Aspects in early 17th-century monodies


1 [02:02] An example for polyphonic music that was originally composed in the intention of monodic performance is the solo pieces in the intermedii of 1589 presented in Florence (Cristofano Malvezzi ed., Intermedii et concerti, fatti per la commedia Rappresentata in Firenze nelle nozze… Venice: Giacomo Vincenti, 1591) [imslp].

2 [05:13] Vincenzo Ruffo, Falsi Bordoni (Venice, 1575) [imslp]. The notation using a one single note (typically a Brevis or a Longa) is most common, but there are also different ways. In Ruffo’s publication, which is one of the early examples, there is a series Semibrevis for the recitations instead of one single note.
Example from Ruffo's Falsi Bordoni, p. 1:

3 [05:46] An example for the usage of the falsobordone notation in music outside the church is Biago Marini’s Madrigaletti from 1635. Here are pp. 32-33:

4 [07:30] For more information about the falsobordone around 1600 and its relation to the new monody see John Bettley's "North Italian 'Falsobordone' and Its Relevance to the Early Stile Recitativo" (Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 103 (1976 - 1977), pp. 1-18).

5 [09:36] Excerpt from Giulio Caccini's "Movetevi à pietà" (Le Nuove Musiche, 1602): a) original setting, b) reconstruction of a four part contrapuntal framework [note: this is not a basso continuo realization].

6 [09:51] This jumping between different parts is a bit reminiscent of the alla bastarda Renaissance tradition, where a polyphonic piece was performed with only one instrument which jumped between the different parts.

7 [11:07] For sources of the accento see Bruce Dickey’s “Ornamentation in Early Seventeenth-Century Italian Music” in A Performer's Guide to Seventeenth-Century Music, Ed. Stewart Carter, Indiana University Press, 2012, pp. 293-316.

[11:20] The generic examples of the accento [see asterisks]; without and with text syllables:
9 [11:34] The interval of a fourth, or an augmented fourth for that matter, might be used as a passing note. But in the case of the accento it is not the case, as there is a leap from the dissonance.

10 [12:34] The generic example of the anticipation notes:

11 [13:36] From the song “Three little birds” by Bob Marley [Youtube]. The notes under the dashed brackets becoming consonant only after three bars, when reaching the F major harmony:

12 [16:00] See our episode about cadences.