Description

    Seventeenth-Century Italian Doctor
    and Music Theorist Cesare Crivellati's
    "Discources on Music"

    Cesare Crivellati. Discorsi Musicali, nelli quali Si contengono non solo cose pertinenti alla teorica, ma etiandio alla pratica; Mediante le quali si potrà con facilità pervenire all' acquisto di così honorata scientia. Raccolti da diversi buoni Autori...Viterbo: Appresso Agostino Discep[olo], 1624. First edition. Small octavo (6.125 x 3.875 inches; 155 x 100 mm.). 196, [3, "Tavola de' Capitoli"), [1, blank] pages (A-M8 N4). Title-page printed in red and black, with woodcut ecclesiastical coat of arms of Cardinal Tiberio Muti (1574-1636), Bishop of Viterbo (1611-1636), to whom the work is dedicated. At foot of title: "Con licenza de' Superiori." Text printed in italics. Decorative woodcut initials.
    Contemporary limp vellum lettered in manuscript on spine. Binding somewhat wrinkled and stained; upper corner of front cover darkened and distorted, with a few cracks (from water damage?); small hole in spine, not affecting any lettering; a few additional tiny holes in vellum and in front free endpaper; short tear to upper margin of rear free endpaper. Dampstaining throughout text, most noticeable at beginning and end; some light foxing. Short separation and crease to lower gutter of A7 (13/14); minor tears or paper flaws in lower margin of C3 (37/38), E4 (73/74), and K8 (159/160). Final two leaves (of the "Tavola de' Capitoli") adhered to one another at lower edge. Overall, still, a very good copy. Early ink ownership inscriptions on title: "Francesco de Monti Dottori in Theologia [?];" "M. Carlo;" and at foot of title: "Ad uso del R. P. Gio: Valore Graziani." Early ink annotations on verso of front free endpaper; additional very neat early ink annotations on verso of rear free endpaper; early ink underlining and annotations in the text. From the library of John Carroll Collins, with his booklabel on front pastedown.
    Eitner III, page 105. Gregory, Catalogue of Early Books on Music, page 68.



    More Information:

    Italian doctor and music theorist Cesare Crivellati (flourished 1624) "practised as a doctor in his native town. According to [Giuseppi Ottavio] Pitoni he studied music with [Girolamo] Frescobaldi, but his only certain connection with music is that in 1624 he published at Viterbo Discorsi musicali...As he admitted, his book is a compilation: it draws heavily on theorists of the past, ranging from Guido of Arezzo through Pietro Aaron to [Gioseffo] Zarlino and beyond, and it is predominantly concerned with the traditional materials of music-modes, proportions, ligatures and so on. However, not only the nature of his selections from the past but also his occasional views on the music of his own time tell the reader something of his own ideas. He was, for example [pages 60-61], enthusiastic about monodic and operatic music and believed, like so many writers, that the music of his own day was best able to move the affections. In the last of his 54 chapters he offered sensible advice to singers" (Nigel Fortune in Grove Music Online).

    "The discourses have been 'gathered from various good authors of this profession' [page 5]; Crivellati, himself a physician, cites many of these by name. Chapters 33-40 are about the modes, presenting both much traditional 8-mode learning and a discussion of the 12 modes after Zarlino (in traditional numbering)" (Frans Wiering, The Language of the Modes: Studies in the History of Polyphonic Modality (New York, 2001), page 216).



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    April, 2015
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