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The court of Mantua, in northern Italy, was one of the most important centers of Italian music from the late fifteenth through the early seventeenth centuries, from the rise of the first written secular music of the Italian Renaissance through the time of Claudio Monteverdi. Based on newly uncovered documents, this collection of essays focuses on the beginnings of an active musical life there under the Marchesa Isabella d'Este (1474-1539) and her husband the Marchese Francesco Gonzaga (1466-1519). It considers the various genres of music at court-vocal, instrumental, sacred and secular-their sources, the musicians at court, and the patronage of music by the ruling family. Particular emphasis is given to the frottola, the chief secular song of northern Italy, and to Isabella herself as important patron and avid performer.
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William F. Prizer is Professor of Musicology, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
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