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This paper analyzes and discusses several 16th century madrigals, or songs written for secular enjoyment, as example of word-painting. According to the paper, care was taken to communicate the meaning of their accompanying text by translating certain words or ideas into the musical language. First, the paper explores the song entitled "Il bianco e dolce cigno" by Jacques Arcadelt, considering both its metaphors and musicality. Next, the paper examines Luca Marenzio's madrigal Solo e pensoso, which is another fine example of detailed word painting. The final madrigal is Carlo Gesualdo's ""Io parto" e non piu dissi." The paper concludes by noting the structure Gseualdo's madrigal, and further showing how the text and musical form complement one another.
From the Paper:"One of Arcadelt's best known madrigals, Il bianco e dolce cigno, is set to a poem that discusses sexual intercourse within the metaphorical context of death. The song is set in a mode based on F, an especially suitable key given its ability to represent both the sweet, peaceful outlook of the narrator and the intensely ironic and emotional nature of the death metaphor. Within the framework of F, Arcadelt uses some interesting key relationships to convey aural images of death and weeping. The word "more" (dies) in measure 4 is set to a weak cadence using a diminished VII6 chord--a harmony that sounds commonplace to modern ears but whose tritone would have invoked images of death and despair in the minds of Renaissance listeners. The phrase "Et io/piangendo" (and I, weeping) at measure 6 is set over an F-Eb juxtaposition, mirroring the contrast between the swan's singing and the lover's weeping. The very last cadence, as well, harmonically reinforces the closing text of "sarei contento" (I would be content) in that its plagal harmony (IV-I or Bb-F) is static, and therefore seemingly content to remain in place, unlike a V-I cadence that would imply more direction and movement."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Jacques Arcadelt "Il bianco e dolce cigno"
- Carlo Gesualdo, "Io parto" e non piu dissi."
- Luca Marenzio, "Solo e pensoso ."
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Text-Painting in Selected Madrigals of the Renaissance (2012, September 06) Retrieved April 29, 2016, from http://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/text-painting-in-selected-madrigals-of-the-renaissance-151730/
"Text-Painting in Selected Madrigals of the Renaissance" 06 September 2012. Web. 29 April. 2016. <http://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/text-painting-in-selected-madrigals-of-the-renaissance-151730/>