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Artusi, Giovanni Maria

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Artusi, Giovanni Maria, Italian music theorist and composer; b. Bologna, c. 1540; d. there, Aug. 18, 1613. He was a student of Zarlino in Venice. In 1562 he entered the order of the Congregation of S. Salvatore in Bologna, where he was professed in 1563 and spent his life as a canon regular. After Vincenzo Galilei criticized the traditional stance of Zarlino, Artusi felt compelled to defend his teacher in a series of pamphlets that are no longer extant. Artusi then was himself the subject of a dispute with Ercole Bottrigari, who accused him of plagiarism. The accusation was without foundation and may have been prompted by professional jealousy on Bottrigari’s part. After publishing L’arte del contraponto ridotta in tavole (Venice, 1586), Artusi publ. his first major theoretical vol. in his Seconda parte dell’arte del contraponto, nella quale si tratta dell’utile et uso delle dissonanze (Venice, 1589), a thorough examination of the use of dissonance in counterpoint and in the setting of texts. Following Bottrigari’s condemnation of Artusi’s views on the tuning of instrumental ensemble in his El Desiderio (1594), Artusi defended himself in his L’Artusi, overo Delle imperfettioni della moderna musica ragionamenti dui (Venice, 1600). It was followed by his Seconda parte dell’Artusi overo Delle imperfettioni della moderna musica (Venice, 1603), in which he criticized the use of dissonance and modes in the madrigals of an unnamed composer who later was identified as Monteverdi. As a master of the seconda prattica, Monteverdi was moved to defend himself in his preface to his 2 nd book of madrigals (1605). Artusi’s reply, publ. under the pseudonym of Antonio Brassino da Todi in 1605, is no longer extant. Monteverdi’s brother, Giulio Cesare, came to his brother’s defense in his Dichiamtione, the preface to his Scherzi musicali (1607). Artusi’s final reply was publ. as Discorso secondo musicale di Antonio Bracano da lodi per la dichiaratione della lettera posta ne’ Scherzi musicali del sig. Claudio Monteverdi (Venice, 1608), in which he contended that rhythm should always be the master of harmony and the text. Artusi’s major concern in this vol., however, was his view that one of the major problems in modern music was the inability to find the proper tuning of instruments so that musicians could all play together and that any melody could be transposed to any key. Even his detractors could not deny the primacy of Aristoxenus’s view that equal tones and equal semitones were the solution to the problem facing the practical musician as well as the theorist of Artusi’s day

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