Music and the Myth of Arcadia in Renaissance Italy

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The idea that there was a time when men and women lived in perfect harmony with nature and with themselves, though rooted in classical antiquity, was one of the most fertile products of the Renaissance literary and artistic imagination. This book explores one specific aspect of this idea: the musical representation and stylization of the myth of Arcadia in sixteenth-century Italy. Giuseppe Gerbino outlines how Renaissance culture strove to keep this utopia alive and demonstrates how music played a fundamental role in the construction and preservation of this collective illusion. Covering a range of different musical genres, including the madrigal, music for theater, and early opera, the book overcomes traditional barriers among genres. Illustrative music examples, including previously unpublished music, serve to expand the reader's knowledge of this important repertory, and provide insights into the role of music in the preservation of cultural myths.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Giuseppe Gerbino is Associate Professor in the Department of Music, Columbia University, New York.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: music in Arcadia: an unsettled tradition; 1. The idiosyncrasies of chronology; 2. The return of the shepherd; 3. Musical remedies; 4. On the cusp between language and music; 5. Musical eclipses: theatre; 6. The boundaries of the genre; 7. Singing like shepherds, singing like peasants; 8. Ruzante's song and the rustic picturesque; 9. Re-founding pastoral theatre; 10. The (female) performance of high culture: the madrigal; 11. A pastoral society; 12. The dark side of Arcadia; 13. Marenzio's utopia of the senses; 14. Lost in Arcadia; Epilogue: pastoral, opera and the impossibility of tragedy.

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