Sixteenth-Century Studies




Greek Musical Writings, ed. Andrew Barker  (2 vols, Cambridge, 1989). See vol. 2 for Aristoxenus (pp. 119–189) and Ptolemy (pp. 270–391) (library)

Karol Berger, Theories of Chromatic and Enharmonic Music in Late 16th-Century Italy (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1980) (library) Includes sections on theorists later than Vicentino and Zarlino.

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, transl. Calvin M. Bower (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1989) (library) Pythagorean doctrine on the semitone (book 2, chapters 28–30; book 3), and the chromatic and enharmonic genera (book 4, chapters 6–13).

Richard L. Crocker, ‘Aristoxenus and Greek Mathematics’ in Aspects of Medieval and Renaissance Music: a Birthday Offering to Gustave Reese, ed. Jan La Rue (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), 96–110 (library)

Henry Kaufmann, ‘Vicentino and the Greek Genera’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 16 (1963), 325–46 (jstor)

Nicola Vicentino, Ancient Music Adapted to Modern Practice [1555], transl. Maria Rika Maniates (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1996) (library) Pages xvii–xxiii and chapter 43 of book 4 deal with the author’s debate with Vicente Lusitano; chapters 36–8 of book 3 illustrate Vicentino’s method of forming chromatic ‘scales’.

Gioseffo Zarlino, The Art of Counterpoint: Part III of Le istitutioni harmoniche, 1558, transl. Guy A. Marco & Claude V. Palisca (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1968) (library) The introductory notes by Palisca include a brief explanation of the ditoniaion and syntonic diatonic tuning systems (pp. xv–xviii); chapters 72–80 are concerned with chromaticism.


Edward E. Lowinsky, ‘Adrian Willaert’s Chromatic “Duo” Re-examined’, Tijdschrift voor Muziekwetenschap, 18 (1956), 1–36 (jstor)

————, Secret Chromatic Art in the Netherlands Motet, transl. Carl Buchman (New York: Columbia University Press, 1946) (library)

————, ‘Secret Chromatic Art Re-examined’ in Perspectives in Musicology, ed. Barry S. Brook, Edward O. D. Downes and Sherman Van Solkema (eds), (New York: Norton, 1972), 91–135 (library)

————, Tonality and Atonality in Sixteenth-Century Music (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961) (library)

————, ‘The Goddess Fortuna in Music, with a Special Study of Josquin’s Fortuna dun Gran Tempo’, The Musical Quarterly vol. 29 (1943), 45–77 (jstor)

Jaap van Benthem, ‘Fortuna in Focus: Concerning ‘Conflicting’ Progressions in Josquin’s Fortuna dun Gran Tempo’, Tijdschrift voor Muziekwetenschap, 30 (1980), 1–50 (jstor)


Henry Kaufmann, ‘A “Diatonic” and a “Chromatic” Madrigal by Giulio Fiesco’ in Aspects of Medieval and Renaissance Music: a Birthday Offering to Gustave Reese, ed. Jan La Rue (New York: Norton, 1966), 474–88 (library)

Edward E. Lowinsky, ‘Echoes of Adrian Willaert’s Chromatic “Duo” in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century Compositions’ in Studies in Musical History for Oliver Strunk, ed. Harold Powers (Princeton, 1968) (jstor)

————, Music in the Culture of the Renaissance and Other Essays (2 vols, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989) (library)

Peter Williams, The Chromatic Fourth during Four Centuries of Music (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997) (parts of the first three chapters are relevant) (library)


How does Thomas Morley’s description of the chromatic scale relate to sixteenth-century controversies over tuning and tonality? appeareth [that] this point which our Organists use [e–f–f#–g–g#–a] is not right Chromatica, but a bastard point patched up, of halfe chromaticke and halfe diatonick... (A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musick [London: Peter Short, 1597], annotations to the first part)

To what extent was the dispute between Vicente Lusitano and Nicola Vicentino resolved by Zarlino’s pronouncements on chromaticism?

With reference to at least two other musical works, discuss whether Adrian Willaert’s ‘Quid non ebrietas’ would have been classed as chromatic by sixteenth-century musicians.

Which of the sixteenth-century chromatic experimenters (if any) may be said to have achieved a genuinely successful adaptation of ‘ancient music’ to ‘modern practice’?