Ottaviano Petrucci

From Academic Kids

Ottaviano Petrucci (June 18, 1466May 7 1539) was an Italian printer. Petrucci is credited with producing, in 1501, the first book of sheet music printed from movable type: Harmonice Musices Odhecaton, a collection of chansons. He also published numerous works by the most highly regarded composers of the Renaissance, including Josquin Des Prez and Antoine Brumel.


He was born in Fossombrone, and probably was educated at Urbino. Around 1490 he went to Venice to learn the art of printing, and in 1498 he petitioned the Doge for the exclusive right to print music for the next 20 years. The right was granted, evidently, since there are no other known examples of printed music from Venice before 1520. In 1501 he produced his first book of music, the Odhecaton, and in the following years he continued to refine his technique, producing new editions and reprints every few months until 1509, when his activity was interrupted by the war of the League of Cambrai against Venice; he departed the city for Fossombrone, where he resumed his activities as a printer.

Fossombrone being within the papal states, Petrucci applied for a patent with the Pope for the exclusive right to print music, which was granted for several years; however the Pope rescinded the patent when Petrucci failed to produce keyboard music, granting it instead to one of Petrucci's competitors at Rome. In 1516 papal troops ransacked Fossombrone, and Petrucci printed nothing for three years: most likely his equipment was destroyed. The competitor who took Petrucci's printing privilege away from him in Rome, Andrea Antico, also took over his printing business in Venice in 1520. During the 1520s Petrucci seems to have made his living managing a paper mill.

In 1536 he returned to Venice at the request of the civic authorities there, and assisted them in printing Greek and Latin texts.


While Petrucci was not the first to print music—that distinction goes to the Johann Fust and Peter Schffer, two Gutenberg associates from Mainz, who produced a Psalterium in 1457—Petrucci was the first printer to use movable type, the first to print in quantity, and the first to print the polyphonic music which was the predominant style at the time.

The printing of music made possible the development of the first truly international musical style since the unification of Gregorian Chant in the 9th century. Printed music moved around Europe during the migration of Franco-Flemish composers from their home areas in the modern day Low Countries to Italy, Germany, Spain, Poland and elsewhere; the polyphonic style of the Franco-Flemish became an international language, with later regional variations.


  • Article "Ottaviano Petrucci," The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vol. London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980. ISBN 1561591742
  • Gustave Reese, Music in the Renaissance. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1954. ISBN 0393095304
  • Harold Gleason and Warren Becker, Music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Music Literature Outlines Series I). Bloomington, Indiana. Frangipani Press, 1986. ISBN 089917034Xbg:Отавиано Петручи

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