Vocal Ornaments in Durante`s "Arie devote" (1608)
Performance Practice Review Volume 6 Number 1 Spring Article 3 Vocal Ornaments in Durante's "Arie devote" (1608) Donald Clyde Sanders Follow this and additional works at: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/ppr Part of the Music Practice Commons Sanders, Donald Clyde (1993) "Vocal Ornaments in Durante's "Arie devote" (1608)," Performance Practice Review: Vol. 6: No. 1, Article 3. DOI: 10.5642/perfpr.199306.01.03 Available at: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/ppr/vol6/iss1/3 This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Journals at Claremont at Scholarship @ Claremont. It has been accepted for inclusion in Performance Practice Review by an authorized administrator of Scholarship @ Claremont. For more information, please contact [email protected] Baroque Ornamentation Vocal Ornaments in Durante's Arie devote (1608) Donald C. Sanders Giulio Caccini's Le nuove musiche and Lodovico Grossi da Viadana's Cento concerti ecclesiastici, both published in 1602, were milestones in the early history of secular and sacred song with basso continuo. Among the many similar collections that followed, Ottavio Durante's Arie devote le quali contengono in se la maniera di cantar con grazia, Vimitazione delle parole, e il modo di scriver passaggi ed altri affetti (Rome, 1608) is especially significant in sacred solo music.1 Unlike the Concerti of Viadana, which resemble solo reductions of motets in the stile antico, the twenty arias of Durante's collection were conceived as soloistic music. Durante deliberately chose to emulate the music of Caccini, with its florid vocal lines and expressive ornamentation. Thus, his arias represent an early movement toward the incorporation of secular style into sacred solo vocal music. 'The collection was dedicated to Cardinal Montalto, a Roman patron and member of the ecclesiastically powerful Peretti family. Little is known of Durante aside from the fact that he was for a time maestro di capella at Viterbo Cathedral. The dedication of Arie devote mentions that his father, Castore Durante (d. 1590), a well-known physician and botanist, had served the Peretti family, including its most illustrious member Pope Sixtus V. In fact, the elder Durante had dedicated // tesore delta sanitd, the most famous of his several scientific treatises, to Sixtus. 60 Vocal Ornaments in Durante's Arie devote (1608) 61 Durante's preface owes much to that of Caccini's Le nuove musiche. And he refers the reader to that work for more on the new style: There would be other advice, bul for the sake of brevity I leave it out, leaving the remainder to the writing of S. Giulio Caccini. Because this is a little stream that springs up from the fountain of his virtues. The preface contains a documentation of Roman attitudes about sacred music during the Counter-Reformation, and it provides significant additional insight into early baroque performance as it applies to church music. The first (and perhaps most predictable) section reaffirms the fundamental premise of the seconda prattica: that music must be a servant of the text. Durante advises composers that their principal intention should be to "adorn the words with those qffetti2 that are in agreement with them" in order to introduce the ideas into the souls of the listeners. The influence of the Council of Trent is apparent in his derogatory comments about complex counterpoint. He warns that the writing of fugae simply to accommodate the words dresses them in an "improper and alien attire." This attitude is understandable from one attached to the household of Sixtus V, a strong protagonist of Tridentine reform. A significant proportion of Durante's advice concerns the proper application of ornamentation. He cautions against passaggi where they impede the understanding of the words. By avoiding such excesses one can make the music "singable and effortless." When this occurs it will be sung and heard more willingly. Like Caccini, Durante implies that ornamentation of the passaggio type was becoming outmoded. It may be introduced especially "in imitation of the words and their meaning." Many of the pieces, however, like certain of those in Le nuove musiche, are replete with passaggi, but not to the extremes of some solo madrigals, such as those of Luzzasco Luzzaschi. Luzzaschi's lavish ornamentation was a written-out version of the late sixteenth-century style of embellishment as prescribed in diminution manuals like Girolamo dalla Casa's // vero modo di diminuir of 1584. Like Cacinni, Durante uses the word affetto in two ways: in a general sense as a state of emotion or passion and, specifically, as in this statement, as a device (usually an ornament) that helps to express one of these emotions. The reference in the title to "passaggi and other qffelli" seems to imply that the term is synonymous with ornament, thus encompassing both the old-style passaggio (a florid division of the value of a long note) and the expressive modem ornaments described by Caccini like the trillo and ribattuta di gala. 62 Donald C. Sanders Durante intended that performers sing the written passaggi and be judicious in adding more. He advised that not every passaggio can be approved as being "in the good manner of singing." Some, he says, are more effective when played on instruments. His general intent was to discourage the improvisation of diminutions on every available long note. He also implied that the keyboard player could add ornamentation in places where vocal passaggi might obscure the text. Durante warned that certain vowels became "odious" when embellished. A passaggio on the i sound, for instance, resembles "neighing" and on the u sound, "howling." If these are encountered on long syllables, where ornamentation seems desirable, it is better to use "some accent or grace of little notes that will not be unbecoming."3 The author indicates that in lengthy passaggi singers should "catch a breath in tempo." This is advisable when "mere is a need to breathe when no pause or breath is given." Concerning the more modern ornaments Durante is less specific than Caccini. This may be attributed to a desire for more restrained expression in sacred music and to the expectation (expressed later) that the reader will become acquainted with Caccini's writings. The ribattuta di gold is not mentioned, even though many examples of such dotted figures are written out in the music. As in Caccini the crescendo (crescimento) is treated as an ornament. Durante instructs the singer to increase the voice little by little on the same pitch on every dotted note! In that dotted 8th and 16th notes abound, the author apparently expects the performer to judge which are of sufficient length to accommodate a crescendo. He also indicates that the swelling of the voice should occur only during the value of the dot. Durante also states that when a note is connected to its own sharped inflection, the singer needs to crescendo to the higher pitch, "from the tone to the semitone." Here he implies an upward movement in pitch (a kind of portamento) along with the crescendo. He advises that when this is done well, it "excites [the listener] very much." The trillo in this collection is realized, as in Caccini, as a tremolo (a form of repeated note ornament). The normal trill, Caccini's groppo, is referred to as a groppetto and is always written out. The groppetto consistently This is Durante's only mention of (he accento—a term he fails to define. He may be referring to the breaking up of a long nole by approaching it with an appoggiatura from below as in the French port de voix or by sliding up to (he main pitch from a third below . Vocal Ornaments in Durante's Arie devote (1608) 63 involves the principal and upper note, usually followed by a closing turn. Sometimes it begins on the upper, sometimes on the principal note. The singer is instructed that notes with a t above must be trilled without exception, even when the t is above a short note already part of a written-out ornament. In several such instances the short note is only a thirty-second, requiring perhaps some freedom of tempo. The singer is instructed to open the mouth for "broad consonants" and to narrow it for "closed" ones. "It is necessary," Durante advises, "to think of singing as argument." Gestures of the face or body are inappropriate, but if the performer feels compelled to make them, he must do so "with grace and relevance to the sense of the words, but never to an extreme."4 4 Hugo Goldschmidt included Durante's preface in German a century ago in Die italienische Gesangsmethode des XVII. Jahrhunderls und ihre Bedeuiung fur die Gegenwart (Breslau: S. Scholtlander, 1892). 64 Donald C. Sanders AR1E DEVOTE Le quali cflitenqotio in it laMdmerddt conjratid, limitation idle parole, ettl tnodo It\scrtuer fdjIaMi', tt dltn (tffetti • Rotnd dpprcdo Stmont Perouto itfoh fMH~'>->' |I Vocal Ornaments in Durante's Arie devote (1608) 65 en 9mPLckJfuua^)4ut tJbUnU htfiL ^ (T w at (Jut JKi,menGtM p tntn f 1 umiUJitmg. znuu /?•' 'JllJ. t 66 Donald C. Sanders A LETTORI. 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Hf f ^ f l f &h*mo,rtcomfcHfkddDt»d*W4ttwtttUtr*tusrutmtttUtU mt ftrfigaodtLtitnoUnl*,t[*simcamn wtmtMntttfkikbemMKdmtmoJuppUttvDicomil vsltr ( ( t U d b b b k i t i f i U d tvmtttftbti* 68 Donald C. Sanders Vocal Ornaments in Durante's Arie devote (1608) 69 70 Donald C. Sanders Ottavio Durante, Preface to Arie devote A Lettori Nelle presenti Arie vi si puo facilmente comprendere la maniera di cantar con gratia, limitation delle parole, & il modo di scriver passaggi; & altri affetti, & perche i desiderosi di questa virtu possino essercitarsi, per facilmente conseguirla, le mando in luce con alcuni avvertimenti brevi, & utili non meno a Compositori, che a Cantori, parlando sempre per quelli che ne hanno dibisogno. Devono primieramente i Compositori considerar' bene quelche hanno da comporre, sia mottetto, madrigale, o qualsivoglia altra cosa, e procurar di adornar con la musica le parole con quelli affetti che gli si convengono; servendosi di toni appropriati accio con questo mezzo siano i lor concetti con piu efficacia introdotti negli animi delli Ascoltanti, che facendo altrimente coordinar fuga o altra compositione, per accomodarvi poi le parole, verranno ad esser adornate, & vestite di veste impropria, & aliena. To the Readers In the present arias one can easily understand the manner of singing with grace, the imitation of the words, and the way to write passaggi and other affetti. And so that those desirous of this virtue can practice in order to obtain it easily, I am bringing them to light with several brief pieces of advice, no less useful to composers than to singers, always addressing those who have need of them. Composers must first consider well what they have to compose, either motet, madrigal, or whatsoever other thing and attempt to adorn the words musically with those affetti that are in agreement with them, using appropriate tones so that with this means their ideas are introduced with more efficacy into the souls of the listeners; because doing otherwise, to construct an imitative or other kind of composition in such a way as to accomodate the words, they will come to be adorned and dressed in improper and an alien attire. Vocal Ornaments in Durante's Arie devote (1608) 71 Havuta questa consideratione, bisogna avvertire di osservare i piedi de i versi, cioe di trattenersi nelle sillabe lunghe, e sfuggir nelle brevi, perche altriment; si J faranno de barbarismi. Nel principio di qualsivoglia compositione affettuosa, & grave, si deve principiar con gravita, e senza passaggi, ma non senza affetti, e i passaggi farli in luoghi che non impedischino l'intelligenza delle parole, e nelle cadenze, avvertendo di farli cader nelle sillabe lunghe, e nelle vocali approvate, come a suo luogho si dira, e la musica farla cantabile, e piii facile che sia possibile, perche, oltre che sara piii bella, sara ancora piu volentieri cantata, e sentita. With this in mind, one must pay attention to observe the feet of the verses; that is to stay on the long syllables and to get off the short ones; for otherwise they will create barbarisms. In the first part of any tender and solemn composition it is necessary to begin with gravity and without passaggi, but notwithout affetti} and make the passaggi in places where they will not impede the understanding of the words and in the cadences, paying attention to make them fall on long syllables and on the approved vowels, as will be said "in their place"; and the music will be made as singable and effortless as possible. Then, in addition to its being more beautiful, it will also be more willingly sung and heard. 'Here the use of the term affetti is ambiguous. Goldschmidt (p. 30) translates it with the German Ausdruck, so that the phrase reads "without passaggi, but not without expression." Durante might mean, however, that although florid passaggi are inappropriate in such instances, smaller ornaments (like the irillo, groppetto, etc.) are not. 72 Donald C. Sanders Havendo havuto mira alia facilita come anco allo sminuire in parte la fatiga del intagliatore, si sono accennate per le parti di mezzo nella parte del Basso solo alcune settime risolute in seste, & undecime in decime, che sono come quarte in terze. tanto piu che le terze, e seste maggiori e minori, & altre consonanze, pare che concorrino da se stesse, mentre si suonano, e cantano insieme. Alle Arie si permette qualche licenza nel contrapunto per causa degli affetti. I cantori devono procurar di capir bene in se stessi quel che hanno da cantare, massime quando cantano soli, accio intendendolo, e possendendolo bene, lo possino far intendar all'altri, che le stanno a sentire, che questo e il loro scopo principale, e devono avvertire di intonar bene, e di cantar adagio, cioe Having also had the goal of facility as well as of the reduction of some of the engraver's work, in the bass part there are indicated for the middle voices only some sevenths resolved to sixths and elevenths to tenths, which are like fourths to thirds; more [of these] than major and minor thirds and sixths and other consonances, which seem to converge by themselves while they are played and sung together. In the arias some license is permitted in the counterpoint because of the affetti. * Singers must endeavor to understand well within themselves what they have to sing, especially when they are singing solos, so that understanding and mastering it well, they are able to make it understood by others who hear them; for this is their principal purpose. And they must pay attention to singing well in tune and to singing slowly—that is, Here Durante obviously means (hat the rules of counterpoint are less important in this music expression of strong emotion. than the Vocal Ornaments in Durante's Arie devote (1608) 73 con la battuta larga, porgendo lavoce con gratia e pronuntiando le parole distintamente, accio siano intese, e quando si vorra far passaggi, si avvertisca, che non ogni passaggio e approvato nella buona maniera di cantare, come per esperienza si vede, che alcuni passaggi riescono fatti con instrumenti, che poi con la voce non fanno buon effetto; & pero devono servirsi di quelli che sono piu approvati, & che riescono per cantare; guardandosi pero di farli come si e detto, in luoghi, che impedischino 1'intelligenza delle parole, massime nelle sillabe brevi, e nelie vocali odiose, che sono la i, & la u, che una rassembra il nitrire, e raltral'urlare, ma procurino di passeggiar nelle sillabe lunghe, dove a loro beneplacito si potranno trattenere, e nelle tre vocali che restano, che sono a. e. o. le quali sono bonissime per far passaggi, nell'altre dui, quando vi si affrontara la sillaba lungha, si potra far qualche accento o gratia di poche note, che non disdira, e sopra tutto i passaggi si faccino ad imitation delle parole, e loro senso. with broad beats/ delivering the voice with grace and pronouncing the words distinctly so that they be understood. And when it is desired that passaggi be introduced, be advised that not every passaggio is approved in the good manner of singing. As it is seen through experience, some passaggi are successfully done with instruments that do not make a good effect with the voice; and, therefore, use must be made of those that are more acceptable and suitable for singing; but one should be wary of them, as has been said, in places where they impede the understanding of the words, especially on the short syllables and on the odious vowels i and the u, one of which resembles neighing and the other howling. But they [singers] should endeavor to do passaggi on long syllables, where at their discretion they can hold back [the tempo], and on the three remaining vowels that are a, e, o, which are very good for doing passaggi. On the other two [vowels], when they are encountered on a long syllable, there can be made some accento 2 Goldschmidt translates "con la battuta larga" as "mil grassier Freikeit im Tact." Such freedom of tempo is certainly consistent with most early 17thcentury writings on performance practice, but 1 have translated it more literally, simply as "with broad beats." 74 Donald C. Sanders or a grace of a few notes that will not be unbecoming. And above all, the passaggi are to be done in imitation of the words and their meaning. Quando si trovera una nota con il punto di augmento, se in esso punto si crescera a poco a poco la voce nel medesimo tono, fara bonissimo effetto. When a note is found with the point of augmentation [the dot], if in said point the voice will increase little by little on the same pitch, it will make a very good effect. Per il crescimento della voce dal tuono al semituono si assegna il diesis nella nota ligata, per dar intendere, che bisogna cominciar a crescere a poco a poco, facendo conto che vi siano 4. come, sino che si arrivi al perfetto crescimento, il che quando e fatto bene, commove assai. For the increasing of the voice from a tone to a semitone, a sharp is assigned to the tied note, in order to make clear that it is necessary to begin to crescendo little by little, making a count of four, until a perfect crescendo is reached. When it is well done, itis very moving. Dove sara notata la lettera t. si deve trillar sempre con la voce, ancor che sia notata sopra il trillo, o groppetto stesso, & all'hora si deve trillar tanto piu. Where the letter t is notated, one must always trill with the voice; and even if it [the t] is written above the trillo or groppetto [that is already written out], then it must be trilled even more. II far passaggi nel ultima sillaba delle parole e contra la regola, ma qualche volta, pur che la sillaba sia lungha, e cada nelle vocali approvate, non disdira, seguendo, pero altre sillabe da far cadenza. To do passaggi on the last syllable of a word is against the rule, but sometimes, provided that the syllable is long and falls on the approved vowels, it will not be unbecoming, it should, however, follow other syllables, making a cadence. Vocal Ornaments in Durante's Arie devote (1608) 75 Quando si vuol fare passaggi lunghi, si avvertisca di pigliar il fiato a tempo, per non lasciar imperfetto il passaggio, il che si deve fare in tutti i luoghi, dove fa bisogno di respirare, quando non vi siano pause, o sospiri. When it is desired to do long passaggi, be advised to catch a breath while maintaining the tempo in order not to leave the passaggio imperfect. The same thing must be done in every place where there is need to breathe when there is no pause or breath indicated. Circa la pronuntia delle parole bisogna far conto cantando di ragionare, & aprir la bocca dove fa di bisogno, conforme ricercano Ie vocali larghe, e restringerla nelle strette, e nel far passaggi, si tenga sempre aperta, o ristretta come ricerca la vocale dove occorrera far il passaggio; & oltra a tutto quello che si e detto, si avvertisca di non far gesti con la persona, o con il volta, mentre si canta, e sepure se ne vuol fare qualcheduno, bisogna farlo con gratia, e corrispondente al sesno delle parole, ma non dare nell'estremo. Regarding the pronunciation of the words, it is necessary to think of singing as a form of argument and to open the mouth where necessary in conformity with seeking out the broad consonants and to narrow it in the closed ones. And in doing passaggi it is always held open or narrow as it seeks out the vowel where the passaggio must be done. And in addition to all that has been said, take care not to make gestures with the body or with the face while singing. And even if you want to do some [gestures], you must do them with grace and relative to the sense of the words, but never to the extreme. Altri avvertimenti ci sarebbero, che per brevita li tralascio, rimettendomi nel resto alii scritti del S. Giulio Caccini, poiche questo e un picciol'rio che scaturisce dal fonte delle sue virtu. There would be other admonitions, but for the sake of brevity I leave them out, leaving the remainder to the writings of S. Giulio Caccini, because this is a little stream that springs up from the fount of his virtues. 76 Donald C. Sanders Hora se in queste mie carte (benign ilettori) trovarete per avventura a qualche cosa di buono, riconoscetelo da Dio dator di tutte le gratei, e ricevetelo da me per segno di benevolenza, e se all' incontro vi trovarete qualche mancamento, supplite voi con il valor vostro, e con la medesima mira, che ho havuta io, che e stata solo di giovar al prossimo e vivete felice. Now if in these documents of mine, kind readers, you find by chance something good, acknowledge it as from God, giver of all graces, and receive it from me as a sign of good will. And if, on the contrary, you find some imperfection in it, replace it with your own merits and with the very same view as I have had which has been only to give pleasure, my fellow man, and may you live joyfully.