Lute song

From Academic Kids

The lute song was a generic form of music in the late Renaissance and very early Baroque eras, generally consisting of a singer accompanying himself on a lute, though they must have been often performed by a singer and a separate lutenist.

Many of the composers of lute songs were themselves lutenists, and performed the songs themselves; many were also madrigalists or composers of chansons. In general, lute songs were written from about 1550 to around 1650, though there is evidence that some music was performed this way much earlier (for instance, Baldassare Castiglione mentions that frottola were sometimes performed by solo voice and lute, presumably in the first decade or so of the 16th century.)

The lute song flourished in Italy, France and England; it had different styles and names in each location. In England, it was called the ayre (or air). Famous composers included John Dowland, Thomas Campion, and Philip Rosseter. In Italy, composers of lute songs included Vincenzo Galilei and Luzzasco Luzzaschi; the songs written later in the 16th century were the first to show Baroque characteristics. The French lute song was called the air de cour, and had a somewhat longer lifespan than elsewhere, due to the influence of musique mesureé; it also influenced early French opera.

References and further reading

  • Articles including "song", "ayre" in 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
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