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The Lute Works of Ser Marco dall'Aquila (ca. 1470-after 1537)

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Copyright (c) 2007 by Arthur J. Ness (Boston)
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The Marco Motive





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Josquin's motet "Benedicta es" was one of the most popular vocal compositions used for intabulations by lutenist-composrs of the Renaissance.  Francesco da Milano also composed a parody fantasia using it (No. 87 in my Harvard Uniiversity Press edition, with an anonymous intabulation of the motet itself in the appendix, No. 30).


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The following work, Ricercar No. 3, has been called the most beautiful ricercar of the Renaissance.  It uses the "broken style" (style brisé) that Marco seems to have invented.  At least no one in his time (with the possible exception of Alberto da Ripa) uses it until advert of style luthé in the 17th century when it becomes such an ubiquitous international feature in lutenist performance.  Of course it is possible the technique was improvised in Marco's day, and not written out.  I have devised a notation with laisser vibrer ties to show passages in broken style.  It is so much easier to read than the tied notes advocated by others.
The Marco motive (shown above) appears only once, near the end (meas. 21).  But we'll see more of it, including its prominent use in an amazing metrical accelerando. The final cadence with the bass note crossing the tenor is a familiar one in the frottola repertory and is called the "octave leap cadence."  Marco and Fracesco da Milano often use it.


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The "Marco Motive" appears almost ubiquitously. all over the place in this ricercar.  The remainder and tablature here (and elsewhere) will apprear as soon as I master this quirky computer program.  I won't permit use of *.PDF format, but I may later decide to make the entire edition--tablature and transcription--available in *.PDF format.  What do you think?.








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I've never seen tablature with barlines drawn as here, with two semiminims in one bar alternating with another with one minim.  It's the beat pattern of a triple tactus, that is two semiminims for the down stroke, and one semiminim up: down, down, up.  It is to inform the player to play the two measures as triple meter (3/2, here), and not as compound duple (6/4).  But compound duple is used later as a contrast in the final section (it's another instance of Marco's sense of musical shape by means of meter).



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