(b Västerås, 27 Nov 1734; d Fredriksberg, 24 Feb 1798). Swedish music historian. A successful businessman and genealogist as well as one of the most significant Swedish topographers, he made an important collection of manuscripts (54 volumes) on topography, genealogy and music. His main musical contribution was the treatise Historisk afhandling om musik och instrumenter särdeles om orgwerks inrättningen i allmänhet, jemte kort beskrifning öfwer orgwerken i Swerige (Västerås, 1773/R1969, with introduction by T. Lindgren). This contains a general history of music (especially Swedish) as well as overviews of church music and organ building in Sweden; the most important section is the description of the organs, setting out the dispositions and history of every organ in Sweden and Finland at that time. He began collecting information in 1763 and was advised by both clergy and composers such as Henrik Philip Johnsen.
M. Boheman: ‘Abraham Abrahamsson Hülphers: en minnesteckning’, Svenska turistföreningens årsskrift (1898), 239–58
T. Norlind: ‘Abraham Abrahamsson Hülphers och frihetstidens musikliv’, STMf, xix (1937), 16–64
A. Aulin: ‘Sven Hof som Hülphers' musikaliske bidragsgivare’, STMf, xxx (1948), 114–24
L. Jonsson and A. Johnson: Musiken i Sverige, ii: Frihetstid och Gustaviansk tid, 1720–1810 (Stockholm, 1993)
THORILD LINDGREN/BERTIL H. VAN BOER
German 17th-century composer. He contributed to a collection edited by Johann Christoph Arnschwanger.
An obsolete German term for the Xylophone.
A term introduced in the 19th century that refers to the activity of scholars in the studia humanitatis of grammar, rhetoric, poetics, history and moral philosophy. At its core, humanism is the study of the linguistic and rhetorical traditions of classical antiquity. Though used in a variety of contexts humanism is particularly identified with the Renaissance and is considered here chiefly within the limits of that period (1350–1600).
2. The medieval background.
3. Humanist musical thought in the Renaissance.
4. Music as humanist art.
5. Humanism and musical composition.
Petrarch (d 1374) is traditionally thought of as the first important humanist, even though he had no great scholarly pretensions and was preceded in proto-humanist activity as early as the mid-13th century by Italian, particularly Paduan, scholars. By the early 15th century a number of humanist scholars were active in Florence and elsewhere. From Italy the movement spread northwards, first to Germany, through the activity of German students who flocked to Italian universities during the 15th century. In 1456 Peter Luder was appointed at Heidelberg to read ‘studia humanitatis, that is, books of poets, orators and historians’. In time all European culture was deeply affected by humanist education in literature, the visual arts, aesthetic theory, politics and religious thought.
Music, not central to the studia humanitatis (and not part of the medieval Trivium from which they were partly derived), had no tangible link to the musical practice of antiquity. Humanistic concerns nonetheless played a role in the development of music theory, aesthetics, composition and performance in the Renaissance. Classical writings about music, chiefly from Hellenistic Greece and late imperial Rome, survived in some number and were eagerly studied, valued in their own right and applied whenever possible to modern musical theory and practice.
2. The medieval background.
Two aspects of ancient musical thought were of special interest to medieval scholars: the mathematical-musical science of harmonics and a stock of anecdotal literature about musical ethos, in particular the fabled powers of music to move the emotions. As part of the Quadrivium the first of these was studied in monasteries, then in cathedral schools from the Carolingian period. The main ancient authorities for medieval writers were late-antique (5th century) Latin sources, chiefly the De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii of Martianus Capella (its musical section derived from the work of Aristides Quintilianus) and the De institutione musica of Boethius (a translation and paraphrase of the Hellenistic writers Nicomachus and Ptolemy). As a compendium of the liberal arts, the work of Martianus was particularly important in the Carolingian period; Boethius, who gave a much fuller account of the scientia musicae, remained a central source throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.
Thus a humanistic strain is evident in writings on music as early as the 9th century. From the essentially Pythagorean content of Boethius medieval theorists learnt on the one hand to measure pitch differences and to classify melody by mode; on the other they imbibed principles of arithmetic proportionality that were thought to govern the universe and everything in it, and thus made the academic pursuit of music relevant to virtually every other field of study. Medieval concepts of music preserved in their own way the feature of ancient thought that viewed the science of music as dealing with general ideas and principles rather than with their application by practical musicians (see Theory, theorists).
Carolingian writers such as John Scotus Erigena, Regino of Prüm and Remy of Auxerre commented on music from a late-antique perspective, adding Macrobius (the Commentary on Cicero's Somnium Scipionis) and Chalcidius (Commentary on Plato's Timaeus) to the classical authors cited above (along with St Augustine's De musica, revered if not fully understood).
Cultural changes in the 13th century, of which the establishment of universities is both cause and symptom, include a marked turn toward encyclopedic writing in many fields, a typical summa including a section on music. Though theorists were chiefly concerned with problems, especially notational ones, of their own time, few neglected ancient lore about music. They tended to include accounts of the invention and powers of music and to make much use of Boethius. This emphasis on a musica theorica, which remained an integral part of writing about music through most of the 16th century, is found in nearly all the important theorists of the period. Walter Odington (fl 1298–1316), whose Summa de speculatione musica is characteristic, wrote on all the subjects of the Quadrivium. The fullest exposition of musica theorica of the period is the Speculum musice of Jacques de Liège (c1260 – after 1330), which contains extensive treatment of Boethian topics.
3. Humanist musical thought in the Renaissance.
Medieval cultivation of ancient musical thought and Renaissance musical humanism have much in common; ‘medieval’ traits linger in writings on music well into the 16th century, and if humanistic currents are to be seen in other fields as early as the 14th century, one is entitled to look for them in music as well. Elements that are new in the Renaissance include the discovery and study of classical sources not known before the 15th century; new emphasis on ancient accounts, often anecdotal in nature, of musical ethos, which had hitherto been less emphasized than Boethian harmonics; and a gradual penetration into musical writings of subjects of definably humanist nature such as rhetoric and poetics.
The Western discovery and dissemination of ancient musical writings began in the late 13th century with Pietro d'Abano's study of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Problems. In the early 15th century the Deipnosophistai of Athenaeus, a work full of gossip about musical topics, was brought to Italy. In 1416 the Florentine humanist Poggio Bracciolini unearthed the complete text of Quintilian's Institutione oratoria, which was to be of importance for musicians as well as rhetoricians. Vittorino da Feltre, an important Mantuan educator, possessed in 1433 a Greek manuscript containing Ptolemy's Harmonics, Pseudo-Plutarch's De musica, the work of Aristides Quintilianus and the Aristoxenian Eisagōgē of Bacchius. Other such collections were made by scholars in Florence and Venice. By the end of the 15th century those who wished to make a serious study of ancient musical thought had the materials to do so, providing they were equipped with the necessary philosophical background. Since most music theorists were practising musicians, however, few had this background. It is thus not surprising that some of the most important studies of ancient sources were made by scholars who were, so to speak, only part-time musicians, such as Lodovico Fogliano (Musica theorica, 1529), Heinrich Glarean (Dodecachordon, 1547), Ercole Bottrigari at the end of the 16th and G.B. Doni in the first half of the 17th century; or not really active musicians at all, such as the Neoplatonist scholar Marsilio Ficino (d 1499), Faber Stapulensis (Lefèvre d'Etaples; Musica, 1496) and Girolamo Mei (De modis musicis antiquorum, 1573).
Latin was the traditional language of theorists and remained so until the mid-16th century (longer in Germany). The availability of ancient Greek texts in Latin translation was therefore a necessary condition for the spread of a new brand of musical humanism. Such translations began to circulate in the late 15th century; some theorists, including Franchinus Gaffurius and Gioseffo Zarlino, commissioned translations of Ptolemy, Aristides, Aristoxenus and other Greek sources. Of great importance was the work of Ficino, whose translations and commentaries of Plato and of Neoplatonic literature were very influential, especially in the domain of musical ethos. The strong Platonic bent of much 16th-century musical humanism owes a great deal to Ficino. In the later 16th century Italian translations (of Boethius, Plutarch and Aristoxenus) appeared, extending the range of accessibility of classical literature on music.
By the end of the 15th century newly acquired knowledge of ancient musical writings was sufficiently familiar to be displayed in treatises. Giorgio Valla devoted five books to music in his immense De expetendis, et fugiendis rebus opus (1501). A mix of translation, paraphrase and rather uncritical commentary, Valla's work begins with accounts of the origin, uses and powers of music, followed by sections on musica mundana and musica humana; the science of harmonics and the tonal system of ancient music come afterwards, a pattern echoed in a number of 16th-century treatises.
Gaffurius chose this pattern for his Boethian Theoricum opus (1480), revised with expanded amounts of classical lore as Theorica musicae (1492). His De harmonia musicorum instrumentorum (published in 1518 but completed around 1500) shows command of the work of Ptolemy and Aristides but does not distinguish ancient tonal theory from modern practice nor question the Boethian tradition. The work of Fogliano, on the other hand, shows departures from Boethian doctrine. Fogliano, who read Greek and reasoned in up-to-date Aristotelian fashion, treated music as ‘sounding number’, a physical as well as mathematical phenomenon. He found that simple proportions for determining 3rds and 6ths could be located on a sounding string through the use of Euclidean geometry, and settled on a tuning identical to one of Ptolemy's, the syntonic diatonic; what is now called just intonation.
This and the numerus sonorus were taken up by Zarlino in his widely read Le istitutioni harmoniche (1558). Zarlino was determined to expound the practice as well as the theory of his art. He knew that ancient music was fundamentally different from that of his own time. Zarlino was in essence a ‘modern’; yet he cited a good deal of classical material (much more was added in his Sopplimenti musicali of 1588) and showed real concern over musical ethos. Without denying the fabled powers of ancient music, Zarlino was convinced that modern music could if not better at least equal that of antiquity in its ability to move human emotions, though he admitted that solo song might be more powerful than polyphony in doing so.
The Swiss humanist Heinrich Glarean, friend and colleague of Erasmus, had a strong interest in ancient musical thought, especially in modal theory. His 12-mode system (Dodecachordon, 1547), based on the 12 usable 5th–4th divisions of the seven octave species, was in his view closer to ancient thought than was the ecclesiastical 8-mode system (which, however, he did not clearly distinguish from Greek tonoi), and he gave classical names (the Aeolian and Ionian of Cleonides and other Greek writers) to his new A and C modes. Zarlino, who took up Glarean's scheme, realized that the modern modes were not the same as the ancient tonoi but was untroubled by this discrepancy. Practising musicians tended as writers to be ‘moderns’ and to use ancient musical writings for display or in furtherance of their own aims. Thus Vicentino's L'antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica (1555) shows less interest in how the chromatic and enharmonic genera functioned in ancient music than in how they could be employed in his own day.
Study of ancient modal theory reached a peak in the work of Girolamo Mei. His De modis musicis antiquorum, unpublished but widely circulated and of great influence, especially upon Florentines such as Vincenzo Galilei and Giovanni de' Bardi, was based on close study of Ptolemy in preference to Boethius. Mei recognized that the Greek tonoi had nothing to do with the church modes but were instead transpositions of the whole ancient scale system. His writings may be taken as illustrative of a new level of critical inquiry and philological sophistication, and represent a final break with medieval concepts about ancient musical thought.
4. Music as humanist art.
Consideration of music as a poetic art was slower to develop than the study of the science of harmonics, not only because of the traditional placement of music in the Quadrivium but because it involved treating musical compositions as works of art rather than as craftsmen's application of harmonic laws. The catalyst for thinking of music in new ways was the revived interest in Aristotle's Poetics, printed in a Latin translation by Giorgio Valla in 1498. Aristotle did not speak at length about music but he did include it, even in purely instrumental form, among the imitative arts. From this brief text came the notion, expounded by theorists and composers, that music could, by means of its latent imitative powers, move human affections, or, in modern terms, be an expressive art.
In the second half of the 16th century music was being considered by writers such as Giulio del Bene as a liberal art allied with rhetoric and poetics in affective powers. Old parallels of music with grammar were revived and expanded, notably by the Venetian Giovanni del Lago (Breve introduttione di musica misurata, 1540). The sound of language as well as its structure could influence music; thus the theories of Pietro Bembo (Prose della volgar lingua, 1525) were important not only for students of Petrarch and writers of Petrarchistic verse but for madrigalists, beginning with Willaert and his Venetian circle in about 1540. Musical composition was coming to be considered as not merely allied with grammar and rhetoric in the studia humanitatis but as a poetic art in itself. So Adrianus Petit Coclico could describe the newest composers as ‘musici poetici’ (Compendium musices, 1552), and Nikolaus Listenius in a popular school text could refer to the art of composition as ‘musica poetica’, a process resulting in an ‘opus perfectum et absolutum’ (Musica, 1537).
5. Humanism and musical composition.
Developments in the 14th-century motet might be identified with a kind of ‘quadrivial’ humanism. Beginning with the motets of the Roman de Fauvel (F-Pn fr.146) one finds a new textural and musical complexity. Some of the texts, by Philippe de Vitry and others, are full of classical allusions even if not written in a style later humanists would have countenanced. The music is organized according to principles that have in modern times been labelled isorhythmic; relationships of a Pythagorean nature abound in it. Whether one chooses to see this genre as medieval construct or as proto-humanist essay, these motets follow laws of the scientia musicae – as does the developing edifice of mensural notation. It is worth remembering that Petrarch regarded Vitry as a fine poet, perhaps as creator of the ‘musique naturelle’ (poetry) and ‘artificielle’ (music in our sense) by which Deschamps characterized the art of Machaut and his younger contemporaries. The state or ceremonial motet remained an important genre for poets and composers through the 15th and 16th centuries. Style, literary and musical, changed profoundly during this long period; but it seems useful to regard the whole genre as humanistic in intent and character.
During the 15th century music was cultivated in the curricula of Italian humanist schools run by Vittorino da Feltre and others. This seems to have included performance as well as Boethian study; but performance of what? We know only that it was music of a kind that Plato would have judged healthful and manly; perhaps it was something like monophonic lauda tunes supplied with classical texts, a sort of music that Ficino might have used to clothe his Orphic hymns. The flexible arie sung by poet-improvisors such as the Venetian Leonardo Giustiniani could have been used to perform classical and humanistic verse. Through the later 15th century runs a current of anecdotal information about poet-singers who excelled in their art, a kind of music-making that fitted well with ancient accounts of solo performance. In the achievements of singer-poet-instrumentalists such as Pietrobono of Ferrara the humanistically minded could see the spirit – they neither knew nor cared for the letter – of ancient music reborn, just as they could in the (lost) music for Poliziano's Orfeo (1480), which must have included solo song as well as simply-declaimed choruses. The slow but steady course of accommodation between ‘abstract’ counterpoint and text-dominated song, the central feature of humanist music, had begun.
The teaching of music as part of a humanist education, begun in Italy, was cultivated with great assiduousness in Germany, where a school curriculum on humanist lines began in the later 15th century and was codified by Erasmus and German humanists such as Melanchthon. The rhetorician Conrad Celtes (1459–1508) began after a youthful visit to Italy a pedagogical career in Ingolstadt and Vienna. In order to teach the quantitative aspects of classical Latin verse Celtes had block-chord settings of Horatian odes made by his pupil Petrus Tritonius for boys to sing. Thus began (1507) a tradition that continued in German schools for generations. The musical importance of German odes, even in the more sophisticated arrangements made by Senfl (1534) is not great; but if humanism in music may be identified with primacy of text, they represent a significant penetration of classicizing ideas into musical education (see Ode (ii), §2).
Another contribution to musical humanism made by German teachers is the adaptation of Quintilian-inspired rhetorical principles to discussion of music. Definition of musical ideas as rhetorical figures, along with analogies of compositions as orations, was brought to fruition in the work of Joachim Burmeister (Musica autoschediastikē, 1601). Rhetorical theory applied to music was to remain an important element in German pedagogy for several centuries.
Ecclesiastical Latin and vernacular languages could be treated as if they had quantitative values by setting accented syllables with longer notes; this principle came to be widely used in 16th-century polyphony. Efforts to reconceive modern languages as quantitative were made; the most determined was that of Jean-Antoine de Baïf and his Académie de Poésie et de Musique in the 1570s, who proposed adoption of long–short values for French texts and their musical settings. Such compositions could be woodenly artificial, but in the hands of a gifted composer such as Claude Le Jeune musique mesurée (setting Vers mesurés) achieved a high artistic level.
A superficial but telling aspect of humanist influence on music is seen in choices of terminology. Music publishers must have looked with envy at the printed output of classical and humanistic texts. They could not duplicate this in a literal sense, but they did their best by giving classical titles to secular (e.g. Petrucci's Odhecaton of 1501) and especially to sacred music. Masses based on pre-existing material were said to be written ‘ad imitationem’, a bow to rhetorical fashion. German printers were particularly given to ‘classicizing’ their titles. An early example is Grimm and Wirsung's Liber selectarum cantionum quas vulgo mutetas appellant (1520), which contains a letter to the reader from the humanist scholar Conrad Peutinger; Nicolaus Faber's Melodiae Prudentianae et in Virgilium magna ex parte nuper natae (1533) is a particularly flamboyant title. Writers sometimes adjusted their vocabulary in this way. The Ciceronian Latinist Paolo Cortese wrote a section on music in his De Cardinalatu (1510) in which masses and motets are renamed ‘carmina litatoria’ and ‘praecentoria’; Petrarch is said by Cortese to have found or refound the art of the auledi (solo singers) by singing his carmina ad lembum (to the lute). The whole passage is a discussion of the nature and powers of contemporary music viewed through a humanist lens.
Castiglione (Il cortegiano, 1528), generous in his defence of music against a set-piece humanist ‘attack’, gave highest place to the art of solo singing to the lute or viol. Praise of solo song during a period apparently dominated by polyphony was often linked with attack on contrapuntal music for its indifference to textual values. Using Plato's negative criticism of ‘new’ music, writers such as Jacopo Sadoleto (De liberis recte instituendis, 1533) criticized sacred polyphony for its disregard of proper attention to text accent and meaning. Even the canonic body of Gregorian chant was criticized for its faulty text-setting. Protestant chorales and psalm settings and the late 16th-century revision of Catholic chant books are phenomena linked primarily with religious reform. Yet the emphasis here on the importance of the word has its humanist side, a wish to recreate the church of early centuries when Christianity was a part of the classical world.
All or nearly all vocal music after about 1530 was affected by new attention to declamatory and expressive text-setting. This ever-increasing emphasis on text is at once near the centre of 16th-century musical thought and practice and its clearest connection with humanistic strivings. The madrigal in particular served as a kind of laboratory for ever more telling expression of text; the seconda pratica of Monteverdi is an explicit recognition of this movement as much as it is a revolutionary gesture.
For humanistically inspired musical reformers like Vincenzo Galilei this was not enough. The popularity of the solo aria and the air de cour in the late 16th century may be only in part the result of humanist influence; but the musical world was ready for full-scale experiment with monody, ancient Greek in spirit if not in language or style. Monody and simple chordal choruses appear in the intermedi performed at a Medici wedding in 1589, and choruses of impressive simplicity were supplied by Andrea Gabrieli for a performance in 1585 of Sophocles' Oedipus rex in Italian translation, given in the classically inspired Teatro Olimpico at Vicenza.
Opera has long been said to have risen from ideas spawned by the Florentine Camerata headed by Giovanni de' Bardi. This should be qualified in several respects. Though Bardi's group, which included Giulio Caccini and Vincenzo Galilei, was of great importance, it was not as tightly organized as was once assumed, nor was it the only interested party, even in Florence. Jacopo Peri, composer of Euridice (1600), worked with the poet Ottavio Rinuccini and the patron Jacopo Corsi, and a number of 16th-century scholars, including Francesco Patrizi, theorized independently about the musical nature of ancient drama.
The first operas turned for their subject matter not to Greek tragedy but to Ovidian pastoral themes. The musical styles employed include dance-song and choral writing as well as solo song, the aria and the new speech-song that Peri called ‘recitar cantando’. A variety of musical forces, including independent instrumental music, combined with humanist ideas to create something its earliest enthusiasts could hardly have imagined, a lasting genre: the opera in musica. After all the reservations and qualifications introduced by modern scholarship, this new genre stands as the greatest monument to musical humanism.
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