Sackbut Class description


From Theoretically Sober to Chromatically Sassy:

Tinctoris, Macque, Gesualdo, Trabaci, and friends

Main Topics:

FA you, it’s all about MI!

The shift from the diatonic hexachord to chromaticism

Ornamentation and improvisation according to Maffei and Ortiz

Letters on proper singing and the qualities of a perfect musician by Giovanni Camillo Maffei and

Luigi Zenobi




Grab your pizza bibs, we’re headed to Naples! This spring, after a brief fall hiatus, the Indiana Sackbut Workshop is jumping right back in with Spanish-ruled metropolis only second to Paris in size and importance on the European stage. Living up to its medieval legacy of culture created by such great writers and artists as Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Giotto, Naples prospered only further throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.


Because we are only convening once this season, we will be exploring Neapolitan music that spans nearly a century and a half: the Mellon Chansonnier (ca. 1475) and Montecassino MS 871 (1480s); then later sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century music by Giovanni de Macque, Carlo Gesualdo, Ascanio Mayone, and Giovanni Maria Trabaci.


The first half of each day will be dedicated to sackbut technique and performance practice. The first hour will consist of a warm-up session in conjunction with the ornamentation and improvisation tutors by Giovanni Camillo Maffei and Diego Ortiz. The second half of the morning will be spent on the discussion and practice of solmization, composition according to Johannes Tinctoris (Liber de arte contrapuncti, 1477), the qualities of a perfect musician according to cornettist Luigi Zenobi (ca. 1547 – after 1602), and chromaticism and just intonation. This will all be in conjunction with applied examples from the chosen repertoire listed above.


Afternoons and evenings will consist of playing sessions in mixed groups of sackbuts and double reeds. Selections from all the sources will be provided in both original and modern notation, though a strong emphasis will be placed on working from the original notation. This will allow us to see the music as our Renaissance compatriots did, and leave us faced with the same musical and theoretical decisions that they would have confronted.


We hope you can join us in this exploration and celebration of inventive composition!

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