The Recitative: Ancient Music And Good Singing By Galileo Galilei

The recitative is a surviving technique that musicians continue to practice, even in the twenty-first century. Its pairing with arias has also made it a popular technique in vocal and instrumental compositions. The recitative is found in various genres of music, bringing to light the text of a piece. There are several different forms of recitative such as recitativo accompognato, recitativo secco, recitativo and recitative semplice. These forms of recitative follow the same suit, but vary from setting to setting. The recitative has been a monumental development for music in the seventeenth and eighteenth century that laid a foundation for vocal and instrumental music to be expanded upon in the coming centuries. The technique behind the recitative …show more content…
Its debut in the earliest form came about in 1580 in a series of Discourses on Ancient Music and Good Singing written by Vincenzo Galilei. Galilei strived to build upon the idea of recreating the structure of dramatic storytelling. He began with a single melodic line that would act as the “narrator,” (“Recitative”). Members of the Florentine Camerata also contributed to the development of the recitative by implementing their principles of virtuosic music. The earliest composition of recitative also came from the Florentine Camerata (Ulrich 68). Composers who sought to adopt the style of recitative found it difficult to incorporate because of its strict form that the Florentine Camerata originally designed, and also would not modify. In the coming decades, the original recitative had been revised. Monteverdi was an important figure in adopting the recitative style in the Baroque period. To do so, he incorporated short, lyric melodies amidst his recitatives. Also, the bass line imitated melodic motives that appear first in the vocal line (Ulrich 69) An example of Monteverdi’s new style of recitative comes from an excerpt from Act II of his L’Orfeo (1607). Monteverdi used his previous experience as a madrigal composer to build upon Peri’s previous form of opera and the use of recitative. Orfeo’s lament entitled Tu se’ morta illustrates Orfeo’s agony and frustration through frequent rhythmic changes and ascending chromatic lines, such as in measure 110-113. Monteverdi uses the harmonic structure of the recitative to convey the rising intensity Orfeo undergoes (Burkholder/Palisca,

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