Sunday, May 3, 2015

Joan Ambrosio Dalza - Renaissance Lute music

What kind of music would be played at a renaissance court, say, of Henry VIII or Francois I?  It would be something like this. 

Joan Ambrosio Dalza was a composer in the Italian renaissance around 1500 A.D.  Almost nothing is known of his life - no birth or death dates on record.  All that's known is that he was from Milan and that he wrote songs for the Lute that were popular enough that they were collected in one of those new fangled books from Herr Gutenberg's new printing press.

In fact, we wouldn't know anything at all about Dalza if it were not for his contemporary Ottaviano Petrucci who published probably the second book of sheet music in history, and included Dalza's music in his 1508 book Intabolatura de lauto libro quarto.  It was influential enough that it spread across much of Europe and has come down to our day.

This accident of fate makes you stop and think about what great music existed in prior days.  Never written down, it survived only in the musician's head and went with them to their grave.

Back again to the Renaissance Faire where I no doubt will not hear this type of music.  The Faire isn't so much about historical accuracy as about dressing up and having fun.


libertyman said...

Good class as always.

"The Faire isn't so much about historical accuracy as about dressing up and having fun."

Just as we get our ideas about the wild west from movies, so do we get the ideas about Renaissance activities. I haven't made it to the one in Massachusetts, but i understand it is a lot of fun as well. Just saw the 1938 "The Adventures of Robin Hood" starring Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland and it was a wonderful movie.

Thanks for the music class.

Bob said...

I have a lute music channel set up on Pandora. Very relaxing stuff. Much of the modern classical guitar repertoire was originally scored for lute.