Sixteenth-Century Studies




Quintillian’s Institutes of Oratory (Loeb Edition online)

The Forest of Rhetoric

Musica Poetica


Patrick McCreless, ‘Music and rRhetoric’ in The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, ed. Thomas Christensen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 847–79 (library)

Dietrich Bartel, Musica poetica: Musical-Rhetorical Figures in German Baroque Music (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1997) (library)

Joachim Burmeister, Musical Poetics, edited and translated by Benito Rivera (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1993) (library)

Claude V. Palisca, Studies in the History of Italian Music and Music Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994): see ‘A Clarification of Musica Reservata’, 239–81, and ‘Ut oratoria musica: The Rhetorical Basis of Musical Mannerism’,  282–311 (library)

Brian Vickers ‘Figures of Rhetoric/Figures of Music’, Rhetorica, 2 (1984), 1–44 (jstor)


Discuss Brian Vickers's conclusion that rhetoric ‘is inalienably about communication, and can only use words, and meanings’. Does that view fully take account of late sixteenth-century music and musical discourse?