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12: Improvisation

Digital Facsimiles of Ornamentation Manuals

  • Giovanni Luca Conforti, Breve et facile maniera d'essercitarsi a far passaggi (Rome, 1593). IMSLP.ORG: Find It
  • Diego Ortiz, Trattado de Glosas (Rome, 1553). National Library of Spain, Madrid [IMSLP.org]: Find It
  • Sylvestro Ganassi, Regola Rubertina (Venice, 1542). [IMSLP.org]: Find It
  • Sylvestro Ganassi, Opera intitule fontegara (Venice, 1535). [IMSLP.org]: Find It


  • Catherine Motuz (Sackbut) and Rona Nadler (organ), improvised variations on La Spagna (basse danse melody), in performance at McGill University Watch It
  • Pedro Sousa Silva (Recorder) playing Giovanni Bassano's Ricercata Quarta, from Bassano, Ricercate, Passaggi et Cadencie (Venetia 1585), in performance at Conservatorio Profesional de Zaragoza Watch It


  • Brown, Howard Mayer.Embellishing Sixteenth-Century Music. London: Oxford University Press, 1976. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/2473212
  • Butler, Gregory G. "The Fantasia as Musical Image." The Musical Quarterly 60 (1974), 602-15. http://www.jstor.org/stable/741767
  • Coelho, Victor A., and John Griffiths. "Une Fantasie De La Renaissance: Compositional Process in the Renaissance Fantasia." Journal of the Lute Society of America 23 (1990), 1-6.
  • Farrell, Peter, "Diego Ortiz' Tratado de glosas." Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society of America 4 (1967), 5-9. http://vdgsa.org/pgs/toc.html#4
  • Haggh, Barbara, and Maricarmen Gómez. "Minstrel Schools in the Late Middle Ages." Early Music 18 (1990), 212-26.http://www.jstor.org/stable/3127809
  • Horsley, Imogene. "Improvised Embellishment in the Performance of Renaissance Polyphonic Music." Journal of the American Musicological Society (1951), 3-19. http://www.jstor.org/stable/830116
  • Hudson, Richard. "The Folia, Fedele, and Falsobordone." The Musical Quarterly 58 (1972), 398-411. http://www.jstor.org/stable/741476
  • Polk, Keith. "Voices and Instruments: Soloists and Ensembles in the 15th Century." Early Music 18 (1990), 179-198.http://www.jstor.org/stable/3127807
  • Polk, Keith. German Instrumental Music of the late Middle Ages: Players, Patrons, and Performance Practice. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/24428986
  • Roig-Francoli. "Playing in Consonances: A Spanish Renaissance Technique of Chordal Improvisation." Early music 23 (1995), 461-71.http://www.jstor.org/stable/3138122
  • Stras, Laurie. "Recording Tarquinia: Imitation, Parody and Reportage in Ingegneri's 'Hor che 'l ciel e la terra e'l vento tace'." Early Music 27 (1999), 358-63. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3128653
Richard Freedman,
Jul 24, 2012, 2:04 PM