ISSN: 1089-747X
Copyright © 1995–2012 by the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music

Volume 9, no. 1:

Claude V. Palisca*

Aria Types in the Earliest Operas


In the earliest operas, arias are defined by self-contained text forms separate from the surrounding versi sciolti. Musical settings of these text segments generally have a bass organized in regular patterns and supporting consonant harmony, except for occasional suspensions at cadences, which occur at the end of almost every line; entire sections of music may be repeated, often with different words. Verbal or melodic phrases may also be repeated or answered by parallel phrases, higher or lower, in what we call sequences. There are essentially seven types of aria in early operas, each corresponding to a type of text segment: the aria formula for the musical recitation of prologues in quatrains, strophic variations setting ottava rima, strophic variations setting terza rima, solo madrigals, the strophic canzonetta, solo verse of stanzaic choruses, and dance songs. An aria is the composer’s response to both the dramatic situation and the poet’s formal choices.

1. The Concept “Aria” in Writings from the Camerata

2. Musical Characteristics of Arias

3. Types of Aria

4. The Aria Type Based on the aria da cantar versi: Prologues

5. The Aria Type Based on the aria da cantar versi: Ottava rima

6. The Aria Type Based on the aria da cantar versi: Terza rima

7. Solo-Madrigal Type

8. Canzonetta Type

9. Solo Verses of Stanzaic Choruses

10. Dance Songs

11. Summary and Conclusions


Notated Musical Examples

Audio Example

1. The Concept “Aria” in Writings from the Camerata

1.1 Marco da Gagliano refers to arias in his preface to La Dafne (1608):

There remains only to speak (so as not to usurp the praises owed to others and, almost like a crow, adorn myself with the feathers of other birds) of the aria of the ottava, Chi da’ lacci d’Amor vive disciolto, and that which Apollo, victorious over the Python, sings, Pur giacque estinto al fine, together with that other, sung by him in the last scene, Un guardo, un guardo appena, up to Non chiami mille volte il tuo bel nome. These arie, which light up among mine like stars, are compositions by one of our principal academicians, a great protector and connoisseur of music.1

If we turn to these places in his score, we find a modified declamatory recitative style. “Aria” is also a quality that gives music individuality and animation. In Galilei’s Dialogo della musica antica, et della moderna, Piero Strozzi asks: “What has a bigger role in endowing a composition with aria—is it the slowness and rapidity or the highness and lowness of the sounds? And of these two which is most effective in reaching the listener?” Giovanni Bardi—the principal interlocutor—answers that, when they are compatible, these factors combine to produce the aria. He compares this to the way both lines and colors make the beauty or ugliness of an object evident. Just as in visual objects lines have a greater role than colors, so in sound the slow and fast have a larger part to play than the pitch contours. Lines without colors can indicate to the sight the proportion or disproportion of a body, just as the fast and slow movement of sound in an extended continuity can communicate the air of a composition to the ear. But the kinship between these two properties is so close that one without the other cannot manifest the quality of an air, as lines cannot do without colors.2

1.2 Earlier Galilei had said that “when singing in consonance the low part [la parte grave] is truly the one that gives the air to a composition.”3 What he means by “low part” is made more precise in the counterpoint treatise on the use of consonance: “The low part [la parte grave], and not the tenor, as Zarlino prefers, is that which rules and governs and gives the air to the composition” [quella che regge et governa, et quella che da l’Aria alla Cantilena].4 In Galilei’s view, then, aria is a quality conferred on a polyphonic composition by the melodic and rhythmic movement of the bass. The more individuality of rhythm and pitch contour a bass has, he implies, the more aria it bestows on the composition. On the other hand, Galilei likened arias such as the standard one for the terza rima or the romanesca, which had a narrow compass of only six notes, to those sung by the legendary Greek Olympus, which used even fewer. “The soprano of these, which is the part that principally provides the air, even when six or eight others are singing in consonance, does not extend beyond this number of notes.”5

1.3 Not all uses of the word “aria” by Bardi’s circle are so unspecific. Caccini, in Le nuove musiche, distinguishes two types of solo songs contained in the collection, arie and madrigali.6 The arie are settings of strophic poems. In some of these, the music is presented with the first strophe, and the singer is expected to sing the remaining strophes to that music, varying the rhythm and embellishing the melody appropriately. A few of these simple strophic songs, marked by dance rhythms, belong to a genre of light music later called canzonetta or scherzo. Caccini’s more serious arie follow the tradition of the arie da cantar versi, in which a single melodic formula with its harmonic background is varied by the composer in several written-out strophes.

2. Musical Characteristics of Arias

2.1 Despite Peri’s inclusive definition of aria implicit in his listing of Caccini’s contributions to the first performance of Euridice, it is Peri who can guide us to finer distinctions. In the preface to the printed score of his L’Euridice, he describes his own compromise between speech and song that came to be called recitative. He insists that the voice not “dance” to the rhythms of the bass—the motion of the bass, that is, should not be organized in any regular pattern. (Galilei would have said that it consequently has less aria.) In this style, Peri asserts, the voice roams freely over consonances and dissonances while the bass remains still or moves slowly to provide a foundation for infrequent changes of harmony. Peri’s recitative avoids constant cadences at ends of lines, often eliding them. The music responds to the rhythm, meaning, and feeling of each word and thought. The composer avoids repeating words or music. The rhythm and pace of the voice is that of speech, slowing down or speeding up, depending on the mood of the characters, their hesitancy, excitement, or calm narration and conversation. The vocal range is limited, with many monotonal passages, while the variety of note values is abundant.

2.2 These characteristics contrast with what we moderns look for in arias: a bass organized in regular patterns and consonant harmony except for occasional suspensions at cadences, which occur at the end of almost every line. The melody may capture a mood but is not much affected by the immediate words. Entire sections of music may be repeated, often with different words. Verbal or melodic phrases may also be repeated or answered by parallel phrases, higher or lower, in what we call sequences.

3. Types of Aria

3.1 My remarks so far have served to distinguish broad musical categories. Ottavio Rinuccini and Alessandro Striggio, by varying their verse forms, inspired a parallel variety of approaches to musical setting. Barbara Hanning and William Porter dealt with these categories of versification in detail more than thirty years ago, but the more general literature on early opera has not profited by their findings as much as it should have.7 I will briefly retraverse their itineraries by a different route. I propose to distinguish several types of aria observable in the five early musical pastorals.

4. The Aria Type Based on the aria da cantar versi: Prologues

4. 1 The first type is related to the aria da cantar versi. This was a standard melody for singing a particular form of strophic poetry, such as a capitolo (terza rima), canzone, ottava rima, or strambotto, and also non-strophic poetry, such as a sonnet. It is significant that Vincenzo Galilei, envisioning a monodic style that would better serve a text than the several diverse parts of a polyphonic composition, pointed to the arias for singing poetry published by Petrucci as models for a new kind of solo song. However, a composer like Peri or Caccini, who went about setting a dramatic poem, hardly needed to be reminded of this solution, because the aria for singing poetry was already at home on the Italian stage. When a prologue was sung before a play or a song was introduced during the action, it was often a stanzaic poem recited musically to a formula of this kind.

4.2 The best place to look for this type of aria is in prologues. For his prologues to Dafne and Euridice, Ottavio Rinuccini wrote seven stanzas, each consisting of four eleven-syllable lines with the rhyme scheme abba. Barbara Hanning has shown how strikingly similar is the music Ovid sings in the 1598 Dafne prologue to what Tragedy sings in Peri’s and Caccini’s versions of Euridice.8 The anonymous prologue of Dafne (example 1a)9 is not only stylistically similar to the Euridice prologues by Peri (example 1b)10 and Caccini (example 1c),11 but even some of the pitches are the same. The basic pattern for singing a line of poetry revolves around a reciting tone, until the last two or three syllables, when a cadence formula terminates on two sustained notes.

4.3 It may look as if Peri first composed the Dafne prologue and paraphrased it for Euridice; then Caccini copied Peri. But we know that Peri and Caccini were fiercely competitive and boldly proclaimed their originality. I believe that the convention of how prologues should be sung was so stoutly rigid that it left little room for variety or originality. Indeed, as independent and innovative a composer as Monteverdi diverged little from the convention, partly, of course, because Alessandro Striggio supplied him with five stanzas in the identical form of four eleven-syllable lines rhyming abba (example 2).12 But, unlike his predecessors, Monteverdi did not leave the differentiation of the sung strophes to the performers; he wrote out the variations. He departed from his antecedents also in scoring the ritornellos for five parts, although he maintained their length to a modest three to four breves.

4.4 These prologues, then, constitute one type of aria found in the earliest operas. The prologue’s strophic, closed form isolates it from the surrounding music, but it is only one of several closely linked types. The quatrains of these prologues have an obvious counterpart in earlier prologues, which had twice as many lines in a stanza, such as the ottava rima Angelo Poliziano used in his Orfeo.13 When the ottava rima was sung, the melodic formula for the first two lines was repeated (with some variation, we may assume) in the subsequent pairs of lines. This is what happens in the romanesca aria (example 3), the most famous standard tune for singing ottava rima.

5. The Aria Type Based on the aria da cantar versi: Ottava rima

5.1 We should now look at the examples of ottava rima The oldest securely dateable ottava rima aria in our circumscribed repertory is Peri’s in Dafne, “Chi da’ lacci d’amor vive disciolto” (example 4a).14 Rinuccini must have considered this venerable form ideally suited to Venus’s evasive and sententious speech in which, after bidding Cupid good hunting for his contemptuous prey, Apollo, she warns all potential victims to beware of Cupid’s arrows and not pride themselves on being able to escape. The characteristic rhyme scheme abababcc identifies it as an ottava rima. The manuscript I-Fn Magl. XIX 66 has music for the first four lines, which must be repeated or varied for the second quatrain.15 The limited pitch range, dwelling on a few notes for the recitation of a line, followed by a cadence, puts it in the category of an aria for singing poetry. The melody and harmony of the second line even closely resembles the second line of the romanesca aria. Ten years later, Gagliano’s setting of the same text, though more elaborate and melodious, still betrays its kinship to the aria for singing verses (example 4b).16 Again, the music of the first quatrain is repeated with variations and much more embellishment in the second. A cadence marks the end of each line, and a ritornello, four-breves long, follows.

5.2 Rinuccini did not include a true ottava rima in Euridice. In function and spirit, Orfeo’s soliloquy, “Funeste piaggie, ombrosi orridi campi” (“Forbidding shores, dark horrid fields”) comes close.17 It consists of three strophes of unequal length and form, mixing seven- and eleven-syllable lines. The strophes are of ten, eight, and twelve (six plus six) lines. Each strophe ends with the refrain “Lagrimate al mio pianto, Ombre d’Inferno” (“Weep at my tears, Shades of Hell”) sung each time to the same six-measure melody. The declamatory melody is broken into individual lines over a rather static harmony, avoiding cadences. I would call this a solo madrigal, with hints of aria and of recitative.

5.3 In his libretto for Orfeo, Striggio wrote an ottava rima for the scene in Hades and assigned it to a chorus of spirits: “O de gli abitator de l’ombre eterne” (“[O powerful king] of the inhabitants of eternal darkness”). The chorus addresses Plutone, recognizing the inalterable ruling that Orfeo, now free to deliver Euridice back to earth, must check his youthful impulse and not look back at her if he is not to lose her forever. The rhyme scheme—abababcc—and consistent eleven-syllable lines conform to the standard model of the ottava rima. Monteverdi gave the first quatrain to one spirit, the second to another (example 5).18 The two halves do not correspond musically, except in tonality. But both are in the style of the aria for singing poetry, with many repeated notes in a narrow pitch range and rhythm so flexible that the printer left out the barlines for the second quatrain.

6. The Aria Type Based on the aria da cantar versi: Terza rima

6.1 On the rare occasions when the terza rima occurs in these librettos, the composers respected its form and set the stanzas appropriately. It has especially great effect in Gagliano’s Dafne and Monteverdi’s Orfeo. In Dafne, Apollo, having witnessed his beloved’s metamorphosis into a laurel tree, accompanies himself on the lyre as he sings a tribute to this dear plant, praying that it be honored and preserved, safe from flame and frost: “Non curi la mia pianta o fiamma o gelo.” Rinuccini’s allusion to the lyre naturally inclined composers to personify Apollo as a cantastorie singing an aria to his lira da braccio, the way he is represented in sixteenth-century images. The setting from the 1598 version attributed to Jacopo Corsi in B-Bc MS 704 (anonymous in the Florence MS) provides music for three lines, with the fourth line of the final stanza probably sung to the third musical phrase (example 6a).19 The first two phrases of music consist of repeated pitches followed by cadential formulas. Both the melody and the bass of the last phrase move more actively and conclusively to a close on the opening tonality.

6.2 Gagliano’s setting of the same stanzas (example 6b)20 is much more elaborate without departing from the convention of the aria for terza rima. The simple formulaic line of the first stanza is varied in the second and third, with evocative words like “fiamma,” gelo,” “cielo,” “sommi Regi,” “ghirlande,” and “cantando,” receiving long individualized runs. Three instrumental chords separate the strophes. Gagliano composes new music for the fourth line of the last stanza. Rinuccini reserves the terza rima for Orfeo’s joyous speech, after he regains Euridice, just before we see and hear her again: “Gioite al canto mio selve frondose” (“Rejoice to my song, leafy woods”). There are only two strophes and the added line at the end. Both Peri and Caccini write strophic variations, Peri (example 7a) in triple time, Caccini (example 7b) in duple.21 While Caccini supplies a new melody for the extra fourth line at the end, as was the common practice, Peri repeats the melody and harmony of the third line.

6.3 The most remarkable terza-rima setting is Monteverdi’s “Possente spirto e formidabil nume” (“Powerful spirit and formidable deity”), in which Orfeo begs Caronte to ferry him to the underworld. This is not a moment for recitative. As with Apollo in Dafne, Rinuccini empowers the singer and his lyre to plead eloquently with florid song. The terza rima is doubly appropriate here. It was Dante’s verse form in the Divine Comedy, from which Rinuccini has just quoted the famous line inscribed on the gate to Hades, forewarning new arrivals: “Lasciate ogni speranza o voi ch’entrate” (“Leave behind every hope, you who enter,” Inferno, Canto 3:9). With these words the character Speranza (Hope) abandons Orfeo to the forces of darkness. The terza rima or capitolo is appropriate also because it was normally sung to a standard aria, analogous to the kitharodic nomos that Orfeo would have performed in ancient Greece. Rather than adopt one of the standard arie, Monteverdi composed a new one in an archaic style at least a century old.

6.4 The occasion demanded that the singer demonstrate sovereign virtuosity and persuasion. Monteverdi’s suggested embellishments, judiciously applied to words like “formidabile,” “nume,” “aer,” or “paradiso,” are in keeping with what a cantastorie would have done, if he were vocally capable. Each strophe, as was traditional, varies the aria differently. Between lines the composer inserts short interludes for violins, cornetti, and double harp, over a bass, simulating the flourishes a kitharist might have fingered and strummed. Between strophes Monteverdi interpolated three or four breves of instrumental music, as did his predecessors when improvising on standard airs. Monteverdi leaves the aria unembellished only in the sixth strophe (example 8a).22

6.5 For this last stanza Orfeo sings unadorned Monteverdi’s aria di terza rima. Or at least the composer hoped, by not suggesting any embellishments, to temper the singer’s inclination to improvise them in this final prayer addressed to Caronte, in which Orfeo solemnly promises to arm his fingers solely with sweet strings, “sol di corde soavi armo le dita.” This version, shorn of ornament, reveals the formulaic nature of the tune for singing poetry.

7. Solo-Madrigal Type

7.1 The previous stanza, the fifth, however, demanded different treatment, because it addressed not Caronte, but Euridice’s eyes:

O de le luci mie luci serene;
S’un vostro sguardo può tornarmi in vita, Ahi, chi nega il conforto a le mie pene?

O, if the serene light of your eyes
could return me to life,
pray, who denies comfort to my anguish?

Monteverdi etches these lines in relief by turning to a different style (example 8b).23 Here is how one eminent critic of opera interprets the passage: “Orpheus forgets himself abruptly and delivers the fifth tercet as a free and (in context) doubly piercing recitative.” 24 But it is not recitative; it is a brief solo madrigal in the style of Caccini’s, even maintaining the convention of repeating the last line of music.

8. Canzonetta Type

8.1 The tuneful, rhythmically consistent light music in the early operas, whether strophic or not, should also, in my opinion, be included in the expanded category of aria as I tend to define it. Some of these songs resemble those labeled canzonette in sixteenth-century publications. They often have the versification of serious poetry, such as eleven syllable lines, mixed or not with others of seven syllables.

8.2 Tirsi’s song, “Nel puro ardor della piť bella stella” (“In the pure flame of the brightest star”) in Euridice is a strophic example. Caccini sets it without ritornelli (example 9a), while Peri frames it with the longest piece of instrumental music in the work (for a “triflauto”), eight measures in compound triple time. The song itself is in duple (example 9b, audio 1).25

9. Solo Verses of Stanzaic Choruses

9.1 We find such verses set also to music of greater gravity, particularly in solo stanzas of strophic choruses. For example in Rinuccini’s chorus, “Cruda morte,” (“Cruel death”) both Peri and Caccini assign alternate strophes to soloists: nymphs or shepherds.26 Rinuccini may have consciously modeled this on the kommos of the ancient tragedy, in which the chorus joined one of the characters in grieving over a loved one’s death. Caccini’s setting (example 10a) is more stately, Peri’s (example 10b) dance-like. The counterpart in Monteverdi’s Orfeo is the succession of duets by shepherds that begins “Chi ne consola ahi lassi?”27 which has the refrain-chorus “Ahi caso acerbo.”

9.2 Similarly, in the fourth act of Orfeo, after Plutone gives the hero permission to lead Euridice back to earth, in “Qual honor di te sia degno” (May you, [my lyre], be worthy of the honor”), Striggio adapted the versification given to the immediately preceding Chorus of Spirits with the syllable-pattern 8-7-7-11. He reserved three quatrains for Orfeo, which Monteverdi set as a strophic variation over a walking-bass ostinato, with two-measure ritornellos by two violins to frame the strophes. Orfeo sings the jaunty melody triumphantly boasting of his lyre’s power to resurrect his bride (example 11).28

10. Dance Songs

10.1 Dance rhythms are more abundant in Caccini’s and Peri’s choruses than in solo numbers. For example, in the eight-syllable lines of “Se de’ boschi i verdi onori” (example 12a),29 Peri gave the five voices a hemiola rhythm characteristic of many frottole and of such songs as Caccini’s eighth aria, “Odi, Euterpe,” in Le nuove musiche (example 12b).30

10.2 Monteverdi assigned a similar triple hemiola rhythm to Orfeo’s song “Ecco pur ch’a voi ritorno” (example 13),31 which he notated in C—a single stanza of four eight-syllable lines. Orfeo’s strophic reminiscence in Monteverdi’s “Vi ricorda o boschi ombrosi” (“Do you remember, o shady woods [my long and bitter anguish]”) has the same poetic form in four musically identical strophes with hemiola rhythm (example 14).32 The five-part ritornelli blow this up to a major production number that may well have been danced.

11. Summary and Conclusions

11.1 An aria is the composer’s response to both the dramatic situation and the poet’s formal choices. The poet in creating the drama often sets up conditions that motivate aria composition, primarily by a change of versification. The composer can choose to pick up the poet’s cue. More often than not, the poetic form suggests the musical form and genre. The dynamics of the drama that drives the poet to change verse forms also stimulates a composer’s choice of an aria type. The result may be a manneristic mixture of styles, some old, some new. The oldest is the aria for singing poetry. One of its applications is the strophic prologue. Another is the setting of formulaic poetry, of which the prime example, Monteverdi’s terza rima “Possente spirto,” is the most archaic piece in Orfeo, but in the modern dress of continuo accompaniment and vocal and instrumental embellishment.

11.2 Other pieces on standard verse forms, such as ottava rima, are looser applications of the style of the modular aria. Then we have solo strophes from choruses that have the melodic character of arias but the versification more common to choruses. The solo madrigal is a contemporary genre that may be called upon in an aria situation. The madrigal-like verse of the soliloquy “Funeste piaggie” invited Peri to blend declamation with solo-madrigal style. Finally we have canzonets and dance songs. The eclecticism observed in these choices is itself a precious legacy that the earliest musical pastorals passed down to that most composite and eclectic genre, opera.


* Claude V. Palisca (1921–2001) studied music at Queens College, New York (BA 1943); musicology with Kinkeldey at Harvard University (MA 1948), where he took the doctorate in 1954 with a dissertation on the origins of Baroque music in sixteenth-century theory and polemics; and composition with Piston, Rathaus and Randall Thompson. After teaching at the University of Illinois (1953–59), he joined the faculty of Yale University, where he was appointed professor of music history (1964) and chairman of the music department (1969–75, 1992); he was named Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music in 1980 and retired in 1992. He also held appointments as visiting lecturer at the universities of California at Berkeley, Princeton, Michigan, Western Australia, Zagreb, Granada and Barcelona.

Palisca was one of the leading scholars of his generation, admired for his searching work in his own subject areas and for his breadth of knowledge. His main interests were late Renaissance and Baroque music and the history of music theory. His monograph on Baroque music (1968) emphasizes stylistic development; his discussion of the music is supported with citations from writers of the period and shows how Baroque practices grew from those of the Renaissance. As co-translator of Zarlino’s Istitutioni harmoniche, he was praised for an accurate and idiomatic text. His other writings included a lucid explanation of the theoretical basis of the Artusi-Monteverdi dispute and a discussion of the relationship between seventeenth-century scientific empiricism and contemporary developments in harmonic theory and musical temperament.

Professor Palisca also pursued an interest in musicology as a discipline and its relation to music education in the USA. His contribution to the volume Musicology (1963) traces the development of musical scholarship in America, stressing the humanistic aspects. As director of the seminar on music education, sponsored by the American Office of Education and Yale University, he was responsible for the preparation of its report; he was also director of research for the Yale Music Curriculum Project. His educational concerns included the music-education syllabus of state schools, undergraduate training for musicological research, and the direction that research might most profitably take at graduate and postgraduate levels. Palisca served as president of the AMS (1970–72) and the National Council of the Arts in Education (1967–69); as senior fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1972–73); on the council of the Renaissance Society of America (1973–74); and with the IMS as a director (1972–77) and as vice-president (1977–82).

Claude Palisca passed away on January 11, 2001. The paper published here was his last. His faithful and devoted student Barbara Russano Hanning has written a memorial A’ Lettori as part of this special issue.

1 Marco da Gagliano, “Ai Lettori,” La Dafne (Florence: Cristofano Marescotti, 1608; reprint, Bologna: Forni, 1987); transcribed by Angelo Solerti, Le origini del melodrama: Testimonianze dei contemporanei (Turin: Fratelli Bocca, 1903), 89, who notes that Alessandro Ademollo in La bell’Adriana ed altre virtuose del suo tempo alla corte di Mantova (Città di Castello: Lapi, 1888), 58, suspects this to refer to Cardinal Ferdinando Gonzaga.

2 Vincenzo Galilei, Dialogo della musica antica, et della moderna (Florence: Giorgio Marescotti, 1581), 76, trans. Claude V. Palisca (New Haven: Yale University Press, in press).

3 Galilei, Dialogo, 76.

4 Vincenzo Galilei, “Il primo libro della prattica del contrapunto intorno all’uso delle consonanze,” ed. Frieder Rempp, in Die Kontrapunkttraktate Vincenzo Galileis (Cologne: Arnold Volk, 1980), 38, and similarly 68.

5 Vincenzo Galilei, “Dubbi intorno a quanto io ho detto dell’uso dell’enharmonio con la solutione di essi,” ed. Rempp., 181–2, trans. in Claude V. Palisca, Studies in the History of Italian Music and Music Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), 352.

6 Giulio Caccini, Le nuove musiche (Florence: I Marescotti, 1601), ed. H. Wiley Hitchcock (Madison: A-R Editions, 1970).

7 One exception is Silke Leopold, “‘Quelle bazzicature poetiche, appellate ariette’: Dichtungsformen in der frühen italienischen Oper (1600–1640),” in Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 3 (1978): 101–41

8 Barbara Hanning, Of Poetry and Music’s Power: Humanism and the Creation of Opera (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1980), 171ff.

9 Peri (?), La Dafne, Prologue, “Da’ fortunati campi, ov’immortali,” ed. in William Porter, “Peri and Corsi’s Dafne: Some New Discoveries and Observations,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 18 (1965):176.

10 Jacopo Peri, Le muische sopra l’Euridice (Florence: Giorgio Marescotti, 1600 [=1601]; reprint, Bologna: Forni, 1969), 2.

11 Giulio Caccini, L’Euridice composta in musica in stile rappresentativo (Florence: Giorgio Marescotti, 1600; reprint, Bologna: Forni, 1968), 3.

12 Claudio Monteverdi, L’Orfeo, favola in musica (Venice: Ricciardo Amadino, 1609); ed. G. Francesco Malipiero in Tutte le opere di Claudio Monteverdi (Vienna: Universal, 1929), 3–8.

13 Angelo Poliziano, Le stanze, L’Orfeo, e le rime, ed. Giosuè Carducci (Florence: G. Barbèra, 1863).

14 “He who lives unfettered by the snares of love,” ed. from I-Fn Magl. XIX. 66, ff. 154r-v. The composer of the aria is identified through a letter Peri wrote to Cardinal Ferdinando Gonzaga, 23 April 1608, in Angelo Solerti, Gli albori del melodramma, 3 vols. (Milan: Sandron, 1904; reprint, Bologna: Forni, 1976) 1:88.

15 Porter, “Peri and Corsi’s Dafne,” 179.

16 Gagliano, La Dafne 1608 ed., 19–20.

17 See Peri, L’Euridice, 29–32.

18 See also Monteverdi, L’Orfeo, ed. Malipiero, 118.

19 I-Fn MS Magl. XIX, 66, ff. 128r–129r; B-Bc MS 704, fol. 52; Porter, “Peri and Corsi’s Dafne,” 181–82.

20 Gagliano, La Dafne, 49–52.

21 Peri, L’Euridice, 46–47; Caccini, L’Euridice, 47.

22 See also Monteverdi, L’Orfeo, ed. Malipiero, 99–100.

23 See also Monteverdi, L’Orfeo, ed. Malipiero, 98–99.

24 Joseph Kerman, Opera as Drama, revised ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 27.

25 Peri, L’Euridice, 11–12; Caccini, L’Euridice, 10–11.

26 Peri, L’Euridice, 19–20; Caccini, L’Euridice, 17–18.

27 See also Monteverdi, L’Orfeo, ed. Malipiero, 68.

28 See also Monteverdi, L’Orfeo, ed. Malipiero, 20–25.

29 “Even if the green glories of the woods,” Peri, L’Euridice, 26–27.

30 Caccini, Le nuove musiche, ed. Hitchcock, 133–4.

31 “Here I am coming back to you, [dear woods].” See also Monteverdi, L’Orfeo, ed. Malipiero, 41–43.

32 See also Monteverdi, L’Orfeo, ed. Malipiero, 48–55.

Notated Musical Examples

Example 1a: Anonymous (Peri ?), Dafne, 1598, prologue, first strophe

Example 1b: Peri, Euridice, prologue, first strophe

Example 1c: Caccini, Euridice, prologue, first strophe

Example 2: Monteverdi, L’Orfeo, prologue, first strophe

Example 3: Romanesca Aria

Example 4a: Peri, “Chi da’ lacci d’amor,” from Dafne, 1598

Example 4b: Marco da Gagliano, “Chi da’ lacci d’amor,” from Dafne, 1608

Example 5: Monteverdi, “O degli abitator,” from L’Orfeo

Example 6a: Jacopo Corsi, “Non curi la mia pianta,” from Dafne, 1598.

Example 6b: Marco da Gagliano, “Non curi la mia pianta,” from Dafne, 1608.

Example 7a: Peri, “Gioite al canto mio,” from Euridice.

Example 7b: Caccini, “Gioite al canto mio,” from Euridice.

Example 8a: Monteverdi, “Possente spirto,” 6th strophe: “Sol tu nobile Dio, “from L’Orfeo.

Example 8b: Monteverdi, “Possente spirto,” 5th strophe: “O de le luci mie,” from L’Orfeo.

Example 9a: Caccini, “Nel puro ardor,” from Euridice

Example 9b: Peri, “Nel puro ardor,” from Euridice

Example 10a: Caccini, “Cruda morte,” from Euridice

Example 10b: Peri, “Cruda morte,” from Euridice.

Example 11: Monteverdi, “Qual honor di te sia degno,” from L’Orfeo.

Example 12a: Peri “Se de boschi” , from Euridice.

Example 12b: Caccini, “Se de boschi” , from Euridice.

Example 13: Monteverdi, “Ecco pur ch’a voi ritorno,” from L’Orfeo.

Example 14: Monteverdi, “Vi ricorda o boschi ombrosi,” from L’Orfeo.

Audio Example

Audio 1: Jacopo Peri, “Nel puro ardor,” from Euridice (1600), scene 2

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