The Fronimo Dialogo di Vincentio Galilei Vincenzo Galilei is an instructional book on playing, composing and intabulating vocal music for the lute. While the title page bears the date , the final page confusingly bears the date Apparently, although the manuscript was completed by Galilei in the Autumn of , the official letter of privilege allowing the publication of the book was received only in December, and the printing actually took place in In addition, still in , Girolamo Scotto broke the book into two parts, selling a collection of 30 musical selections from near the end of the book and the Dialogo separately. Unlike other lute instruction manuals of the 16th century, each of the editions of Fronimo contains quite a large amount of music.

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There are significant differences between these two editions which are ignored by scholars; differences which reveal important epistemic shifts in Galilei's thinking regarding modal ordering, intabulations, tuning, counterpoint and monody in the context of Late Renaissance Humanism. The significant change in repertoires between the two editions has been discussed superficially by both Galilei and in recent publications, but there is scant discussion regarding significant changes in the important areas; approaches to modal ordering, endings and, intabulation pairings.

His theoretical and practical dialogues are both products of and examples of significant epistemological shifts in the Late Italian Renaissance that need to be understood in within these changes and the historical context. Finally, recent issues regarding modal classification analysis and intabulations that relate to Fronimo are addressed. Keywords: Galilei; humanism; lute; equal temperament; etic; emic; intabulations; Renaissance; music theory; modes; philosophy; Zarlino, Glarean.

He was and expert lutenist, teacher, composer and scientist. Furthermore, the inclusion of Ricercari abstract instrumental works in contrast to the intabulations presents a conflict of tuning systems explored by Galilei. London and New York: Routlege Classics, Chua, Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning, ed.

Necessarily, by arranging music that could potentially work under the Pythagorean system—vocal works—onto an instrument that he himself advocated as needing and practicing the equal temperament system- the lute — he was he forced to confront the essential contradiction and conflict of the two systems. His didactic dialogues Fronimo 7 and Fronimo 8 were products of various professional activities, which included teaching, performing, arranging and composition.

Nevertheless, both types of dialogues chart his development as an experimental scientist as well as a musician to various degrees. Differences between the and editions need to be revealed to establish Fronimo as important representative documents that contain references to the humanistic epistemological shift during the Late Italian Renaissance. Furthermore, these didactic dialogues 10 provide an opportunity to trace the changes in the two books. Most scholarship on the dialogues, to date, merely catalogues the changes in repertoire without offering further epistemological or ontological discussion or interpretation regarding the potential meaning s and cause s of these differences.

However, Intavolatura does reveal certain predilections. The collection contains two-dozen Madrigal intabulations and six ricercares by Francesco da Milano. Significantly these show his approach to intabulation that adheres closely to the original vocal model—or as closely as was possible on the six-course lute.

These arrangements reveal two important traits and methodologies illustrated in both Fronimos; minimal ornamentation and a desire to organize the intabulated works in cycles. The most obvious differences between the two editions of Fronimo are the choice of repertoire included and though not necessarily consequently, the choice of composers represented. Orlando Cristoforetti, trans. Hugh Ward-Perkins, vol. The collection is divided into three sections, the first of which is a set of twelve tonal collections arranged in the ascending order of semitones starting with the open tuning note of the lute and includes three representative compositions by Galilei at each pitch level; a passamezzo antico, romanesca and a saltarello.

Significantly, by presenting thirty-six representative compositions on each chromatic tone Galilei was the first musician to offer a systematic collection of works based on each note of the chromatic scale. This will be discussed in another paper. Galilei apparently had real but unexplained implicit reasons for these changes as well as the logic applied to the repertoire ordering.

In Fronimo, as in the late Renaissance things and words were the same thing. If the basic knowledge structure [savoir] of an age provides or lays out rules for the formation of objects, subject-positions, concepts, and strategies thus allowing historically valid knowledge [connaissance] the shifts in Fronimo may be seen as evidence of reacting to those changes of knowledge.

The Fronimo dialogues are both discursive and non-discursive due to the dialogue method of teaching, but they reveal and implicit development of experimental scientific method through discussion and musical example as we shall see. Fronimo is, from one perspective, discursive simply because it is presented as the written word. However, because Fronimo is a dialogue, a discussion between the two interlocutors; the teacher, Fronimo and the student, Eumatius20 various levels of reading are assumed, as the dialogue process creates several levels of discourse and objectification that engages the reader as both a silent listener, audience and performer of the musical examples.

Significantly the choice of music intabulations arrangements of other composers vocal works to be performed on the lute and choice of composers represented signifies a rupture in epistemology between the Fronimo and — a span of sixteen years — as evidenced by the sheer number of changes — over seventy. This significant discontinuity may be due to the influence of both the Dodecachordon and Le Institutioni Harmonich as both advocate the twelve-mode classification system over the eight-mode order.

Ultimately, the problem that presents itself is that of the relations between thought and culture: how is it that thought has a space in the world, that it has its origin there, and that it never ceases, in this place or that, to begin anew?

Names having direct bearing or representation of the characterizations and roles of interlocutors is common practice in the neo-Ciceronian dialogue. For further information see Cox and Judd.

Thus, the area of applied practice— essentially performance—remains the same between the two. We will address his ordering of his abstract instrumental works, the Ricercares and Fantasias and the works of other composers through intabulations later.

Historically a significant theoretical change occurred over the span of the Fronimos, the ordering of modes was radically restructured in the late Renaissance, moving from the traditional eight-mode classification to a twelve-mode classification system advocated by Glarean in the "Dodecachordon" of Heinrich Glarean systematically described and settled the difficulties theorists before him had encountered in trying to account for a repertory that was increasingly focused on both unclassified modal endings and polyphony.

Glarean established this new classification by using musical repertoire of both the church and of well-known composers whose pieces used a specific modal final. Crucially, this established an important model of using real works- as opposed to pure theory-to illustrate the true application of theory to practice-a model that would have been attractive to Galilei as an experimental scientist. Through reason, Glarean managed to align theory and practice and ensured the acceptance of a potentially disruptive thesis that supplanted the Octenary tradition by a dodecaphonic structure.

Oxford Music Online. Plato in the Republic and Laws, Aristotle in the Politics, works previously unknown except to a very few, could now be read in printed Latin translations, and they spoke eloquently of the emotional and moral or ethical effect s that could be wrought by a musician through the proper choice of mode.

Gaffurius, and those who, like Glarean, followed him, by equating the modern and the ancient modes, associating the effects of the latter with the former, thereby transferred these powers, theoretically at least, to the modern modes.

Powers, "Is Mode Real? Pietro Aron, the Octenary System and Polyphony. For Powers, Pietro Aron31 and Glarean linked coherent and original theories of modal monophonic construction with polyphonic practice, theories which were well understood due to both their wide circulation and instantiation for their theories from the polyphonic repertoire.

Crucially, Powers correctly asserts that first class theorists such Aron and Glarean were, as theorists, exceptional and correct in providing evidence of how things ought to be regarded etic in contrast with the assertions of composers who adhered to how they are or were regarded emic. In the second part of the 16th century, composers were doing it their way, using polyphonic tonal types as representations of modes, and we can deal with that analytically. In the first part of the 16th century theorists were doing it their way- theoretically.

Other lesser-known composers, wrote works demonstrating an interest in one of the current twelve mode systems. Hence, pieces were composed as a tonal type to represent in one or the other modal system. This change from the eight-mode system to the twelve-mode system is evident in the change from the edition to the version of Fronimo. Nevertheless, he presented organized sets of eight ricercare and eight fantasias in Fronimo Galilei adapts the new system without any explanation, providing no comparison to the previous edition with the eight-mode system nor explaining any defense of one system over the other, though he later praises the virtues of the twelve mode system without acknowledging that another system was used and applicable twenty years earlier.

As stated above, Galilei offers no explanation for changing the repertoire between the editions and the drastic reduction of the works of the more esteemed composers such as de Rore and Lassus of the eight mode system. Therefore this change tacitly reinforces a preferred departure from the Octenary system and an acceptance of the dodecaphonic classification. Though the change in repertoire in the edition may be dismissed as simply a new adherence to the twelve-mode system, or a desire to print different repertoire to sell more volumes overtly announces an epistemic shift.

Significantly, Galilei accepted the Renaissance practice of ordering vocal works here intabulations to endorse one practice or the other. Significantly, he also systematically arranged his own Ricercares and Fantasias to illustrate the classification system used in each volume. He was the first to describe quarter- comma meantone and the first to observe the change from linear to vertical writing. Thus the final is only a working hypothesis, not a sufficient indication of the mode.

Nevertheless, these external view of the modes are linked to a specific use. Fronimo is a handbook for lutenists, whose main use of the modes is not for strict composition, but the choice of a fitting prelude or similar piece to any given composition. The quality of the final of the prelude is then the only thing that matters. Refer to his note on p. Therefore an alternative analysis tool may prove useful. Fuller asserts that because coherence and unity tend to be associated with a regulated order that may have predictable patterns in French Polyphonic song, the examination of pitch relations are useful because there is no pre-existing chant or melody as a point of reference-a condition that also applies to most secular intabulated lute music represented in Fronimo.

And Ed. Carol Macclintock, ed. American Institute of Musicology, trans. If we are seeking to find tonal orientations emerging in individual pieces, there is a need to examine the premises to the construction of tonal structure. Galilei stresses the importance of intabulation in both editions. He is methodically strenuous and admonishes his student; Eumatius that one must be thoroughly grounded in counterpoint to produce accurate and proper intabulations. In contrast a condemnation of spurious use of intabulations to inform modern scholars on issues of performance and ficta will be us discussed in relation to condemnation of intabulations by Margaret Bent.

Neither modern notation nor tablature can provide the only, or the most correct, or even an accurate representation of what singers operating under a totally different set of constraints and options, i.

He acquired better knowledge of the modes and tuning systems of the ancients from the humanists such as Girolamo Mei and through scientific observation and experimentation. Carol Macclintock. Ultimately, his intabulations may provide important information where Bent sees none. The concept and classification of modes was debated in the Renaissance and it is still debated today.

Glareanus and Zarlino wrote extensive treatises on the reclassification of the modal system from and eight-mode order to a twelve-mode order. Controversially, Vincenzo Galilei wrote two lute instruction books, which illustrate this change without making specific reference to the reclassification in comparison to the eight-mode system, and several other composers regrouped and changed documents to fit into the older or the newer theory with varying degrees of explanation.

Musicologist, theorist and performers are, to this day, still in disagreement over the meaning and classification of the modes based on confusion as to the actual process that went into the initial processes. Argondizza, Peter. Bent, Margaret. Brown, H.

Canquilhem, Phillipe. Fronimo De Vincenzo Galilei. Paris: Minerve, Chua, Daniel K. New York: Cambridge University Press,


Fronimo (Galilei, Vincenzo)



Vincenzo Galilei: Fronimo


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