Gherardello da Firenze
Gherardello da Firenze (c. 1320-1325–1362 or 1363) was an Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

 composer of the Trecento
The Trecento refers to the 14th century in Italian cultural history.Commonly the Trecento is considered to be the beginning of the Renaissance in art history...

. He was one of the first composers of the period sometimes known as the Italian ars nova
Music of the trecento
The Trecento was a period of vigorous activity in Italy in the arts, including painting, architecture, literature, and music. The music of the Trecento paralleled the achievements in the other arts in many ways, for example, in pioneering new forms of expression, especially in secular song in the...



Gherardello was a member of a musical family, and both his brother Jacopo and his son Giovanni were also composers; however, none of their music survives. He was probably born in or near Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, and spent most of his life there.

In 1343 he appears in the records of the cathedral of Florence, Santa Reparata
Santa Reparata (Florence)
Santa Reparata is the former cathedral of Florence, Italy. Its name refers to Saint Reparata, an early virgin martyr who is the co-patron saint of Florence.- History :...

 (this was before the building of the main cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore
Santa Maria del Fiore
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral church of Florence, Italy. The Duomo, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi...

) as a clerk. Later he became a priest, and then served as chaplain of Santa Reparata from 1345 until 1351 — during the years that the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 ravaged the city.

Probably around 1351 he joined the order of the Vallombrosa
Vallombrosa is a Benedictine abbey in the comune of Reggello , c. 30 km south-east of Florence, in the Apennines, surrounded by forests of beech and firs. It was founded by Giovanni Gualberto, a Florentine noble, in 1038 and became the mother house of the Vallumbrosan Order.It was extended...

, a Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 order with an abbey about 30 km from Florence. Details of the last years of his life are lacking, and his death date is inferred from a sonnet
A sonnet is one of several forms of poetry that originate in Europe, mainly Provence and Italy. A sonnet commonly has 14 lines. The term "sonnet" derives from the Occitan word sonet and the Italian word sonetto, both meaning "little song" or "little sound"...

 written in 1362 or 1363, probably by Simone Peruzzi, mourning his death, which occurred at Florence.


Although Gherardello was renowned during his time for his sacred music, little of it has survived. A Gloria
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
"Gloria in excelsis Deo" is the title and beginning of a hymn known also as the Greater Doxology and the Angelic Hymn. The name is often abbreviated to Gloria in Excelsis or simply Gloria.It is an example of the psalmi idiotici "Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Latin for "Glory to God in the highest")...

and an Agnus Dei
Lamb of God
The title Lamb of God appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus....

, both by Gherardello, are among just a handful of mass
Mass (music)
The Mass, a form of sacred musical composition, is a choral composition that sets the invariable portions of the Eucharistic liturgy to music...

 movements by Italian composers from before 1400. The style of Gherardello's mass movements is similar to that of the madrigal
Madrigal (Trecento)
The Madrigal is an Italian musical form of the 14th century. The form flourished ca. 1300 – 1370 with a short revival near 1400. It was a composition for two voices, sometimes on a pastoral subject...

, although more restrained emotionally: they are for two voices, which sing together most of the time, with occasional passages where they sing in alternation.

Gherardello's secular music has survived in greater abundance. Ten madrigals, all for two voices; five ballata
The ballata is an Italian poetic and musical form, which was in use from the late 13th to the 15th century. It has the musical structure AbbaA, with the first and last stanzas having the same texts. It is thus most similar to the French musical 'forme fixe' virelai...

, all for a single voice; and a very famous caccia, Tosto che l'alba, which is for three voices, survive. Stylistically his music is typical of the early Trecento, with the voices usually singing the same words at the same time, except for the caccia, in which the upper two voices sing a quickly moving canon
Canon (music)
In music, a canon is a contrapuntal composition that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration . The initial melody is called the leader , while the imitative melody, which is played in a different voice, is called the follower...

, and the lowest voice sings a freely-composed part in longer notes.

Most of Gherardello's music has been preserved in the 15th century Squarcialupi Codex
Squarcialupi Codex
The Squarcialupi Codex is an illuminated manuscript compiled in Florence, Italy in the early 15th century...

, although several other manuscripts, all from Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

, contain works of his. A portrait on the pages of the Codex devoted to his music is most likely him (each composer in that illuminated manuscript
Illuminated manuscript
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations...

is pictured).
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