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CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY

From Jacob Burckhardt's 2nd edition of the Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy; edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

Part Five: Society and Festivals

Music

The Authentic Greek New Testament
The Authentic Greek New Testament


» Full Contents of this Part

Part Five: Society and Festivals   » Equality of Classes   » Costumes and Fashions   » Language and Society   » Social Etiquette ||| Education of the 'Cortigiano'   » Music   » Equality of Men and Women   » Domestic Life   » Festivals

A few words on music will not be out of place in this part of our work. Musical composition down to the year 1500 was chiefly in the hands of the Flemish school, whose originality and artistic dexterity were greatly admired. Side by side with this, there nevertheless existed an Italian school, which probably stood nearer to our present taste. Half a century later came Palestrina, whose genius still works powerfully among us. We learn among other facts that he was a great innovator; but whether he or others took the decisive part in shaping the musical language of the modern world lies beyond the judgement of the unprofessional critic. Leaving on one side the history of musical composition, we shall confine ourselves to the position which music held in the social life of the day.

A fact most characteristic of the Renaissance and of Italy is the specialization of the orchestra, the search for new instruments and modes of sound, and, in close connection with this tendency, the formation of a class of 'virtuosi,' who devoted their whole attention to particular instruments or particular branches of music.

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Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy: Table of Contents

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Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
The Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * The Making of Europe

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