monody
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In music, monody refers to a solo vocal style distinguished by having a single
melodic A melody (from Greek μελῳδία, ''melōidía'', "singing, chanting"), also tune, voice or line, is a linear succession of musical tones that the listener perceives as a single entity. In its most literal sense, a melody is a combin ...
line and instrumental accompaniment. Although such music is found in various cultures throughout history, the term is specifically applied to Italian song of the early 17th century, particularly the period from about 1600 to 1640. The term is used both for the style and for individual songs (so one can speak both of monody as a whole as well as a particular monody). The term itself is a recent invention of scholars. No composer of the 17th century ever called a piece a monody. Compositions in monodic form might be called madrigals,
motet In Western classical music, a motet is mainly a vocal musical composition, of highly diverse form and style, from high medieval music to the present. The motet was one of the pre-eminent polyphonic forms of Renaissance music. According to Margare ...
s, or even
concerto A concerto (; plural ''concertos'', or ''concerti'' from the Italian plural) is, from the Late Baroque (music), late Baroque era, mostly understood as an instrumental composition, written for one or more solo (music), soloists accompanied by an or ...
s (in the earlier sense of "
concertato Concertato is a term in early Baroque music referring to either a ''genre'' or a ''style'' of music in which groups of instruments or voices share a melody, usually in alternation, and almost always over a basso continuo. The term derives from It ...
", meaning "with instruments"). In
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek '' poiesis'', "making"), also called verse, is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language − such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre The metre (Brit ...
, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death. (In the context of
ancient Greek literature Ancient Greek literature is literature Literature is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent ...
, monody, , could simply refer to lyric poetry sung by a single performer, rather than by a chorus.)


History

Musical monody, which developed out of an attempt by the
Florentine Camerata The Florentine Camerata, also known as the Camerata de' Bardi, were a group of Humanism#Renaissance humanism, humanists, musicians, poets and intellectuals in late Renaissance Florence who gathered under the patronage of Count Giovanni de' Bardi t ...
in the 1580s to restore
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Greek Dark ...
ideas of melody and declamation (probably with little historical accuracy), one solo voice sings a melodic part, usually with considerable ornamentation, over a rhythmically independent bass line. Accompanying instruments could be
lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument with a neck (music), neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavity, usually with a sound hole or opening in the body. It may be either fretted or unfretted. More specifically, the term "l ...
,
chitarrone The theorbo is a plucked string instrument of the lute family, with an extended neck and a second pegbox. Like a lute, a theorbo has a curved-back sound box (a hollow box) with a wooden top, typically with a sound hole, and a neck extending out ...
,
theorbo The theorbo is a plucked string instrument of the lute family, with an extended neck and a second pegbox. Like a lute, a theorbo has a curved-back sound box (a hollow box) with a wooden top, typically with a sound hole, and a neck extending out ...
,
harpsichord A harpsichord ( it, clavicembalo; french: clavecin; german: Cembalo; es, clavecín; pt, cravo; nl, klavecimbel; pl, klawesyn) is a musical instrument played by means of a musical keyboard, keyboard. This activates a row of levers that turn a ...
,
organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (biology), a part of an organism Musical instruments * Organ (music), a family of keyboard musical instruments characterized by sustained tone ** Electronic organ, an electronic keyboard instrument ** Hammond ...
, and even on occasion
guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is usually held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucking the strings with the dominant hand, w ...
. While some monodies were arrangements for smaller forces of the music for large ensembles which was common at the end of the 16th century, especially in the Venetian School, most monodies were composed independently. The development of monody was one of the defining characteristics of early
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a Style (visual arts), style of Baroque architecture, architecture, Baroque music, music, Baroque dance, dance, Baroque painting, painting, Baroque sculpture, sculpture, poetry, and other arts that flourished in Europe from ...
practice, as opposed to late
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
style, in which groups of voices sang independently and with a greater balance between parts. Other musical streams which came together in the monody were the madrigal and the motet, both of which developed into solo forms after 1600 and borrowed ideas from the monody. Contrasting passages in monodies could be more melodic or more declamatory: these two styles of presentation eventually developed into the
aria In music, an aria ( Italian: ; plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated pl., pl, or ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical category of number. The plural of a noun ty ...
and the
recitative Recitative (, also known by its Italian name "''recitativo''" ()) is a style of delivery (much used in operas, oratorios, and cantatas) in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms and delivery of ordinary speech. Recitative does not repeat ...
, and the overall form merged with the
cantata A cantata (; ; literally "sung", past participle feminine singular of the Italian language, Italian verb ''cantare'', "to sing") is a vocal music, vocal Musical composition, composition with an musical instrument, instrumental accompaniment, typ ...
by about 1635. The parallel development of solo song with accompaniment in
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
was called the '' air de cour'': the term monody is not normally applied to these more conservative songs, however, which retained many musical characteristics of the Renaissance ''
chanson A (, , french: chanson française, link=no, ; ) is generally any Lyrics, lyric-driven French song, though it most often refers to the secular polyphonic French songs of late medieval music, medieval and Renaissance music, Renaissance music. ...
''. An important early treatise on monody is contained in
Giulio Caccini Giulio Romolo Caccini (also Giulio Romano) (8 October 1551 – buried 10 December 1618) was an Italian composer, teacher, singer, instrumentalist and writer of the late Renaissance music, Renaissance and early Baroque music, Baroque eras. He was ...
's song collection, ''
Le nuove musiche ''Le nuove musiche'' ("The New Musics") is a collection of monody, monodies and songs for solo voice and basso continuo by the composer Giulio Caccini, published in Florence in July 1602. It is one of the earliest and most significant examples of ...
'' (Florence, 1601).


Main composers

*
Vincenzo Galilei Vincenzo Galilei (born 3 April 1520, Santa Maria a Monte, Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and ...
(1520 – 1591) *
Giulio Caccini Giulio Romolo Caccini (also Giulio Romano) (8 October 1551 – buried 10 December 1618) was an Italian composer, teacher, singer, instrumentalist and writer of the late Renaissance music, Renaissance and early Baroque music, Baroque eras. He was ...
(c. 1545 – 1618) *
Emilio de' Cavalieri Emilio de' Cavalieri (c. 155011 March 1602), or Emilio dei Cavalieri, the spellings "del" and "Cavaliere" are contemporary typographical errors, was an Italians, Italian composer, producer, organist, diplomat, choreographer and dancer at the ...
(c. 1550 – 1602) * Lucia Quinciani (b. c. 1566) *
Bartolomeo Barbarino Bartolomeo Barbarino (known as "il Pesarino") (c. 1568c. 1617 or later) was an Italian composer and singer of the early Baroque music, Baroque era. He was a virtuoso falsetto, falsettist, and one of the most enthusiastic composers of the new style ...
(c. 1568 – c. 1617) *
Jacopo Peri Jacopo Peri (20 August 156112 August 1633), known under the pseudonym Il Zazzerino, was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance music, Renaissance and Baroque music, Baroque styles, and is often called t ...
(1561 – 1633) *
Claudio Monteverdi Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (baptized 15 May 1567 – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, choirmaster and string instrument, string player. A composer of both Secular music, secular and Religious music, sacred music, and a pione ...
(1567 – 1643) * Alessandro Grandi (c. 1575 – 1630) * Giovanni Pietro Berti (d. 1638) * Sigismondo d'India (c. 1582 – 1629) * Claudio Saracini (1586 – c. 1649) *
Francesca Caccini Francesca Caccini (; 18 September 1587 – after 1641) was an Italian composer, singer, lutenist, poet, and music teacher of the early Baroque era. She was also known by the nickname "La Cecchina" , given to her by the Florentines and probably ...
(1587 – after 1641) * Benedetto Ferrari (c. 1603 – 1681)


See also

* Monodies by Mehdi Hosseini * Threnody *
Texture (music) In music, texture is how the tempo, Melody, melodic, and Harmony, harmonic materials are combined in a musical composition, determining the overall quality of the sound in a piece. The texture is often described in regard to the density, or thic ...


References and further reading

*
Nigel Fortune Nigel Cameron Fortune (5 December 1924 – 10 April 2009) was an English musicologist Musicology (from Greek μουσική ''mousikē'' 'music' and -λογια ''-logia'', 'domain of study') is the scholarly analysis and research-based stu ...
, "Monody", in ''The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians'', ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vol. London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980. * Gustave Reese, ''Music in the Renaissance''. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1954. * Manfred Bukofzer, ''Music in the Baroque Era''. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1947.


External links

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more on Monody and the Vocal Concerto {{Authority control Ancient Greek theatre Baroque music Renaissance music Musical texture Vocal music Genres of poetry