Music, Style and Society

  • Curtis Price
Part of the Man & Music book series (MAMU)


The supplanting of the so-called ars perfecta, the equal-voice polyphony of the late Renaissance, by the selfconsciously expressive vocal and instrumental music of the ‘second practice’, which happened about 1600, is one of the clearest watersheds in the history of Western music. This fundamental change in style does not appear to have been led significantly by the kinds of cultural, demographic or geographical forces and conditions to which this series of books is primarily devoted, but rather came from within music itself, with encouragement from its nearest sister art, poetry. Most music historians now view this great style shift as the final bloom of Italian humanism, ‘the main force for renewal in all the arts’ during the late Renaissance,1 the direct result of the search for ever more radical ways of setting expressive poetry. But whether the second practice was also a product of the Zeitgeist, the Mannerist movement in art, architecture and literature, is as debatable as the concept of Mannerism itself.


Seventeenth Century Music Drama Musical Style Instrumental Music Opera House 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    I. Fenlon, ‘Music and Society’, The Renaissance: from the 1470s to the End of the 16th Century, Man & Music (London, 1989), 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. Lossky, The Seventeenth Century, Sources in Western Civilization (London, 1967), 26.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    For a revisionist view, see S. G. Gusick, ‘Gendering Modern Music: Thoughts on the Monteverdi-Artusi Controversy’, JAMS, xlvi (1993), 1–25.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    J. W. Stoye, English Travellers Abroad 1604–1667 (London, 1952), 258.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    See S. E. Plank, ‘Monmouth in Italy: L’ambitione debellata’, MT, cxxxii (1991), 280–84.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    See L. Pike, ‘Church Music I: Before the Civil War’, The Seventeenth Century, ed. I. Spink, Blackwell History of Music in Britain, iii (Oxford, 1992), 66.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    For further discussion, see L. Bianconi, Music in the Seventeenth Century, trans. D. Bryant (Cambridge, 1987), 47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 12.
    For a detailed technical consideration of this issue, see E. Linfield, ‘Modal and Tonal Aspects in Two Compositions by Heinrich Schütz’, JRMA, cxvii (1992), 86–122.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    L. Bianconi and T. Walker, ‘Production, Consumption and Political Function of Seventeenth-Century Opera’, EMH, iv (1984), 212.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    As argued in N. Pirrotta and E. Povoledo, Music and Theatre from Poliziano to Monteverdi, trans. K. Eales (Cambridge, 1982), chap. 1.Google Scholar
  11. 19.
    See J. R. Jacob and T. Raylor, ‘Opera and Obedience: Thomas Hobbes and A Proposition for Advancement of Moralitie by Sir William Davenant’, The Seventeenth Century, vi (1991), 205–50.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Curtis Price

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations