Madrigal (Trecento)
The Madrigal is 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...

 musical form of the 14th century. The form flourished ca. 1300 – 1370 with a short revival near 1400. It was a composition for two (or rarely three) voices, sometimes on a pastoral subject. In its earliest development it was simple construction: Francesco da Barberino in 1300 called it a "raw and chaotic singalong".

Its origins are obscure, and debated, with one school of thought seeing it as a secular mutation of the conductus
In medieval music, conductus is a type of sacred, but non-liturgical vocal composition for one or more voices. The word derives from Latin conducere , and the conductus was most likely sung while the lectionary was carried from its place of safekeeping to the place from which it was to be read...

 of the ars antiqua
Ars antiqua
Ars antiqua, also called ars veterum or ars vetus, refers to the music of Europe of the late Middle Ages between approximately 1170 and 1310, covering the period of the Notre Dame school of polyphony and the subsequent years which saw the early development of the motet...

, and another seeing it as deriving from 13th century secular monophonic song with an improvised accompaniment. Little Italian music from the 13th century has survived, so links between medieval forms such as the conductus and troubadour
A troubadour was a composer and performer of Old Occitan lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages . Since the word "troubadour" is etymologically masculine, a female troubadour is usually called a trobairitz....

 song and the music of the trecento are largely inferential.

The earliest stage in the development of the madrigal is seen in the Rossi Codex
Rossi Codex
The Rossi Codex is a music manuscript collection of the 14th century. The manuscript is presently divided into two sections, one in the Vatican Library and another, smaller section in the Northern Italian town of Ostiglia. The codex contains 37 secular works including madrigals, cacce and,...

, a collection of music from ca. 1350 or earlier, compiled around 1370. It has been suggested that the ornamentation of the upper voices may be improvised above a skeletal structure.

In the madrigal's later stages of development its uppermost voice was often highly elaborate, with the lower voice, the tenor, much less so. The form at this time was probably a development of connoisseurs, and sung by small groups of cognoscenti; there is no evidence of its widespread popularity, unlike the madrigal of the 16th century. By the end of the 14th century it had fallen out of favor, with other forms (in particular, the 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...

 and imported French music) taking precedence, some of which were even more highly refined and ornamented.

The text of the madrigal is divided into three sections: two strophes called terzetti set to the same music and a concluding section called the ritornello
A ritornello is a recurring passage in Baroque music for orchestra or chorus. The first or final movement of a solo concerto or aria may be in "ritornello form", in which the ritornello is the opening theme, always played by tutti, which returns in whole or in part and in different keys throughout...

 usually in a different meter.

By the beginning of 15th century the term was no longer used musically. The later 16th century madrigal
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....

 is unrelated, although it often used texts written in the 14th century (for instance by 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"...


Important composers of the madrigal in 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...

  • Jacopo da Bologna
    Jacopo da Bologna
    Jacopo da Bologna was an Italian composer of the Trecento, the period sometimes known as the Italian ars nova. He was one of the first composers of this group, making him a contemporary of Gherardello da Firenze and Giovanni da Firenze...

  • Giovanni da Cascia
    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....

  • Vincenzo da Rimini
    Vincenzo da Rimini
    Vincenzo da Rimini, also Magister Dominus Abbas de Arimino, L’abate Vincençio da Imola, Frate Vincenço, was an Italian composer of the medieval era, active in the middle of the 14th century....

  • Maestro Piero
    Maestro Piero
    Maestro Piero was an Italian composer of the late medieval era. He was one of the first composers of the Trecento who is known by name, and probably one of the oldest...

  • Lorenzo da Firenze
    Lorenzo da Firenze
    Lorenzo da Firenze was an Italian composer and music teacher of the Trecento. He was closely associated with Francesco Landini in Florence, and was one of the composers of the period known as the Italian ars nova.Little is known about his life, but some details can be inferred from the music...

  • Niccolò da Perugia
    Niccolò da Perugia
    Niccolò da Perugia was an Italian composer of the Trecento, the musical period also known as the "Italian ars nova". He was a contemporary of Francesco Landini, and apparently was most active in Florence.Little is known for certain about his life; only a few biographical details are verifiable...

  • 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...

  • Donato da Cascia
    Donato da Cascia
    Donato da Cascia was an Italian composer of the Trecento. All of his surviving music is secular, and the largest single source is the Squarcialupi Codex...

  • Johannes Ciconia
    Johannes Ciconia
    Johannes Ciconia was a late medieval composer and music theorist who worked most of his adult life in Italy, particularly in the service of the Papal Chapels and at the cathedral of Padua....

    (later revivalist)
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