Jacopo da Bologna
Jacopo da Bologna was an Italian 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...

, 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...

. He was one of the first composers of this group, making him a contemporary of Gherardello da Firenze
Gherardello da Firenze
Gherardello da Firenze was an Italian composer of the Trecento...

 and Giovanni da Firenze
Giovanni da Cascia
Giovanni da Cascia, also Jovannes de Cascia, Johannes de Florentia, Maestro Giovanni da Firenze, was an Italian composer of the medieval era, active in the middle of the fourteenth century....

. He concentrated mainly on 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...

s, including both canonic
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...

 (caccia-madrigal) and non-canonic types, but also composed a single example each of a caccia, lauda
The lauda or lauda spirituale was the most important form of vernacular sacred song in Italy in the late medieval era and Renaissance. Laude remained popular into the nineteenth century....

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...

, and 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...

 (Marrocco 1954, 14–16, 27–28; Fischer and d'Agostino 2001).

His setting of Non al suo amante, written about 1350, is the only known contemporaneous setting of Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

's poetry (Petrobelli 1975; Fischer and d'Agostino 2001).

Jacopo's ideal was "suave dolce melodia" (sweet, clean melodies) (Fischer and d'Agostino 2001). His style is marked by fully texted voice parts that never cross
Voice crossing
In music, voice crossing is the intersection of melodic lines in a composition, leaving a lower voice on a higher pitch than a higher voice...

. The untexted passages which connect the textual lines in many of his madrigals are also noteworthy (Cuthbert 2006, 192).

He is well-represented in the Squarcialupi Codex
Squarcialupi Codex
The Squarcialupi Codex is an illuminated manuscript compiled in Florence, Italy in the early 15th century...

, the large collection of 14th century music long owned by the Medici
The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside,...

 family; twenty-nine compositions of his are found in that source, the principal source for music of the Italian ars nova
Ars nova
Ars nova refers to a musical style which flourished in France and the Burgundian Low Countries in the Late Middle Ages: more particularly, in the period between the preparation of the Roman de Fauvel and the death of the composer Guillaume de Machaut in 1377...

, alongside music by Francesco Landini
Francesco Landini
Francesco degli Organi, Francesco il Cieco, or Francesco da Firenze, called by later generations Francesco Landini or Landino was an Italian composer, organist, singer, poet and instrument maker...

 and others (Marrocco 1954, 6). A portrait of Jacopo is found in this manuscript, and another possible portrait is found in a north-Italian manuscript, Fulda, Landesbibliothek, Hs. D23, fol. 302 (Fischer 1973; Fischer and d'Agostino 2001). However, the identification of Jacopo as the subject of the painting in the latter source was made by a hand later than the manuscript copyist's, throwing some doubt on its reliability (Fischer 1973, 62).

In addition to his compositions, Jacopo also wrote a short theoretical treatise, Questa è l'arte del biscanto misurato (Jacopo da Bologna 1933; Marrocco 1954, 146–55), which is influenced by French notational theory (Fischer and d'Agostino 2001). He may also have been active as a poet, to judge from the autobiographical texts of the madrigals Io me sun un che, Oselleto salvazo, and Vestìse la cornachia (Fischer and d'Agostino 2001).

Selected bibliography

  • Cuthbert, Michael Scott. 2006. "Trecento Fragments and Polyphony Beyond the Codex". Ph.D. diss. Cambridge: Harvard University
  • Fischer, Kurt von. 1973. "'Portraits' von Piero, Giovanni da Firenze und Jacopo da Bologna in einer Bologneser Handschrift des 14. Jahrhunderts?" Musica Disciplina 27: 61–64.
  • Fischer, Kurt von. 1988. "Drei unbekannten Werke von Jacopo da Bologna und Bartolino da Padova?" In Miscelánea en homenaje a Monseñor Higinio Anglés. 2 vols. Edited by Miguel Querol, et al., 1:265–81 Barcelona: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1958-61. Reprinted in Studi musicali 17: 3–14.
  • Fischer, Kurt von, and Gianluca d'Agostino. 2001. "Jacopo da Bologna". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. S. Sadie and J. Tyrrell. London: Macmillan.
  • Jacopo da Bologna. 1933. L' arte del biscanto misurato secondo el Maestro Jacopo da Bologna, edited by Johannes Wolf. Regensburg: Bosse.
  • Marrocco, W. Thomas. 1954 The Music of Jacopo da Bologna. University of California Publications in Music 5. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1954. (Appendix C is an English translation of Jacopo's treatise)
  • Marrocco, W. Thomas (ed.). 1967. Italian Secular Music, by Magister Piero, Giovanni da Firenze, Jacopo da Bologna. Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century 6. Monaco: Éditions de l'Oiseau-Lyre
    Éditions de l'Oiseau-Lyre
    Éditions de l'Oiseau-Lyre is a music publishing company financed and established in Paris in 1932 by Louise Dyer , an Australian pianist and philanthropist....

  • Nádas, John. 1985. "The Transmission of Trecento Secular Polyphony: Manuscript Production and Scribal Practices in Italy at the End of the Middle Ages". Ph.D. diss. New York: New York University.
  • Petrobelli, Pierluigi. 1975. "'Un leggiadretto velo' ed altre cose petrarchesche", Rivista Italiana de Musicologia 10:32–45.
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