Festa Musicologica: Essays in Honor of George J. Buelow

By Thomas J. Mathiesen; Benito V. Rivera | Go to book overview

Blake McDowell Wilson


UT ORATORIA MUSICA IN THE WRITINGS OF RENAISSANCE MUSIC THEORISTS

As George Buelow has so correctly and eloquently argued, the principles of classical rhetoric and oratory permeate the musical culture of the Baroque more than any other era. Indeed, the establishment of music as an ars dicendi appears to largely define and drive the discussions and practical developments in music around 1600, from the question of the primacy of text in the Monteverdi-Artusi controversy to the most obvious musical manifestation of a stilus oratoricus in the advent of recitative style. Beginning with Joachim Burmeister Musica poetica of 1606, music theorists did not shrink from systematically applying the considerable technical arsenal of rhetorical figures to musical analysis and composition, and Burmeister's treatise anticipates an enduring tradition of Baroque Figurenlehre.1 But as

____________________
Blake Wilson received his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1987 and is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Music and Merchants: The Laudesi Confraternities of Republican Florence ( 1992) and several articles on early Italian musical culture.
1
(Rostock: Stephanus Myliander, 1606; reprint, ed. Martin Ruhnke, in Documenta musicologica, 1/10, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1955). A new English translation is available: Joachim Burmeister, Musical Poetics, trans. with introduction and notes by Benito V. Rivera, Music Theory Translation Series ( New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1993).

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