Lodovico Zacconi

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Lodovico Zacconi (1555 - 1627) was an Italian composer and music theorist of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He worked as a singer, theologian, and writer on music in northern Italy and Austria; for a time he was in the employ of Archduke Karl of Austria, and worked in Graz and Vienna.

His theoretical works are conservative, and make no mention of the emerging Baroque style, in spite of his studies with the distinguished Venetian composer Andrea Gabrieli. His most important works are the two books of Prattica di musica (Musical Practice) which he published in Venice in 1592 and 1622. Among the topics he discusses in the first book are the Guidonian hand, notation, prolation, and aspects of performance practice such as interpreting figured notation, and adding embellishments. The second book is devoted to the practice of improvised counterpoint; he looks ahead to Johann Fux in identifying five separate species of counterpoint.

Zacconi's treatises are an invaluable guide to study of performance practice of vocal music of the very late Renaissance. Parts of his work were incorporated by Michael Praetorius into his Syntagma musicum (1618), and by Pietro Cerone into his Melopeo y maestro (1613).

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