VOCAL TEACHERS AND SECULAR SONG
THE survey of the state of vocal art in the period of the descanters should suffice to convince us that the path to the brilliant period of the late fifteenth century, when the Italian opera swam into the ken of southern Europe, was thoroughly cleared. But if we turn our attention to the birth of opera, we find ourselves confronted with a considerable army of secular singers equipped with a brilliant technic. Whence came these artists? Whence came their art? It is now our duty to seek the answers to these questions.
The subject has been dismissed curtly in musical histories. We have been funished with generous information concerning composers and their works and their influence upon succeeding schools. But who were the masters of voice? Whom did they teach and what? Let the last inquiry have precedence. The ground has been cleared in the previous chapters. They taught