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Gesualdo, Madrigal, Italian Madrigal, Renaissance, Baroque, Mannerism, Mannerist Style


Carlo Gesualdo Prince of Venosa’s sixth and final book of Italian madrigals has puzzled scholars since its resurgence in the early twentieth century. Written during a transition between the Renaissance and Baroque periods, Gesualdo’s late madrigals present a musical style that seems to deny any attempt at precise classification with a stylistic movement. So where does Gesualdo’s astonishing style fit within its historical context? And what about his music has drawn the attention of so many scholars? By analyzing representative madrigals of the Mannerist style, a stylistic movement of the Late Renaissance, and the emerging Baroque style, one can understand the general attributes of the musical context in which Gesualdo lived. After identifying the defining characteristics of Gesualdo’s late madrigals, a comparison of Gesualdo’s style and the styles of other madrigalists of his time reveals both the conventional and radical elements of his music. Through this method, one finds that Gesualdo’s compositional style is derivative of the Mannerist movement but pushes the limits of this movement to new extremes, creating a style that would not be heard again for nearly three centuries.





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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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