U040681.pdf (263.97 MB)
Download file

The influence of the late sixteenth-century Italian polyphonic madrigal on the English viol consort fantasy c1600-1645: A background study.

Download (263.97 MB)
posted on 19.11.2015, 09:14 by Derry Neil. Bertenshaw
A new type of viol consort fantasy emerged about the beginning of the seventeenth century and lasted until its virtual demise after the death of William Lawes in 1645. This thesis shows that this fantasy was distinct from Elizabethan forms and that it evolved from the late sixteenth-century Italian polyphonic madrigal and canzonetta.;The aim of this thesis is to show how the late sixteenth-century Italian madrigal influenced stylistic elements of the early Jacobean viol consort fantasy. This entails a detailed study of early seventeenth-century documents (manuscripts, etc.) to show how and why stylistic similarities between the two genres came about. This is demonstrated by examining in two ways the music of possibly the earliest composers of the medium - Thomas Lupo and, in particular, John Coprario - whose fantasies shaped all subsequent efforts. Firstly, it is shown that the repertory of music circles at the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean court and contemporary viol consort circles (with which both composers would have been most closely associated) was dominated by late sixteenth-century Italian madrigals and related forms. By examining viol consort manuscripts which contain textless Italian madrigals and seventeenth-century English fantasies and by compiling a complex of late Elizabethan and Jacobean court-related manuscripts, it can be shown that viol consort players mostly gained their copies of Italian madrigals from courtly circles. All these manuscripts are dominated by canzonetta-madrigals and seconda pratica madrigals. Secondly, an examination of the music of Coprario and Lupo, particularly their use of parody, shows how they assimilated these twin influences of the canzonetta-madrigal and seconda pratica madrigal to form a new rhetorical style of fantasy. This thesis also shows how, in the hands of Alfonso Ferrabosco II, the fantasy loses its vocal associations to become an independent instrumental genre, both in form and style.


Date of award


Author affiliation


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level


Qualification name




Usage metrics