Saturday Morning Quote #11: A Continuing Theme
We have mentioned notable music theorist, anthologist and lutenist-composer, Vincenzo Galilei previously in at least a few blog posts. Vincenzo (c. 1520 – 1591) is mostly known today as the father of the more famous astronomer, Galileo, and he is respected among lutenists as the author of an important treatise, Fronimo Dialogo…et necessarie regole del Intavolare la Musica nel Liuto (Venice, 1568 and 1584). Fronimo has been a helpful resource for us, as it describes in detail how to arrange densely composed vocal music to be played on the lute.
Vincenzo, a student of music theorist Gioseffo Zarlino (1517 – 1590), was very active in a movement away from polyphonic vocal music and toward monody (or the solo song) in an attempt to recreate the unified expression of poetry and music which he believed to be the aesthetic of ancient Greece. Vincenzo also described at great length a system of calculating the fret spacing on fingerboard of the lute, giving us an indication of temperament in common use at the time – which was equal temperament.
Today’s quote is from Galilei’s discourse Dialogo della musica antica et della moderna (Florence, 1581), where he offers further justification for musical training as an important foundation for leadership.
I think that one may safely say that those who play, compose and likewise write excellently not only merit the highest praise, but deserve to be greatly esteemed and prized by every man of sound intellect.
In addition I say that it is impossible to find a man who is truly a musician and is vicious, and that if a man has a vicious nature, it will be difficult, or rather impossible for him to be virtuous and to make others virtuous.
And to say even more, the man who has in his boyhood used every necessary means and proper care to learn the science of the true music, devoting to it all his labor and effort, will praise and embrace everything that accords with dignity and honesty and will denounce and flee from the contrary, and he will be the last to commit any ugly or unseemly action, and gathering from music most copious fruits, he will be of infinite advantage and utility both to himself and to his state, nor will he ever, in any place or at any time, do or say any inconsiderate thing, but will continually be guided by decorum, modesty and reverence.
What can we add other than the question, how many (true) musicians are in leadership positions in Washington?