6v, 11v–15; Hand 2: fol. 6; Hand 3: fol. 11; Hand 4: fol. 15v.

36. For a description and inventory of Naples, see Coelho, The Manuscript Sources, 107–110, 398–426.

37. Another number on the flyleaf verso of the manuscript, in a different hand, might be read as “[16]23.”

38. For an introduction to source types in seventeenth-century Italian lute manuscripts, see Coelho, The Manuscript Sources, 22–26.

39. See Coelho, “Public Works and Private Contexts,” 121–32.

40. See Coelho, The Manuscript Sources,107. On the flyleaf verso, Quartiron writes “a 4 di Agosto Comincia a imparare a / Sonare di Ms Giovanni Nanécino / 1607.”

41. For a transcription of this document, see Tim Carter, “A Florentine Wedding of 1608,” Acta Musicologica 55 (1983): 106.

42. For a facsimile of the Tenbury version, which attributes the work to Caccini, see Pietro Maria Masolo, Secondo libro dei madrigali a quattro voci (1614), ed. Lorenzo Bianconi. Musiche Rinascimentali Siciliane IV (Rome: Edizioni De Sanctis, 1973), xxi.

43. A facsimile of Rasi’s print is published in Italian Secular Song, 1606–1636, vol 5: The Eastern Po Valley, ed. Gary Tomlinson (New York: Garland, 1980). This work, like Caccini’s Deh com’ in van chiedete, also appears in a four-part arrangement in Marsolo’s Secondo libro of 1614 (see ref. 42 above).

44. I thank Tim Carter for suggesting this idea to me during the conference.

45.. Cavalcantidoes, however, contain one free chordal accompaniment that is not based on an intabulation of vocal parts in its setting of Vecchi’s Quando mirai se bella faccia d’oro (fol. 60); see Mason, “Per cantare e sonare,” 106.

46. On Florence 30, see Hill, “Realized Continuo Accompaniments” and Coelho, The Manuscript Sources, 73–75 and 267–79 (giving a thematic inventory of the entire manuscript); Florence 168 is discussed in some detail by Falkenstein, “The Late Sixteenth-Century Repertory,” 70–80. Brussels 16.663is described and inventoried in Coelho, The Manuscript Sources, 66–68, 238–45.

47. A useful checklist of the manuscript sources of Italian solo song from this period is in Susan Parisi, “Bologna Q 27 IV/V: A New Manuscript Source of Italian Monody and Canzonette,” Studi Musicali 26 (1997), 95–99, to which should be added Kremsmünster, Benediktinerstift MS L. 64 (ff. 76v–79), which contains works by Caccini, Peri, and Lambardi. Not all of the lute tablature sources containing monody are included, and Parisi’s list should therefore be supplemented with the studies by Falkenstein (“The Late Sixteenth-Century Repertory”) and Coelho (The Manuscript Sources). There also exists a large body of guitar tablatures that contain monody; see the article by James Tyler in this volume.

48. For transcriptions based on Florence 66, see Tim Carter, Jacopo Peri, 1561–1633: His Life and Works, 2 vols. (New York and London: Garland, 1989), 2:374–75; and William V. Porter, “Peri and Corsi’s Dafne: Some New Discoveries and Observations,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 18 (1965), 176.

49. See William Porter, “Rasi, Francesco” in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie, 2nd ed. (London: Macmillan, 2001).

50. Naples (fol. 83) contains a setting of Udite udite a amanti with an intabulated accompaniment for cittern. See Dinko Fabris, “Composizioni per ‘cetra’ in uno sconosciuto manoscritto per liuto del primo Seicento,” Rivista Italiana Musicologica 16 (1981): 185–206.

51. In his introduction to Marsolo’s 1614 print containing four-part arrangements of some of Caccini’s songs (see ref. 42), Lorenzo Bianconi writes that Marsolo, for example, used manuscript versions as his models rather than printed ones (xiv).

52. This work provides some information about the singer who used the Paris and Naples manuscripts. Unless this is the only piece for which a bass lute in D was used—and lutes in D were used in the 1608 Medici intermedi (see Coelho, The Manuscript Sources, 114–15)—I think it is more likely that Parisand Naples transpose the printed version down a fourth from D to A, probably to avoid the higher range of this piece, written in treble clef and climaxing at g'' in the printed version.

53. The middle two staves present a transcription of the lute accompaniment in A-tuning (first seven courses tuned a'-e'-b-g-d-A-G). The top line gives the melody taken from Nm1602, altered, where needed, to fit the accompaniment. The bottom line presents the figured bass line from Nm1602 without any pitch alteration for comparison, though it has been re-barred to fit the Parisaccompaniment, as indicated with dotted barlines, and rhythmically altered where needed to fit the accompaniment. Rhythms appearing in brackets above the top and bottom lines give the rhythmic values from Nm1602.

Musical Example

Example 1: Caccini, Dovrò dunque morire, middle staves transcribed from Paris, ff. 13v–14, outer staves from Le nuove musiche (1602).


Figure 1a: Cavalcanti, fol. 52: Madrigale del Cavalier Antinori (Empio cor)

Figure 1b: Cavalcanti, fol. 52: Madrigale del Cavalier Antinori (Empio cor), detail of signature

Figure 2: Torino, Biblioteca Nazionale, Ris. Musica. IV 43/2, cover page

Figure 3: Agnolo Bronzino (1503–72), Portrait of a Young Man with Lute (Florence, Uffizi, Inv. 1575)

Figure 4: Francesco Salviati (1510–63), Portrait of a Young Lute Player (Paris, Musée Jacquemart André, Inv. 657)

Figure 5a: Paris, fol. 7v, Oimè begl’ occhi [Caccini]

Figure 5b: Naples, fol. 14v, Oimè begl’ occhi [Caccini]

Figure 6a: Paris, fol. 12v, Da fortunati campi [Peri] from La Dafne

Figure 6b: Paris, fol. 13, Da fortunati campi [Peri] from La Dafne, additional verses

Figure 7: Caccini, Le nuove musiche (1602), Dovrò dunque morire

Figure 8a: Paris, fol. 13v, Dovrò dunque morire [Caccini], beginning

Figure 8b: Paris, fol. 14, Dovrò dunque morire [Caccini], end

Recte Vm7 137305; for further information on this manuscript see the following Communicaton [—ed.; return to text].


Fran´┐Żois-Pierre Goy: Correction and Clarification

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