Vincenzo Galelei Maddy Schneider Period 2


On the exact day of April 3, 1520 in Santa Maria in Monte, the amazing composer by the name of Vincenzo Galelei was born. Santa Maria, known today as Tuscany, is a town near the popular city of Florence. As he grew into an adult, Florence is where he spent the majority of his time either, spending with his six children, or writing new pieces of music. Here he also studied the art and composition of music. In his early age he studied music simply by singing at church. He started studying very early and worked with many talented composers. However, in 1562, he started working with a patron on his music by the name of Gioseffo Zarlino. Although it does not specifically state it, I believe this was the beginning of Vincenzo taking music to a new level of seriousness. Once he started taking music very seriously, he started studying with the amazing Zarlino in Florence. This began in 1578 and lasted for around 6 year, when he started drifting to working on his own. He suddenly became very busy, definitely a multi talent. Being a father of six alone was a skill, one of his children the very famous Galileo Galilei, he also was a composer, theorist, singer, and teacher. Two of his best works were "Chiare, fresche e dolci acque, diminution for lute (after Aracdelt)" in 1563 and "Counterpoint for 2 guitars" in 1584. His works could best be described as Classicism and Naturalism. Another one, and possibly most important, of his famous talents, which made him unique and stand out from the rest, was he was a professional Lutenist. He made songs with his Lute and they became very well-known even today people can still listen to them.

The Well-Tempered Lute

The "Well-Tempered Lute" was one of his most famous works he has done. This piece is still around today. Vincenzo first created this piece in 1584. His famous talent of Lute was the center of attention in this piece. The significance lies in this instrument. The Lute is a challenging instrument where specifics are important. Left hands have to be flat on the fingerboard the whole time the piece is being performed. The other fingers create the strumming which creates the music. This creates a soothing medley of complex Lute notes. It is calming and sophisticated, a piece that could be described as a day in the park. It is quiet and it sort of sounds like a calm outside scenery. My interest is based on the Lute because, it is a very uncommon instrument nowadays and it actually makes very beautiful music, so I'm trying to say I’m interested in the sounds the lute makes and its diversity from the other instruments. This piece is most closely related to classicism because it has ellegance and piece of the classical era. It is very complicated yet simple which is the specific methods used in the Medieval times. The "Well-Tempered Lute" can be found today, in Florence Bibloteca Naziolnal, there is a concert of this song and many other of his works put on by Zak Ozmo. The whole thing can also be purchased on a CD for lovers of the Lute. For more information on the finding of this CD go to .


Article Vincenzo Galilei, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vol. London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980.

Claude Palisca: "Vincenzo Galilei", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (Accessed March 7, 2007),

The Concise Edition of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th ed. Revised by Nicolas Slonimsky. New York, Schirmer Books, 1993.

Gustave Reese, Music in the Renaissance. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1954.

Glulio Foggini, "Monument to Galileo, Galilei", Ralph Lieberman Archive (Harvard University), Fine Arts LIbrary. 1677

Robert Cummings, "Vincenzo Galilei", All Music. 2003

"Vincenzo Galilei", The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, inc. October 24, 2003

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