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The Ceremonial Musicians of Late Medieval Florence Hardcover – April 14, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Timothy McGee's study of civic patronage of music is a welcome addition to the small but growing number of monographs devoted to the rich musical life of late-medieval and Renaissance Florence.... Ceremonial Musicians is a pioneering study in that it is the first to gather together such a wealth of sources related to these ubiquitous civic institutions and weave them into a smooth narrative so well grounded in Florentine social history." —Speculum



"McGee is without question the leading authority on civic patronage of music in Florence and this book will be central to our understanding of the cultural history of one of the most important cities of the Renaissance." —Keith Polk, New England Conservatory



"[T]his is a superb, rich book by a scholar who is steeped in the secondary literature and has also mined frustratingly variable Florentine archival material (the bibliography is excellent).... Astonishingly detailed, but requiring some background knowledge, this book will be invaluable to serious students of renaissance music-making.... Highly recommended." —Choice



The prolific McGee is, according to Keith Polk, 'the leading authority on civic patronage of music in Florence.' Here McGee sums up work that began in 1975, when he became interested in how music featured in civic celebrations and ceremonies. In writing a 'history of ceremonial musicians' (in Florence, 1282-1532), he also attempts 'a social history
of Florence insofar as civic music, musicians, and musical instruments are involved.' The two are not quite the same thing; a 'social historian' might conclude that McGee succeeds more in the restrictive than in the broader sense. That said, this is a superb, rich book by a scholar who is steeped in the secondary literature and has also mined frustratingly
variable Florentine archival material (the bibliography is excellent). McGee delineates the surprisingly busy lives of the trombadori (trumpeters) and the more versatile trombetti (masters of astonishing improvisational skills) and the little-understood but highly skilled and important civic herald, and he considers the advent of the German-based pifferi
(fifers) and the new combinations of instruments and singers under Medici influence. Astonishingly detailed, but requiring some background knowledge, this book will be invaluable to serious students of renaissance music-making. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. --ChoiceW. Metcalfe, emeritus, University of Vermont, September 2009



"After laying out the fascinating array of Florentine religious and secular events in which musicians were called to perform, McGee provides a rich account of the creation and growth of ensembles, the personnel involved, and the instruments used by them.... As a fruitful trove of particulars illuminating the civic musical life of Florence over several centuries, McGee’s book will be a welcome addition to the library of the general reader and specialist alike." —Early Music America : Mag Historical Perf

About the Author

Timothy J. McGee is Honourary Professor at Trent University and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. His many books include Medieval and Renaissance Music: A Performer's Guide; Medieval Instrumental Dances (IUP, 1989); and Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance (IUP, 1996).


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