Vincenzo Galilei

By Rylan Lewandowski


Birth and Death

Born: 1520 in Santa Maria a Monte, Italy.

Died: July 02, 1591 in Florence, Italy.

His Life and His Works

Vincenzo Galilei studied the flute from a very early age. He grew up and moved to Pisa, where he married into a noble family. He had six or seven children, the first of which being Galileo. He was part of the artistic circle that met at the home of Count Bardi known as the Florentine Camerata. He previously studied Greek theory. Most of the songs he composed were performed by a vocalist and a lute player.

His Patron and His Style

Vincenzo attracted the attention of well-connected patrons. In 1563 he metGioseffo Zarlino, the most important music theorist of the sixteenth century, in Venice, and began studying with him. Somewhat later he became interested in the attempts to revive ancient Greek music and drama, by way of his contacts with Girolamo Mei,[6] the foremost scholar of the time of ancient Greek music. Sometime in the 1570s his interests in music theory, as well as his composition, began to move in this direction. Some of Galilei's most important thoughts include the treatment of dissonance, he had a very modern view, allowing passing dissonance "if the voices flow smoothly" as well as on-the-beat dissonance, such as suspensions, that he called "essential dissonance." All of these thoughts influenced his works

The Isms

Vincenzo´s music represented some secularism in the fact that he spent a lot of time replicating Greek style, which was a push away from the church music of the time. There was also classicism for the same reason, he was bringing back the old Greek style.

His Renaissance Work

Vincenzo Galilei -- Saltarello (self duet)


One of his most famous works was his rendition of Saltarello. Is was a simplistic song, that seemed to bring back elements of the past. His skill with the lute helped as well. The date of origin is unknown, and the original sheet music has been lost. But with the existence of the internet, you can find and listen to the piece whenever you like.(See above for piece). This piece of music is relaxing. It makes you want to lie down and not do anything. The sound of it just makes you think of the Renaissance, and the amazing time that it was. This seems to be closely related to classicism as it is a piece that was done quite a few times.