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12 Music in the 16th and 17th Centuries

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Chapter Summary

The sacred repertoire by Franchinus Gaffurius remains the primary touchstone of musical culture for early 16th century Milan. The major turning point in the fortunes of the Sforza, the victory over the French forces at Pavia in 1525, was perhaps less a watershed than a significant blip on the proverbial radar screen when it came to the revival of musical activity in Milan. Along with La bataglia tagliana, the archival sources suggest a concerted effort to conserve the collective civic memory of the Sforza restoration. The presence of a number of well-trained gambists and violinists, along with the skill in improvising counterpoint inherent to organ playing, may have contributed to the popularity of the instrumental canzona, issued mostly in collections for four voices, among Milanese organists active in the region between 1590 and approximately 1620.

Keywords: early 16th century Milan; Franchinus Gaffurius; instrumental canzona; Milanese music; Pavia; Sforza restoration

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