Girolamo Dalla Casa
Girolamo Dalla Casa was an Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 composer, instrumentalist, and writer of the late Renaissance
Renaissance music
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given that its defining characteristics were adopted only gradually; musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.Literally meaning...

. He was a member of the Venetian School, and was perhaps more famous and influential as a performer than as a composer.

Nothing is known about his life prior to his arrival at Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, but he was probably born at Udine
Udine is a city and comune in northeastern Italy, in the middle of Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, between the Adriatic sea and the Alps , less than 40 km from the Slovenian border. Its population was 99,439 in 2009, and that of its urban area was 175,000.- History :Udine is the historical...

 sometime before the middle of the 16th century. He was first hired by the musical establishment of St Mark's Basilica
St Mark's Basilica
The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture...

 in 1568, along with his two brothers, Giovanni and Nicolò, where they formed the first permanent instrumental ensemble. The sonorous acoustical environment of this basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

 was the center of activity of the Venetians. Giovanni Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist. He was one of the most influential musicians of his time, and represents the culmination of the style of the Venetian School, at the time of the shift from Renaissance to Baroque idioms.-Biography:Gabrieli was born in Venice...

 clearly had Dalla Casa's group in mind for much of his music, and the Dalla Casas are presumed to have played in many the elaborate polychoral compositions of the time.

Dalla Casa was a virtuoso player of the cornett, which he described as 'the most excellent of all instruments'.

The use of the Dalla Casas by Gabrieli and St. Mark's foreshadowed, and may have influenced, the development of the concertino
Concertino (group)
A concertino is the smaller group of instruments in a concerto grosso. This is opposed to the ripieno which is the larger group contrasting with the concertino....

Ripieno or tutti can refer to:*the larger of the two ensembles in the concerto grosso. This is opposed to the concertino which are the soloists.*the notes added when realizing the figured bass of a basso continuo....

style of the concerto grosso
Concerto grosso
The concerto grosso is a form of baroque music in which the musical material is passed between a small group of soloists and full orchestra...

 in the later Baroque. Being a smaller group of virtuoso instrumentalists playing in contrast to larger instrumental and vocal forces arrayed around them, and being in the center of a hugely influential stylistic movement, they functioned as an early form of concertino. Much of the music which Gabrieli and the other Venetians wrote for them survives.

Two books of madrigals
Madrigal (music)
A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition, usually a partsong, of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Traditionally, polyphonic madrigals are unaccompanied; the number of voices varies from two to eight, and most frequently from three to six....

 and one book of motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

s survive from his compositional output, which probably was not large. More important to musicology
Musicology is the scholarly study of music. The word is used in narrow, broad and intermediate senses. In the narrow sense, musicology is confined to the music history of Western culture...

, however, was his two-part 1584 treatise on ornamentation
Ornament (music)
In music, ornaments or embellishments are musical flourishes that are not necessary to carry the overall line of the melody , but serve instead to decorate or "ornament" that line. Many ornaments are performed as "fast notes" around a central note...

 (Il vero modo di diminuir), which gives clear and precise examples of ornamentation as it was practiced in singing and playing motets and madrigals at the time. From this treatise it is clear that polyphonic works were usually performed unadorned, but works in a more homophonic style, and especially grand polychoral works with frequent sectional changes and prominent cadences
Cadence (music)
In Western musical theory, a cadence is, "a melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of repose or resolution [finality or pause]." A harmonic cadence is a progression of two chords that concludes a phrase, section, or piece of music...

, were embellished with ornaments, few of which appear in the actual notated music.

Selected publications

  • Dalla Casa, Girolamo. 1584. Il vero modo di diminuir con tutte le sorti di stromenti di fiato, & corda, & di voce humana. Venice: Angelo Gardano. Facsimile reprint, Bibliotheca musica Bononsiensis, sezione II, no. 23 (Bologna: Arnaldo Forni Editore, 1970). English translation by Jesse Rosenberg in Historic Brass Society Journal 1, no. 1 (1989): 109–14.

External links

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