By Joost Witte

A ricercare which could be composed by Galilei

Galileo and Music: A Family affair

Dinko Fabris - The Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena VI. Proceedings of a conference held October 18-23, 2009 in Venezia, Italy. Edited by Enrico Maria Corsini. ASP Conference Series, Vol. 441. San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2011

Galilei Vincenzio juniore

Vincenzo Galilei died
02 july 1591 Copia dell'atto di inumazione di Vincenzo di Michelangelo Galilei Carta 146r

Dinko Fabris wrote in his article Galileo and Music: A Family affair:

“In the miscellaneous manuscript Anteriori di Galileo 9 of the National Library in Florence, a collection of madrigals copied in “reversed score” by Vincenzo Galilei
(in order to prepare lute intabulations), a single sheet can be found in a different hand, which includes a manuscript Ricercare intabulated for solo lute probably at the end of the 16th century.

This sheet is attributed to “Vincenzo Juniore” in the Library catalogue. The style of the music is too modern for Vincenzo (death in 1595) and too old-fashioned for both Michelangelo or his son Vincenzo Jr.: even without any evidence, I like the idea that this could be the only remaining piece of lute music composed by the young Galileo Galilei.”


The purpose of the article below is to zoom in on the paragraph above and add some arguments. It focuses on (the different hand of) possible candidates for ascription and on some characteristics of this ricercare. Based on creative association two side paths are being followed: that of a sunny metaphor by Vincenzo Galilei and the trail of a soldier into the service of Duke Maximilian of Bavaria.

The text has three parts:
First family members with a connection to music are inventarised.
The next focuses on features of the manuscript and the music.
The last part reflects on severall explanations for clues.

Candidates of the Galilei family

To sum up the musicians in the Galilei family:

Vincenzo     father of:
                    Galileo            father of:
                    Michelangelo  father of:
                                             Alberto Cesare  father of:
                                                                        Albe Cäsar

To sharpen the image some facts about these musicians can be noted:

BMLO Bayerisches Musiker Lexicon
Kinder Galilei Albertus Caesar
Gallilej, Albe Cäsar

Bibliographisches Quellen
Lexikon der Musiker und Musikgelehrten der christlichen Zeitrechnung bis zur Mitte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts (Leipzig 1900–1904) Robert Eitner page 133

Albe Cäsar, child of Alberto Cesare, was a violin student of Piber.

He may have been the last musician in the Galilei family in four generations.

The Quellen lists 1635 as the time for his studies.

Die Familie Galilei in München
Karl Trautmann - Jahrbuch Münchener Geschichte 1889

In the years 1634 -1636 his father Alberto was studying violin with hofmusiker Franz Siber.

Albe & Piber : Alberto & Siber

Little Ice Age
A cold

Of course we should be very careful with similarities but the couple Albe and Piber and the names Alberto and Siber do look alike - did a cold, a dialogue and phonetic writing create doppelgangers in the archives?

Alberto's family according to:
BMLO - one child Albe Cäsar based on the Bibliografische quellen
Musik in Bayern Dieter Kirsch Michelagnolo Galilei und seine Familie  2006 Band 71 - one child Franz Nestor based on Kirchenbücher der Pfarrei Unser Lieben Frau
Sie haben in München gelebt - vier Kinder source(s) not specified

BMLO Bayerisches Musiker Lexikon
Galilei Albertus Caesare

Kreisarchiv serie C Fasc. 467.37
Theater und Hofmusik. No. 467.
Personalakte Albrecht Cäsar Galileis

Alberto Cesare *24 September 1615 † 16 September 1692 was Instrumentist an den Hofkapelle in München, like his father Michelangelo was before him. He was Lautenist, Trompeter, Geiger (lutist, player of the trumpet and strings). He also played kittära (guitar).

EN XIII. 1805 Edizione Nazionale delle opere di Galileo Galilei

Dieter Kirsch identifies the son as Vincenzo Galilei. Note 59 Musik in Bayern

The son is understood by Claude Chauvel as Alberto.
Minkhoff Edition Il primo libro d’intabolatura di liuto Introduction par Claude Chauvel 1988 note 22 The name of René Mesangeau is suggested.

CD Michelagnolo Galilei - Intavolatura di liuto Anthony Bailes 2013 booklet page 10

The son of Michelangelo was offered by Sr Renatto from Paris to teach him with care everything he knows and take him in his house.

Sr Renatto was a friend of the Galileis, who composed in the new French style, different as what he used to do in Italy, and was highly praised.

Claude Chauvel hesitates to link the identity of signor Renatto with René Mesengeau, of the most famous lutenists of the time in Paris and who supposedly lived in Germany until 1619.

Luteshop Courante by Monsieur Saman, and a related Volta. By Martin Sheperd.
Would he be René Saman (fl. 1610-31), lutenist to Louis XIII, who composed a courante related to Michelangelo’s Volta page 9 Il Primo Libro? 

Dossier. Le luth en France au XVIIème Marie de Medici played lute since her childhood in Florence and as Queen had constantly lute players in her vicinity. Posté le 11.11.2014 par Camille De Joyeuse

An impatient and eager Marie de Medici shocked Italian gentlemen who brought Galileo's telescope by going on her knees to see the moon.

The French court wrote to Galileo:
"Discover as soon as possible some moon to which Marie's name may be attached. You will gain renown, and likewise lasting riches for yourself and your family."

Saman was a musician in 1615–16 to Marie de Medici - Queen of France. 

Saman, René - composer, lutenist Volume Grove Music Online, issue Published in print January 2001 Andrew Ashbee
In 1619 Saman was appointed lutenist to Louis XIII and also taught boys of the royal chapel.

Tutta L'arte Della Trombetta Complete English Translation, biography and Critical Commentary by Edward H.Tarr 2011 page 9

Intercession of Cesare Bendinelli 06 April 1603 Munich Staatsarchiv Oberbayern call no. HR facs. 81. Nr. 48

Another connection with the French court is Alberto Cesare’s aunt: a document shows Catharina Bendinelli was Chief chamber servant of Maria de Medici in 1603. She must have been of outstanding reputation and proven reliability.

We  know of several important musicians that they were going to study at a young age to faraway places. For example Jan Pieterszoon Sweelink probaly went from Amsterdam to Italy between the 11th and 15th year of his life, to study Zarlino and Gabrieli.
The Galilei's weren’t many handshakes away of this court. Did Alberto follow lessons by Renatto in his early years?

EN XIII. 1805 06 januari 1627

EN XIII. 1815 05 may 1627

EN XIII. 1870 05 april 1628

EN XIII. 1895 05 juli 1628

His father contemplates that he doesn't dare to take Alberto from school to fully let him concentrate on studying lute because that would provocate the hate of the Jesuits.
In may 1627 he graduated from school with many praise.
In april 1628 Alberto is in Italy wasting time - his lute skills going backwards and his father fears he might give up.

Bay HStA HR I Fasc. 467 10 may 1629

The scholarship of his brother Vincenzo was transferred in 1629 to Alberto - an achievement that must have have required much from Michelangelo's diplomatic skills and persuasiveness.

EN XVI. 3331 01 august 1636

EN XVI. 3343 16 august 1636

In 1636 Alberto is serving as virtuoso di liuto e violino. That year Galileo remembered Alberto's playing in 1628 as admirable (mirabile).

Tutta L'arte Della Trombetta 1614

Compiled in 1614 the music dates about 1580

Cesare Bendinelli: Some Recent Biographical Discoveries, Renato Meucci 2012 Historic Brass Society Journal vol. 24

We might get an idea of Alberto’s trumpet study by the documented instructions of his grandfather. Cesare Bendinelli was Chief Trumpeter at the Munich Court, violist, composer, maker of automatic music boxes, and personal servant to various princes and electors. In 1593 Bendinelli ordered three fiddles for his pupils - so he could have instructed for strings also.

The Trumpeters Guild in Munich was founded in 1623 and carefully regulated instruction.

Sie haben in München gelebt
Biografien aus acht Jahrhunderten page 207 Werner Ebnet / Allitera Verlag 2016

A contract shows Cesare Bendinelli wanted to open a brewery at the Sendlingerstrasse and his grandson Alberto Cesare Galilei would later operate a small one nearby his house around the corner in the Fűrstenfelder Straße.  Alberto had a happy live (zufriedenes leben).

EN XVI. 3331 & in manuscript
Alberto Cesare Galilei e Giacinto Cornacchioli a Galileo in Arcetri. Monaco, 1° agosto 1636.

In 1634 an outbreak of the bubonic plague killed 15,000 Munich residents

Anna Chiara (widow of Michelangelo), her three daughters and a son died in 1634 at Galileo's house. They perished shortly after arrival at Arcetri. Galileo's daughter
Dava Sobel 1999 page 362

Fronimo 1584 Vincenzo Galilei page 104: his library contained 3000 pieces composed by himself & 14.000 pieces by other composers

Although that is not the first thing that comes to mind when you read his letter of august 1636. The plague had killed his parents, his sisters and a brother.

During the plundering of the city of Munich in the Thirty Years War all of his possessions perished in fire and flames. This could have included manuscripts, letters and books inherited from his father Michelangelo.

Did the library of Michelangelo contain a part of the enormous collection of music manuscripts compiled by Vincenzo Galilei - father of Galileo and Michelangelo? This collection must have been the base of Michelangelo's musical education and Vincenzo's method - giving an eagle's view on 16th century composers.

Or did Guilia Ammannati - mother of Galileo and Michelangelo, use the paper inheritance of her husband to light up the stove in the period 1591 - 1620, at the peak of the little ice age (in familiar and climate sense)?

Die Familie Galilei in München
Karl Trautmann - Jahrbuch Münchener Geschichte 1889

Welichland = Italy

In 1632 and 1633 Alberto was in Italy studying lute, theorbo, latin and Italic writing ("und weliche schrifft").

In 1630 Holzner composed five instrumental canzonas.

Gabrieli was the second organist in Venice, first organist was Claudio Merulo. Gabrieli was an outstanding teacher and composer and had many influential students.

His ricercares are a quantum leap beyond previous efforts and he is the ancestor of Bach's fugues:
Glen Wilson CD booklet Andrea Gabrieli Keyboard Music 2010

Hof-organist Anton Holzner taught him theory and contrapunt.

Did Anton Holzner and Alberto Galilei study the compositions of Andrea Gabrieli, the former organist at the Kapelle in Munich and at the San Marco in Venice?

Gabrieli was a master in the use of augmentation - (up to 4 times).

Crossover between keyboard (organ, harpsichord) and lute repertoire was omnipresent. Many musicians and composers were familiar with both.

Portale Galileo
EN XVII 3601

Monteverdi, who originated from Cremona, was choirmaster at the San Marco in Venice.

In 1637 Galileo bought a particularly valuable (12 golden ducats) Cremonese violin  from Claudio Monteverdi - who acted as an agent for the purchase, for his cousin Alberto Cesare.

Amati lost all of his family to the plague. He single handedly carried over the tradition of violin making to his students which included Guarneri, Rogeri and possibly Stainer and inspired Ruggierri and Stradivari.

Buy one

The violin maker was probadly Nicolò Amati: he was the only instrument maker who survived the plague in Cremona in the years around 1630.

EN XVII. 3565 Porro a Galileo 1637

This must also have had an effect on Michelangelo when he was alive.

Chapelmaster Giacomo Porro of Maximilian's court wrote to Galileo in 1637 that the lute was out of favour for the last ten years. The duke would only like to hear the harp, viola bastarda and violin.

Galileo's Daughter D. Sobel 1999 page 362

EN XVIII. 3994 19 aprile 1640 Alberto Cesare a Galileo

Finding the solitude of his house intolerable Galileo desired Alberto to come and live with him in 1639. He stayed for ten months but went back to Munich to marry Maria Maximiliana. According to the matricle entry of 19 january 1694 his son Franz Nestor, born in 1640, was dumb.

EN XVIII. 4073 01 novembre 1640 Alberto Cesare a Galileo
His salary in 1640 was 220 gulden, which forced him and his family to live in poverty, to his memory different as what he was used to, when living with his father and mother (apperantly Michelangelo succeeded not to share his financial concerns with his children).

BayHstA HR II Fasz. 467

For almost two decades he disappears out of the archives.

From 1658 till 1692 he was lutenist at the bayern Hof.

Die Familie Galilei in München
Karl Trautmann - Jahrbuch Münchener Geschichte 1889

The dwarf Jörgl was taught to play the guitar in 1661 by Alberto and he learned a second dwarf how to play the violin.

For a couple of years he purchased strings for the chambre instruments of the Hofkapel.

Rudolph and Ferdinand di Lasso  were among the earliest known members.
Music, Piety, and Propaganda: The Soundscapes of Counter-Reformation Bavaria by Alexander J. Fisher 2013

Alberto was a member of the Franciscan Cordeliers. Once a month they sang hymns in a public procession.

Sometimes spelled otherwise:
Cosmas or Cosmo

Cosimo *08 december 1621 - son of Michelangelo. 

The music director of the Munich Jesuits was Georg Victorinus.
After losing most of his family by the plague he stayed with his brother Alberto and attended the school of the Jesuits.

EN XVII. 3643 Giacomo Porro a Galileo Galilei 08 gennaio 1638

In 1638 Giacomo Porro wrote that the brother of Alberto was on his way to Italy. As a page Cosimo did have a scholarship payed by Signor Residenti di Spagna to study violin and lute.

EN XVIII. 4073 Alberto Cesare Galilei a Galileo in Firenze. Monaco, 1 novembre 1640.

Regensburg is the town where Johannes Kepler died.

We can catch another spark of his story from a letter by his brother. Alberto proudly writes that Cosimo returned to Regensburg with his patron who loves him like his own son and plays the lute, spinet and guitar and speaks German, French, Italian and Latin.

Michelangelo Galilei in Monaco a Galileo in Firenze
EN XIII. 1829 14 luglio 1627
EN XIII. 1863 22 marzo 1628
EN XIII. 1867 29 marzo 1628
EN XIII. 1876 27 aprile 1628

Tutta L'arte Della Trombetta Complete English Translation, biography and Critical Commentary by Edward H.Tarr 2011

Michelangelo could no longer afford the house he lived in since his arrival in 1607 and moved in 1627 to a cheaper house.

There were five mouths to feed. Who were the other two (besides Mechilde, Michelangelo and Massimiliana), lute students, servants or children of Massimiliana?

Mechilde *1612 † 1634 - daughter of Michelangelo played harpsichord and lute.

Mechilde had a bright mind. S
he learned Latin amongs other things and was very populair with her Jesuit teachers who came from Rome.

Mechilde was taken out by Michelangelo from the convent for good reasons (the regime was extremely strict).

In 1627 she lives together quietly and lovingly with her father and her aunt Massimiliana Bendinelli (who took care of the household) in Munich. There were fives mouths to feed.

According to Tarr Cesare and Elena Bendinelli had two daugthers and two sons. Chiara (who in 1627 - 28 took care of the household of Galileo in Florence and had brought her other children besides Mechilde) was married to Michelangelo. She had a sister Catharina Bendinelli who was Chief chamber servant of Maria de Medici.

id Cesare and Elana had three daughters? Or is Catharina the same person as Massimiliana (and was Michelangelo's household runned by the former Chief chamber servant of the Queen of France)?

EN XII. 1422  Michelangelo Galilei a Galileo in Firenze. Monaco 10 ottobre 1619
Vincenzo - son of Michelangelo *28 may 1610 He was instructed with diligence by his father.

At the age of eight he performed with great succes for the duke and eight princes.

He was creative: as a young boy he showed sculptural talent making a horse and carriage and other things out of wax without any tools.

EN XIII. 1805 Michelangelo a Galileo in Firenze 05 maggio 1627

In may 1627 Michelangelo had not yet made a decision where Vincenzo had to study, but thought it would be Rome. Rome could deliver for the music service at the Duke's chapel what France couldn't because they didn't play that kind of music.

Die Familie Galilei in München
Karl Trautmann - Jahrbuch Münchener Geschichte 1889

In 1627 Vincenzo was in Italy studying lute, theorbo, latin and Italic writing on the base of a stipendium payed by the duke of Bayern.

EN XIII. 1791 Benedetto Castelli a Galileo in Firenze. Roma 1° agosto 1626
Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv HZR 77, 78, 78

At first the plan was that he could stay at the house of Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger in Rome.

Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (ca. 1581 – 1651) : Betrachtungen zu seinem Leben und Umfeld, seiner Vokalmusik und seinem praktischen Material zum Basso continuo-Spiel, Anne Marie Dragosits page 121
It seems like he did not have taken lessons by Kapsperger himself.

Kapsberger Rolf Lislevand  Booklet CD 1993 Libro Quarto d'Intavolatura di Chitarone Roma 1640 : "his works are lacking the qualities that generally characterize a good composer. No musical discourse is built up."

Kapsberger was admired as an musician, as a composer he is a one of his kind.

EN XIII. 1852 Benedetto Castelli a Galileo Galilei
The plan changed for reasons unknown and Vincenzo was brought to Benedetto Castelli. His counterpoint teacher was Paolo Agostini, chaplemaster at the San Pietro.

Which could be Giuseppe Baglioni who served Urban VIII or Andrea Falconieri who served Cardinal Ludoviski.

His lute teacher was the most eminent lutenist of Rome, but Vincenzo could not see what his father couldn't teach him.

EN XIII. 1880 Francesco Crivelli a Galileo Galilei

In his lessons he relied on four sonatas which he knew out of memory.

In Munich it was difficult to prevent spread and performance of blasfemic songs on the streets. More effort was expended on interdiction and censorship than on prosecuting individual singers.
Music, Piety, & Propaganda - Alexander J. Fisher 2014 page 222

"Bleibt noch einen Blick auf Vincenzo zu werfen, den man aus heutiger Sicht nicht so streng verurteilen würde, wie es seine damalige Umgebung tat." Michelagnolo Galilei und seine Familie Musik in Bayern 2006 Band 71 Dieter Kirsch page 23

Vincenzo explored the freedom of getting drunk with some friends and singing mocking songs. It was not the time nor was Rome a good place for a mocking bird to jibe religion.

In Rome he felt alone and abandoned by his family, behaved accordingly - and as a result was abandoned and left alone.

Biographers regularly parrots Michelangelo's sons were difficult. This is a moral verdict framing Alberto, Cosimo and Vincenzo - and is grounded in Vincenzo's experience in Rome.

From the letters Michelangelo wrote to Galileo we can trace how important the musical education of his sons was for him - he never lost this interest out of his sight, no matter how high the tensions would go.

EN XIII, 1889 Benedetto Castelli a Galileo

In june 1628 Vincenzo was spending his last days in Rome copying musik by hand.

EN XIV. 2161 Maurelio Gigli a Andrea Cioli

In 1631 he was trying his luck in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

EN XVI. 3331
EN XVIII. 4073 Alberto Cesare Galilei  in Monaco a Galileo in Firenze.

Vincenzo took a job at the service of a prince in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as virtuoso lutenist and singer. Alberto informs us in 1640 that he hadn’t heard of him for two years.

Michelagnolo Galilei und seine Familie note 89 Musik in Bayern 2006 Band 71 Dieter Kirsch

Galileo Galilei e Il mondo Polacco Karolina Targosz 2002

According to Polinski Vincenzo would have led the chapel of Janusz Tyszkiewicz.

The royal secretary Girolamo Pinocci paid Vincenzo's travel bills to Warschau (februari and march 1645) and Lublin (juli 1647).

Being difficult: Lemma Michelangelo Wikipedia 7 march 2007

Patterns repeats: many members of the Galilei family ended up on one's own. Their conflictues beheavior sepparated them and reconcilliation & being stubborn aren't an easy mixure. But the "difficult" children of Michelangelo made the best out of it and didn't do it so bad.

Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (ca. 1581 – 1651) : Betrachtungen zu seinem Leben und Umfeld, seiner Vokalmusik und seinem praktischen Material zum Basso continuo-Spiel, Anne Marie Dragosits page 99

Vincenzo - son of Galileo *12 August 1606 † 21 January 1649 was a poet, lutenist and inventor of musical instruments. When he was twenty he became a teacher for singers in the service of the Barberini. Presumably he also taught music theory.

In 1639, at age 17, Vincenzo Viviani became the student, secretary and assistant of Galileo.
According to Viviani this Vincenzo made a lute with such art that, playing it so excellently, he extracted continuous and goliardic voices from the cords as if they were issuing from an organ's pipes.

As an inventor he must have loved the stories of his uncle about the music boxes Cesare Bendinelli had made.

Vincenzo - son of Galileo, and Michelangelo had several things in common and their relationship with Galileo sometimes followed identical roads. Both were alienated for years for the same reasons.

The son of Galileo
The son of Michelangelo

In biographies both are sometimes confused with Vincenzo Galilei - the father of Galileo and Michelangelo.

Galilei and Galilei created doppelgangers: Vincenzo Galilei and Vincenzo Galilei sometimes get mixed up in secondary literature.

Vincenzo Galilei's experiences in Rome were not that much different as the one from Vincenzo Galilei.

According to Antonio Favaro - director of the Edizione Nazionale of Galileo's works.
Galileo at Work: His Scientific Biography Stillman Drake 1978 page 449

A. Favaro, Amici e corrispondenti di Galileo Galilei , XII, V. G ., in Atti del R. Istituto veneto di scienze, lettere e arti , LXIV (1904-05) pp. 1349 -1377

N. Vaccalluzzo, Le rime inedite di VG, in Galileo letterato e poeta, Catania Catania in 1896, pp. 139 - 148

D. Ciampoli, Nuovi studi letterari e bibliografici , Rocca San Casciano 1900  pp. 171 - 216

The poetry of Vincenzo was to be of extremely ingenious organization.

About 3500 verses in autograph cod. 2749 dated 1647 titled "Rime diverse di Vincenzo Galilei" are kept in the Biblioteca Riccardiana di Firenze.

These poems play with the classic Renaissance models of Dante and Petrarca.

Autograph cod.  It., IX, 138 (= 6749) under the name Licinio Fulgenzio Nej in the Biblioteca nazionale Marciana di Venezia is also written by Vincenzo. This volume dates back to 1648 and contains eightyfour prophecies.

The poetry is witty, the verses have a concise form and are demarkated by lambent rules.

They can be appriciated as
l'art pour l'art avant la lettre & at the same time can be taken very serious in its implication, consideration and perception of how the world turns.

A major role is given to the music of chance.

The literal interpretation of a piece of poetic imagery can lead to absurd results.The Florentine academy asked Galileo to calculate the exact dimensions of hell, based on Dante's description. Galileo calculated that the roof of hell would have to be 600 kilometres thick.
Len Fisher -
Galileo 2016

Galileo soon realised he errored. Scaling up the proportions of Florentine's Dome to a geographic level has consequences. Augmentation means change.

In 1580 Vincenzo - father of Galileo and Michelangelo, presented the first experiment with the stile recitativo before the Florentine Camerata. The text chosen was an exerpt from the Divine Comedy.
Elena Abramov-Van Rijk / Singing Dante 2014

Laura Riccioni, Galilei Vincenzio in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 51 (1998)
What does it mean when it is said Vincenzo invented a lute? Confusion of parroted cliches or valuable scientific information grounded on a reliable source?

Hans Leo Hassler von Roseneck was a German pupil of Andrea Gabrieli who instructed him in composition & was strongly influenced by Orlando di Lasso. He was Hofdiener to the court in Prague during the time Johannes Kepler worked there.

Did he invent a lute like Galileo invented the telescope: does replacement of invented by improved connects it with the facts of history? Or is it wiser to say that Vincenzo was very capable of constructing his own lute and that he had the mindset of a clockmaker which explains why he enjoyed building mechanical music boxes like Hassler or Bendinelli?

Essays on the history of Mechanical Engineering - 2015 page 289

Vincenzo Viviani and Vincenzo Galilei were part of a debate in the 17th century about the primacy of the invention and construction of the first pendulum clock.

Buy one and have a pendulum to put next to your new violin.

Galileo and Vincenzo discussed how to learn to construct a pendulum in 1641.  Vincenzo drew a blueprint of the pendulum invented by Galilei and in 1649 began construction. A smith made the parts, Vincenzo did the finishing touch: making the teeth for the gears and assembling it.

Tick tick tick tick

He died before the clock ticked reliably.

D. Sobel, Galileo’s Daughter: a Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love, New York, Walker & Co., 1999

EN XIII. 1939 Maria Celeste a Galileo. The Galilo Project
D. Sobel translated chitaronne as guitar.

Hemelse boodschappen NRC 31 december 1999 H. Brandt Corstius: "Couldn't Galileo have been more brave about the fate of his daughters?"

Francesca Caccini at the Medici Court: Music and the Circulation of Power 2009 Suzanne G. Cusick

Primo Libro delle Musiche Francesca Caccini 1618 Florence

Celeste amore Maria Francesca Caccini page 17 Maria, dolce Maria: surprising harmonics and profound word painting.

Costellazione della Pleiadi Galileo Galilei

Never before seen stars leaped out of the darkness Galilo Galilei

Carolyn Raney credits Caccini with creating strong and active bass lines, particular individuality, lyric beauty and great variety.
Francesca Caccini, Musician to the Medici, and Her Primo Libro 1971

Virginia - daughter of Galileo *13 August 1600 † 02 April 1634 played chitarronne.

In 1609, when she was still a child in Padua, Galileo had set a telescope in the garden behind his house and turned it skyward.

In the words of Dava Sobel:  "Never-before-seen stars leaped out of the darkness to enhance familiar constellations; the nebulous Milky Way resolved into a swath of densely packed stars, mountains and valleys pockmarked the storied perfection of the Moon; and a retinue of four attendant bodies traveled regularly around Jupiter like a planetary system in miniature."

In 1616 Virginia became a nun and adopted the name Maria Celeste, in a gesture that acknowledged her father's fascination with the stars. 

Virginia might have followed private music lessons taught by Francesca Caccini, who is known to have participated in the conversazione at Galileo's home. Performances of Francesca's "little girls" (princesses, ladies-in-waiting, female court personal and various other pupils) are mentioned in reports of activities at the Medici court.

Francesca Cacinni was a virtuoso on the lute, guitar and harpsichord, poettes and gifted composer serving the Medici court. The French King said Francesca was a better singer than anyone in France. In 1614 she was the Medici court's most highly paid musician. She was a master of dramatic harmonic surprise.

Francesca's book of 1618 reveals her to have taken extraordinary care over the notation of her music. Especially the ornamentation is written-out brilliantly. She was cited by contemporaries for her training in counterpoint.

Maria Celeste taught canto firmo to the novices and had daily duties with the choir.

Her chitarronne, a gift from Galileo, had collected dust in 1629.

Spelled otherwise:

Michael Engl Gallilei & Michael Angl Gallileis
by his widow Maria Klara (Anna Chiara)
Michaal Agnolo
& Michael Angeli Gallilai by Maximilian I
Michaëlis Angeli by Georg Victorinus
Michaeli Archangeli and Michaelis Archangeli by Johannes Donfrid
Michael Agnolo by Wolfgang Caspar Printz
Michelagnolo by Virginia; Galileo; Livia; Lorenzo Petrangeli; Il primo libro; Contrapunti a due voci
Michelagnoli by Georg Draud
by his mother Giulia Ammannati
Michel Angelo by Girolamo Mercuriale
MichelAngelo Galilei fiorentin by Besard
Michelangelo Gallilei by Aurelio Gigli
Michele Angelo Galilei by Johann Gottfried Walther
M.Gallileus Italus by Georg Leopold Fuhrmann

Ten children:
Michelagnolo Galilei und seine Familie 2006 Band 71 Dieter Kirsch page 12

Michelangelo (sometimes spelled otherwise) brother of Galileo *11.25 hour.minute 18 December 1575 Firenze † 03 January 1631 Munich. Singer, composer, player of the viola, lute & theorbo.

A life with ample misery.

He lost his father at young age. His mother had a terrible temper, she was prickly and quarrelsome and never tired of pointing out that she came from a very noble family from which also came the famous cardinal Jacopo of Pavia and that they have to live accordingly in splendor (her father had the habit of beating his family when he returned from the tavern).
Michelangelo's obligations as a young man to contribute to his sisters dowries surpassed his year income manifold.

He did not improve a tool that would change the world
Three of his ten children died young. He banded his oldest son.
The war had a devestating effect on his circumstances. War taxes caused inflation which led to a tenfold increase in living costs and he desperately asked his brother many times for help.
plague hunted and got him.

19th, 20th & 21th century literature (in the many biograpies about his brother) did not spare him.

Some assume that the financial burden to provide for his family urged Galileo to make inventions like the proportional compass and the thermometer to earn money.

Michelangelo Galilei was a first-rate composer.

Contrapunti a due voci (Giorgio Marescotti, Florence 1584) Vincenzo Galilei.

Didactic music in printed Italian collections of the renaissance and baroque 1521 -1744 Andrea Bornstein 2001

He received a thorough training in counterpoint and composing by his father Vincenzo. Michelangelo wrote the dedication for a didactic book his father composed. 

According to Bornstein "these duos would be performed solmizing and/or playing a viol; Galilei uses the generic term ‘viola’, which could mean both a viola da gamba and a viola da braccio (viola) or even a plugged instrument, such a ‘viola da mano’, i.e. a Spanish vihuela."

EN X. 49
Livia Galilei a Galileo 1593

Booklett CD 1988 Paul Beier Michelagnolo Galilei page 11

POLSKI WĄTEK W ŻYCIU I SPRAWIE GALILEUSZA Polish thread in Life and Question of Galileo, "Galileo Galilei e il mondo polacco" by Bronislaw Bilinski (1969) with supplements, Karolina Targosz
Partly translated

Euridice: among the singers were Francesco Rasi and Francesca Caccini.

In 1593 he left for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This resulted out of Galileo's contacts - the quality of Michelangelo's much wanted sonata must have played a role also.

Michelangelo returned from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to Padua in 1599 and 1606 (possibly on the run for an outbreak of the plague in Lithuania in 1605 or the threatening insurrection by the nobility against the King).

On his returns he lived at his brothers house in Padua, playing lute and composing music. Attempts were made to introduce him to the court of the Medici - without result.

In october 1600 Marie de Medici married King Henry IV of France in Florence. Part of the festivities was an opera, the earliest to survive. It was composed by Peri in the new style Vincenzo Galilei had envisioned.

In 1600 Galileo financied Michelangelo's journey with 200 crowns. Michelangelo's year income would be 300 crowns (200 ducats) plus perquisites.

Upon arrival in the Polish_Lithuanian Commonwealth Galileo expected Michelangelo immediatley to pay 200 crowns for Livia's wedding outfit, 600 crowns more in cash and 200 crowns a year for a five year period for the dowries of his sisters.

Michelangelo didn't respond for a long period to Galileo's letters. In 1608 he wrote: "I cannot pay the 1,400 crowns to get rid of the debt to our two brothers-in-law. You should have given my sisters a dowry in conformity with the size of my purse and not in conformity with your own ideas of what is right and fitting. I sent you fifty crowns and would do more if I could."
EN X. 174

This actually makes sense. Galileo had a scanty stipend in those years but in biographies is praised for his generosity to provide silken bed-hangings and black velvet dresses with light blue damask (which costs a fortune) for his sisters Virginia and Livia.

Driving force behind keeping up appearances: Guilia Ammannanti - mother of Galileo, Michelangelo, Virginia and Livia - did not have harmonic family life as her primary concern.

The Lithuanian Roots of Igor Stravinsky by William J. Morrison 2013

On his second journey in august 1600 to Polonia Michelangelo travelled with three lutes and two copies of the Dialogo della musica written by his father.

We have almost no facts about his years in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Here it might be noteworthy to observe that in 16th century Lithunian folkmusic a unique and significant form of three-voiced polyphony was very populair, called the sutartinės (meaning universal harmony).
It took hold of the listener with its somberness.

They were sung by women, but men performed instrumental versions on wind instruments or the
traditional kanklės, a plucked string instrument.

Special characteristic of this music was its bitonality.

This challenged musical axioms of Michelangelo's father (concepts about centre, dissonance and consonance), who had written that many lessons could be learned from simple songs of the populace, putting it to a test.

The poetry of the sutartinės is very visual.
Michelangelo might have heard this tunes for 14 years on the streets, at gatherings and weddings.

(Three centuries later Igor Stravinsky got his hands in Warsaw on an anthologie with 1,785 sutartinės wedding songs and borrowed five for The Rite of Spring - widely credited for popularizing bitonality. Stravinsky was open about borrowing number 157 Tu mano seserėle: You my sister, a song with wedding advice: do not marry above your position.)

The (Rite of) Winter at the turn of the century was one of the coldest of the last thousend years and Michelangelo's sister Livia desperately wanted to escape that other force of nature: her mother, but was determent not to go to a convent. Getting married was her way out and that came with a price: a dowry had to be paid.

The marriage contract dated 01 january 1601 of his sister Livia noted that Michelagnolo lived in Litauen.

A letter of Galileo
dated 20 november 1601 is addressed to Michelangelo in the city of Vilnius.

Maximilian I Decretum

Michelangelo came into the service of the duke of Bayern in 1607. The title instrumentist meant player of more then one instrument.

A House Divided: Wittelsbach Confessional Court Cultures in the Holy Roman Empire, C. 1550-1650 (Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions) Andrew L. Thomas 2010
The Italian scene in Munich had its genesis in the court orchestra lead by Orlando di Lasso. The court became a leading centre for late renaissance music at the end of the 16th century. Dutch counterpoint, Italian vivacity, German gravity and French gallantry were blended.

Cesare Bendinelli: Some Recent Biographical Discoveries, Renato Meucci 2012 Historic Brass Society Journal vol. 24

Payed lutenist under Lassus:
Lienhart Reillstorffer 1552 - 68
Hans Kolman 1561 -70
Cesare Cremonese 1573
Josquin Salem 1574 - 75
Cosimo Bottrigari 1573 - 81

Lassus reorganised the ensemble and Italian instrumentalists invaded the court, including some lutenists.

The splendor of the flourishing musical chapel and chamber music of the court of Munich was unmatched. Two styles bloomed: traditional polyphonic music and the new style of accompanied monody introduced by Lassus's sons.

There is no mention of Michelangelo's involvement in the chapel. He played the theorbo - but no remarks about thorough bass accompaniment appear in his letters.

Ein ältest Orchester 1530 - 1980 Hans-Joachim Nösselt
During his appointment there were several music directors: Ferdinand I di Lasso 1602 - 1609, Jacomo Perlatio 1609 - 1612, Bernardino Borlasca 1611 - 1625, Ferdinand II di Lasso 1616 - 1629.

EN X. 174 Michelangelo a Galileo 1608

Galileo gave him cases for his lutes, which he is eager to receive because he has to play often during lent in concert.

Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv HZR 57, 447r
Badua - Padua: Another cold, same scribe?

In 1608 the court paid Michelangelo a total of 110 Gulden, 30 Kreuzer for 2 Tijorba, vnd zwaÿ Lautten, so vom Badua herkhom[m]en.

EN X.354 1610 Massimiliano a Galileo

EN XI.522 1611 Michelangelo a Galileo

Michelangelo did own a telescopes made by his brother. He demonstrated the working in 1610 to the duke - who had first tried the device himself unsuccesfully while it was heavy snowing & complained he saw nothing:  "di non haver visto niente".

The Six-Cornered Snowflake
Johannes Kepler
1611 A special case of the general problem of the genesis of forms.

It comes from heaven and lookes like a star.

Kepler recognizes a problem, discusses several solutions, rejects them all, and passes the problem to be solved in the future.

René Descartes would take up that challenge.

When Wacker von Wackenfels found out about Galileo’s telescope results he raced across Prague to tell Kepler. Wacker “told me the story of the dicovering of four new planets orbiting Jupiter from his carriage in front of my house,” the astonished Kepler wrote. "Overcome with joy he scarcely managed to talk, and I to listen."

In 1611 Kepler published a pamphlet about snowflakes and nothing, offered as a New Year gift to Wacker von Wackenfels. (Nix = snowflake in Latin and nothing in German.)

EN XIX S.197
Michelangelo and la sua famiglia Anna Chiara and Vincenzo travelled to Padua and Venice in january 1611.

EN XI. 522

In 1612 Michelangelo was teaching two students.

Cesare Bendinelli: Some Recent Biographical Discoveries, Renato Meucci 2012 Historic Brass Society Journal vol. 24
According to guild practice instrumentalists were allowed to instruct one or two students. The mentees paid for schooling and room, living in the house of the master.

Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv HZR 63, 530r
In 1614 Michelangelo instructed Elias Helm, a choirboy, in theorbo.

EN XII. 1271

Again two students are mentioned in a letter written in 1617.

Testudo Gallo-Germanica
Suplementum folii page 23 & 29
Georg Leopold Fuhrmann Nürnberg 1615

Hortus Musicalis Novus
Elias Mertel Strasbourg 1615

In 1617 two toccata’s of Michelangelo were published in the
Novus Partus by Jean-Baptiste Besard Augsburg

How modern or old-fashioned would the music of the young, eager and talented Michelangelo – aged twenty in 1595 have sounded like?

Like the compositions we know of, printed for the first time in 1615 in two anthologies – twenty years later?

The first piece of Michelangelo to appear in print - the Tocata page 23 Testudo - is squeezed in in a chapter with canzoni by another outstanding composer: Hans Leo Hassler. (At Rudolfs court in Prague Hassler experimented with automatic instruments.

Michelangelo and his father Vincenzo are the only members of the Galilei family of whom we have scores which can be ascribed.

Les sources manuscrites de la musique pour luth sur les "Accords Nouveaux" (vers 1624–vers 1710) : catalogue commenté François-Pierre Goy éd. par Andreas Schlegel
Let us adjust our lenses and take a closer look at Michelangelo’s music.

Fileae Jerusalem (using moveable do), Victorinus, Georg [Hrsg.]: Siren Coelestis 1616 & 1622

The motet was included in an anthology by Johannes Donfrid 1623

Celestial Sirens and Nightingales Alexander Fisher The Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music (JSCM) 2008 References 54 and 56

Printers in Munich

In 1616 Michelangelo delivered a motet for three sopranos for an anthology compiled by the director of the Munich Jesuits Georg Victorinus.

The three voiced motet starts with repeated notes and a descending fourth (the opening motiv of a canzona - chanson in French).

It was printed by Anna Berg in Munich and financed by her husband Johannes Hertzroy from Ingolstadt.

Ten years later troop movements associated with the Thirty Years War carried the plague to Italy. Series of outbreaks of the bubonic plague ravaged Italy and spread north of the alpine region in 1629 – 1631.

EN XII. 1422

EN XVI. 3331 La gran peste killed Michelangelo

Grab Michelangelo was buried on the Friedhof an der Frauenkirche München.

The start of the Thirty Years War in 1618 and the reduction of his duties as a result gave Michelangelo opportunity to composite a book with his music for lute.

According to Michelangelo if the only advantage of the book would be to show the world what he was capable of, it would be worth the effort and the money spend.

The money spend is Galileo's. We have no record of Galileo's opinion on Michelangelo's view. There is a gap of letters for seven years. When resumed, you get the impression that in previous years there has been no contact.

The historical importance of François Dufault and his influence on musicians outside France. Tim Crawford Paper Paris 1998

Michelangelo Galilei and Esaias Reusner Lute Society of America. Paul Beier Quarterly, 46/2 2011

An unknown source concerning Esaias Reusner Junior from the Music Collection Department of Wrocław University Library Grzegorz Joachimiak Interdisciplinary Studies in Musicology 11, 2012

Advantage of Michelangelo's book must have been letting other courts (Vilnius, Florence, Paris) know what he could - however it didn't brought him an other position.

Based on stylistic features François Dufault (Paris) and Esaias Reusner (Vilnius) can be counted among Michelangelo's intellectual heirs.

The watermark of the London copy  has a saltcellar motif connected to the city of Au near Munich. Introduction to Il Primo Libro Claude Chauvel Minkhoff 1988

Michelangelo didn’t want to leave the city to supervise the printing, this would harm the musical education of Vincenzo, so the printing was taken to Munich.

Bibliotheca Librorum Germaniorum Classica  Geord Draud Musikalische Bücher 1625
Page 743 
On the same page: Mylius.

Munich’s book trade demanded a license to print and sell and Hertzroy is mentioned in Georg Draud’s catalogue as seller.

The book was sold in folianten: the buyer had to bring it to a binder to make a book out of the sheets.

Two printed copies survived:
London K.3.m.21 and Krakow G140

Both have a doppelganger: a handwritten copy of London K.3.M.21 is CH-Bfenyves Pauer Privatsammlung Albert Fenyves Frontespizio

Krakow G140 is bound with Johann Daniel Mylius Thesaurus Gratiarum 1622. Besides the copy it is bound with, 38 pieces of Il Primo Libro are included in the Thesaurus.

The Thesaurus pieces are in a different pattern of beats, showing different groupings. Augmentation changes the view.

Mylius was lutenist of the Hauptkirche in Frankfurt. He had settled as Korrektor in Buchdruck, which seems unlikely, taken into account the tsunami of mistakes flushing through the pages of the Thesaurus.

Troop movements at the end of WOII caused Krakow G140 to be out of sight for decades.

Overview on all sources.

Passemezzo Antico U. Meyer

Although phrasing the seemingly light footed dances can be as demanding as the multi voiced toccata, there is a difference in degree of technical difficulty of Michelangelo's survived music before publication of Il Primo Libro & afterwards.

An explanation might be that the music (after) in the hand of Albrecht Werl en Aegidius Rettenwert is composed for the education of his pupils, and the music in the anthologies (before) is for showing the world what he is capable of.

Rettenwert enriched Michelangelo's surviving works with specials forms: a ballet and an intrada (an opening piece).

In 1870 it was stated that some say Michelangelo's book was a dissertation on the flight of swallows. The Private Life of Galileo 1870
Macmillan page 135.

This may indeed be the case:
English Collins Dictionary - English Definition & Thesaurus 2000 A flight of swallows:
- a soaring mental journey above or beyond the normal everyday world
- a journey through space

IL Primo Libro d'intavolatura di livto di Michelagnolo Galilei Nobile fiorentino Livtista del' Sig.r Dvca Massimiliano di Baviera was published in 1620.

The front specifies: nuouamente composto e dato in luce in Monaco di Baviera.
Newly composed in Munich: based on this description we can deduce that his output as composer before his arrival in Bayern did not found its way in this book.

The preface mentions: "be careful when playing in b dur to tune the eighth course with the e in the tenor and when playing in b mol with the D of the same string, which is an octave lower."

The music is written for a lute with ten courses and ten frets on the neck.

The tablature used is French with basses noted as ciphers for the four lowest courses.

Sonate can be understood as instrumental music - in opposition to cantate: for voice.

The toccata are classic Venetian: opening slow and alternating passage-work with fugal episodes. They are an inspiring source of motives for the dance pieces.

Every piece has its own page. The tonal arrangements of the pieces practically results in the concepts of the suite.

Ten groups consist of a toccata and dance pieces: gagliarde, correnti and volte. The last two
groups are variations on a bass foundation: passemessi and saltarelli.

Long arches of melody are conveyed despite the unsustained tones.
Long melody lines, more suggested as sounded, are a major mark of the lute’s influence in the history of music.

The use of dissonances, embellishments and tonality is very personal.

The contrast between high and low lying passages and the craftsmanship of counterpoint are striking. Vincenzo would have been proud if he could hear this.

The structure of the dances is non-strophic. The irregularity of the number of measures gives a sensation of freedom and unpredictability.

The AA BB form of the dances is a shift from the renaissance flow of melodies. Despite the repeats every passage is fresh and never the result of a template.

The suggesting of several voices with just one, called the broken style, is elaborated masterly.

There is an awareness of unity throughout the whole libro.

There is a sense that something deep and meaningful is communicated.

This music is a journey of discovery.

Michelangelo's brother was also a discoverer.

"being most rich in invention": the only historical source referring to Galileo as a composer.
Racconto istorico della vita di Galileo  Vincenzio Vivianni 1654

Galileo*15 February 1564 † 08 January 1642 played keyboard and lute, with the example of his father's teaching so excellently, that he often found himself competing with the best in Florence and Pisa, being most rich in invention on that instrument, exceeding Vincenzo in gentleness and grace, which he kept till his last days.

Booklet CD page 11 Michelangelo Galilei - Paul Beier 1988

EN X. 50  Giulia Ammannati Galilei a Galileo in Padova 29 maggio 1593.

Guilia Ammannati *1538 † September 1620 was cold and crazy:

Weird-mom worries  Moon Man What Galilei saw Adam Gopnik 2013 New Yorker magazine

The brothers had their quarrels. In 1593 their mother Guilia Ammannati wrote that Michelangelo was angry and annoyed because Galileo gave sonate of Michelangelo to someone who sent princes at their door, asking for more.

Would Monsu mentioned in this letter and the composer of music Michelangelo is searching for, be René Saman? Monsu being shortage for monsigneur?

July 1627 Michelangelo - on the run for the war, took his family from Munich to Florence to move in with Galileo. His family would stay there for nearly a year.

Galileo, Virginia, Vincenzo, Michelangelo, Vincenzo, Mechilde, Alberto, Cosimo

With so many skilful hands around the house a reason appears why no copy of
Michelangelo's Libro Primo survived in Galileo's library: it could have been taken by a family member for use.

Little evidence exists about what manuscripts Galilei may have owned. Crystall Hall - Galileo's reading 2013 page 29

Galileo Engineer Matteo Valleriani 2010 page 23

Two generations of musicians in the Galilein family lived closely together or nearby at that time. All inquiring minds who could lay their hands on or compiling the manuscript.

"I like the idea that this could be the only remaining piece of lute music composed by the young Galileo Galilei".

Galileo was born in 1564. How old did the young Galileo has to be to find the equilibrium between too modern and too old-fashioned? Twenty-five and kicking? Michelangelo and Galileo differ nine years.
Thirty-five and the clock still ticking?

When the clock of the convent of Galileo's daughter broke down he reassembled some parts before it was send back to the clockmaker in Munich, where Michelangelo had commisioned its manufacture.

Renaissance Genius Galileo & his legacy 2009 David Whithouse page 206

At the end of his life even his father's lute went untouched as he remembered the sunny days and madrigals of his youth.

Vincenzo Galilei's Fronimo Centre d'Études Supérieures de la Renaissance: Collection 'Épitome musical'. Minerve, Paris and Tours, 2001 By Philippe Canguilhem

Vincenzo*circa 1520 † 02 July 1591 - father of Galileo and Michelangelo, was a lutenist, composer, bass or baritone singer and music theorist.

He composed two books of madrigals, along with music for voice and lute, much of which anticipated early Baroque music. His co-invention of
monody is often cited as leading to the use of recitative in opera. 

Zarlino was choir master at the San Marco and member of the Accademia Venetiana.

Another student of Zarlino was Claudio Merulo - the first organist at San Marco in Venice. The San Marco had two organs and Merulo and Gabrieli did duel on their instruments - improvising musical dialogues.

His Florentine patron Giovanni de Bardi sent him to study with one of to the leading theorists of the day, Gioseffo Zarlino.

Bardi wrote in 1634 that Vincenzo had un tenore di buona voce e intelligibile. He might have been mistaken about the tenore: the intabulated reductions in Fronimo are for a bass or baritone voice.

The title page of the Contrapunti a due voci speficies that the canto is for tenore. The composing took only a few days (two duos were composed at least sixteen years earlier, since they were included in the first edition of the Fronimo).

Stillman Drake The role of music in Galileo’s experiments, Scientific American 1975

Vincenzo adopted an empirical approach to acoustics.

Studies in the History of Italian Music and Music History by Claude V. Palisca 1994 page 367

He had the habit of supplementing personal copies of his books with additional arrangements, some of these are in a different hand.

By this kind of patronage the composer hoped for a substantial contribution to pay for the publication.

In 1568 Vincenzo dedicated a book titled Fronimo to Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria. Fronimo gives a clear view on the teaching lessons and method he imparted.

He states that we must very carefully examine what the intention of the composer is. His ideal was the union of music and words through monody and poetry.

Music was to be viewed above all as a branch of rhetoric.

Dialogo della musica antica et della moderna

His book Dialogo della musica antica et della moderna published in 1581, is full of new ideas.

1589 Discorso intorno all'uso delle dissonanze MS Gal I fol 136

The complex, well-ordered art of counterpoint was admirably suited to purely instrumental music, to which it should be confined.

Vincenzo Galilei's Counterpoint Treatise: A Code for the Seconda pratica by Claude V. Palisca 1994
His treatise on harmony is the first treatise of harmony in the usual modern sense. As teacher and theorist he was up to date.

Vincenzo Galilei and Music: Some Socio-Culturel and Accoustical Discussions by Carla Bromberg & Anna Maria Alfonso-Goldfarb

In four books Vincenzo wrote about the importance and necessity of knowing musical theory - his children and grandchildren were well versed in this area.

The Galilei family
9 or 10 musicians 18 or 20 hands

These are the talented musicians that qualify as member of the Galilei family as possible composer of the ricercare.

The ricercare

Lute tablature A ricercare which could be composed by galilei


Staff notation transcribed and transposed

Flac file

Piano reduction A ricercare which could be composed by Galilei

EN X. 50

What happened to the documents of Vincenzo – father of Galileo and Michelangelo, after his death? Did they immediately came into the possession of Galileo who lived in Pisa in 1591 or did the papers stay with Guilia Ammannati in Florence (and were Michelangelo lived and composed music until he left for Poland in 1593)?

Dinko Fabris states the manuscript of the ricercare is written in a different hand. The writing hand is not necessarily equal to the composing hand. Is every musician a composer? 

The seventh course is struck once in the piece, and the eight only plucked twice, giving the impression of not fully exploring all the (new) possibilities of eight courses, making it not implausible that the piece was originally written for an instrument with six courses.

Sounding the canzon subject in the low register on the notes A2 D2 G2
(as one would expext from the older Michelangelo)  does not happen. Did the contumacious melodies of the ricercare flew out his lyrical quill?

Canzon subject: Keyboard Music Before 1700  Alexander Silbiger 2004 page 250

Could for example Alberto Cesare have written down this music composed by let us say Vincenzo - father of Galileo and Michelangelo, handed over to him by family tradition, and modernising it a bit (octavating two basnotes downwards in measure 17), during a stay in Italy?

Or did Michelangelo play with the populair canzon subject, inspired by the latest books of Terzi and Gabrieli, in the period 1599 till august 1600 when he was in Padua?

Galileo used to stay the weekends in Venice when he lived in Padua in the years 1592 - 1610. (In juli 1609 in Venice he heared about the invention of the telescope and immediately was exited about its potential.) Did he saw or heard the organists at the San Marco play and bought some scores which trickered him to improvise on keyboard or lute?

What proof or clues, if any, do we have? Did non family members have access to the manuscript? What story does this sheet of paper tell? What was the intention of the composer? Can we translate the rhetoric of the ricercare into words?

Galilei Vincenzio juniore
Frontespizio Carta: 1r
Galilei Vincenzio Juniore musica
Indice Carta: 2r
Musica diversa di Vincenzio Galilei Juniore

The labelling Galilei Vincenzio Juniore on the frontspice and Vincenzio Galilei Juniore at the index of the manuscript at the National Library in Florence might date from the 19thcentury.

Possessore Vincenzo Galilei

The digital index of the National Library ascribes the possession of the manoscritto to Vincenzo - son of Galileo.

We can distinguish the scribe, the composer and the owner; not necessarily the same person.

Gran padr' Carta: 3r
Il secondo libro dei madrigali a cinque voci.

Carta 3r is digitaly indexed as "Il secondo libro del madrigali a cinque voci". The text in the manuscript is more extensive and speaks of gran padr', what does that indicate?

Il suo primo 1555 & secondo libro
Carta 3r & 31 v Constanzo Porta
Il terzo & quarto libro
Carta 17v & 23r Pietro Luinej

Constanzo Porta 1529 - 1601 had studied with Adrian Willaert and was a close friend of Claudio Merulo. He was highly esteemed for his art and as a teacher & spent his final years in Padua.

The madrigals are composed by Constanzo Porta and Pietro Luinej.

Can we distract from the titles of the madrigals by Pietro Luinej a preference for Petrarca's poetry?

Galileo's library contained three titles and five editions of Petrarca. Galileo's reading -Crystal Hall 2013

Why did the scribe choose these compositions to put into reverse score?

Are we sure the ricercare is written in a different hand? Is it different when it looks different?

A finger of Galileo

Handwriting of:
1630.12.07v Vincenzo - son of Galileo
1630.12.07r Vincenzo - son of Galileo
1631.03.11 Virginia (Maria Celeste)
1633.05.02 Vincenzo - son of Galileo
1633.06.02 Vincenzo - son of Galileo
1633.08.26v Vincenzo - son of Galileo
1633.08.26r Vincenzo - son of Galileo
1636.08.01 Alberto Cesare

A broader selection of letters

We can compare the handwriting with identified handwriting. We know the hand of Vincenzo (father of Galileo and Michelangelo), Galileo (we can visit three of his fingers), Virginia, Vincenzo (son of Galileo), Michelangelo, and Alberto.

There seems to be a difference between male and female handwriting in the Galilei family: how more readable, well-kept and carefully is the handwriting of Livia Galilei - sister of Galileo and Michelangelo, Guilia Ammananti, and Virginia. Does this exclude Virginia or Mechilde as scribe of the manuscript?

The handwriting of Vincenzo - son of Galileo, looks variable.

At the end of his life Galileo's handwriting disintegrates and he became blind.

An inventory of the numbers in the letters of Michelangelo

Since the score of the ricercare is in Italian tablature and no words are penned we should search for ciphers.

Measure 03, 14, 24, 31, 39 & 40

Playing polyphony on the lute Martin Sheperd 28 june 2017

Six times a hold sign (the addition sign - tenuto) is noted.

Vincenzo Galilei did use the hold sign as a reminder to lutenists of their obligation towards polyphony.

17 copies of Fronimo 1584 survived and 8 complete and 1 incomplete version of Fronimo 1568
No identified autograph of lute tablature by Michelangelo has survived. Some Fronimo supplements might be his.

Galilei's Arrangement for Voice and Lute by Claude V. Palisca 1994 page 368

Folios 1 recto and 2 recto of the Laudau manuscript copy of Fronimo 1568 are in a different hand, although the titles are in Vincenzo's.


Another copy of Fronimo: the Riccardiana manuscript contains three instrumental pages, the third page partly in his hand.

Dialogo 1581 engravings page 71 and 78 tables of notes

Michelangelo's Libro Primo 1620 is engraved. A new printing technique for music and for the second time in history applied in a book by his father, the Dialogo of 1581.

Valerio Dorico: Music in Sixteenth-Century Rome / Suzanne G.Cusick 1981 page 92 & 93

Vincenzo's printer Valerio Dorico may not have had any financial interest in printing beyond being paid for the technical services he offered.

A difference between London K.3.m.21 and Krakow G140 is that London is printed two-sided and Krakow one-sided. This could be caused by handling the deterioration of the quality of the copper plates by the rolling process, or the quality of the available paper.

The invention of the rolling press made printing from copper plates economically feasible.

The hand-driven engraved lines in copper where as flexible and nimble as the lines drawn with a quill. It solved many problems letterpress printing techniques faced. Printers reached for producing printed music that resembled manuscripts.

Stanley Boorman, 'Printing and Publishing of Music', 'I. Printing / 1. Early Stages', The New Grove Dictionary of Music Online ed. L. Macy
Engraved music spread quickly: Florence 1581, Rome 1586, England 1612, Netherlands 1615, France and Germany 1620.

This effect can be experienced by drawing after an upside down portrait. This setup causes a decomposement of prejudices about what you see and results in mindfulness for details and better proportions which contribute to a good resemblance.

The many carefree breaks in Michelangelo's book at the end of the staves at a section of a bar seems to show that the etcher or the original scribe did not bother much or had an eye for the overall planning of the page layout.

A curious case of breaks occur in the pieces of Michelangelo in the anthology by Besard: there is plenty enough space for whole measures to be written out. Can these breaks be explained by copying the breaks after an original ten stave manuscript?

In total space of 180 staves was not used in Michelangelo's book: 18 of the 58 plates could have been spared, about 3/10 of the costs for paper, printing and plates. Paper cost were ussually 70% of the total.

The empty staves of the London copy catched 5 unique pieces composed by Michelangelo and notated by Albertus Werl.

Volta page 16 measure 7 and 8 are not repeated in the style brisé part.

A hold sign is not applied.

The repetition sign appears in many forms.

The engraver of Michelangelo's lutebook could have worked from an autograph placed in front of a mirror. This eases working in mirror writing. A side effect of working this way is that it objectifies copying exactly and suppresses own handwriting. A second hand may tell about a first.

German composers often published their music at their own expense and had a certain control in the production proces.

Michelangelo ensures us in his forword that no mistakes have been made: "every one can be assured that I have minutely checked the whole book many times and I am certain that it is perfectly correct."

A riskful claim and indeed the first page immediately undermines his words by ending in clearly messed up insecure engraved rhythm in the last measures.

Two hands full of small defects and errors in his book leaves one puzzled to what extent he was involved in proofreading and correcting.

The preface could have been written, etched and approved before the tablature was engraved a
nd the book he describes meticulously checking over and over again might have been the original manuscript.

The loose calligraphy of dedication and preface also suggests that the engraver was not a determinded perfectionis.

Striking anomalies occur in Volta 45 Primo libro 1620 measure 2 course 2 capital A and measure 16 course 6 second d has a hybrid character. Is this the first page the engraver made under supervision of Michelangelo?

A case in which comparison of signature is discussed: A very rare book New Yorker 16 december 2013 by Nicolas Schmidle

A Galileo forgery 2014

Instead of further comparing handwriting and jumping to conclusions based on similarities and differences, let’s broaden our view to some features of the ricercare.

The shape of the cipher eight in the manuscript is not rigid. It looks like the scribe hadn't decided yet how to write this number and is trying out several options, the number rather being composed of different parts than arising out of a flowing movement.

The ricercare is written for a lute with 8 courses and 8 frets on the neck.

The solitary bass notes of the 8the course (D2) measure 17 seems to come out of nowhere. What is this string marking?

CD Booklet Galilei Anthony Bailes page 12

The appendice: Gagliarde ed arie di Autori diversi Libro d'intavolatura di liuto 1584 by Vincenzo Galilei includes several pieces for seven courses

Vincenzo - father of Galileo and Michelangelo, argued against the use of a lute with more than 6 courses in 1568 and he didn’t change his mind when the quality of the new strings improved rapidly.

Michele Carrara Rome 1585
In 1584 lutes with 7 courses were the norm and in 1585 the first manifesto for a lute with 8 courses was printed in Rome.

The lute in its historical reality
Mimmo Perufo 2008

The best new strings were produced in the region between Bologna and Florence. Michelangelo preferred these even when living in Munich – a city renowned for his strings.

The young Galileo was visually gifted, if he could redo his life he would without hesitation elect to become a painter. One would presume him to visually think ahead.

A vertical line connects uninterrupted nine of the ten staves. This line was probably the first the scribe put on this sheet, presumably thinking there will be ample space to write the whole piece down.

When this turned out to be a problematic case the solution was shrinking of the handwriting (in opposition to the musical development wherein the subject is augmented to the max).

Applying the fontsize of stave ten to the whole piece means that only eight staves would have been needed.

The horizontal lines deflect downward as a right hand tends to do.

A ruler or rastrum was apparently not at hand or considered necessary.

It seems that in measure 20 some wrong notes have been removed by damaging the paper.

At the end of stave four several events occur: collision with the end of the page, (and because of that?:) the missing of a bar line, shrinking of the font and wrong notes.

Halfway stave eight the writing broadens and crashes at the end when again something wrong was written & an orbital knot was penned to erase. When we take a look at the other side of the sheet we can decipher a bit which notes (s)he penned under the knot. Maybe the scribe didn't write wrong notes but didn't want to break a bar at the end of a stave and realised to late the lengthy bar could not fit entirely.

Ink has corroded three digits in measure 69.

The unsteady horizontal lines of the score give the impression of bad planning.

From a compositorical point of view this is misleading. Here a composer is at work who is in control and exactly knows what he or she is doing.

The term ricercare is not written in manuscript. Approaching the piece with the toolbox of a fugue is legitimized by the continued polyphone working with the same subject throughout the entire length of the piece and the usage of stretti and augmentation.

The subject of the three voiced ricercare is a rhythmic figure – a knocking motive: hello, here I am! – followed by a fifth downwards and a fourth upwards.

The exploration of open strings is a central device in the development of the music.

By contrast dramatic use of alternative positioning is applied. The most significant example is in measure 91 fifth course seventh position G3 (at the begining of stave ten in the manuscript).
The reason why this note is very special will be substantiated in the following.

BWV 1001

Well known among lutenists by the intabulation of Weyrauch BWV 1000

The idiomatic suitability of playing a repeating motif on open strings was explored by Johann Sebastian Bach in a related fugue subject for violin BWV 1001.

The Myth of Bach's lute Suites Clive Titmuss 2015

A lutenist may have a distorted image of Bach's idiomatic writing because his so-called lute works are in fact keyboard pieces.

BWV 877 fugue No. 8 Repeated notes, rethoric and meaning in Bach's music. Timothy A. Smith

Smith uses poetry to explain and understand music.

The Aesthetic of Johann Sebastian Bach Andre Pirro 1907 page 42 the meaning of motifs with repeated notes

Bach composed his motifs upon the principles guiding the musical language of his contemporaries.

Repeated notes are an example of physical immobility and steadfastness.

The key signature of manuscript BWV 1001 suggests the key of d minor or Dorian mode because of notational Baroque convention - the mode of the piece is g minor.

A striking difference between Bach's related subject for a violin fugue and the ricercare by Galilei Vincenzio juniore is that Bach’s subject in the exposition is firmly anchored in triads of the main key of the piece.

"And yet it moves!" Toward a history of "eppur si muove" Darin Hayton June 3, 2012

An Historical Survey of the Origins of the Circle: Music and Theory
Earliest theoretic reference to harmonic circles by descending fifth or ascending fourth can be found in Kircher. Jamie L. Henke (Spring 1997) Musical Insights, Vol. 1.

With the hammering on one note the subject of the ricercare seems harmonic motionless, but it ends up in an orbiting experience by circling harmonics.

A fugue subject is often not in itself a melodic sealed unit; the first melody usually only closes off as the second voice has already begun.

One of the features of the ricercare is the transformation of the subject melody from not yet completed in the exposition, to closed in itself in the coda.

The metamorphose of the function of the notes of the subject is a common thread in the musical story of the ricercare.

Galileo’s telescope:
1609 3-powered
1609 8x  
1610 14x  
1610 20x  
1610 21x 
1610 30x

One of the ways in which this change is implemented is by augmentation.

As if we are looking through a telescope and the concept of what we see changes before our eyes.

The reason for composing the ricercare could have been educational. Alternative scenery for the genesis of the ricercare: Galileo or Michelangelo to one of their offspring: “Today let’s compose a ricercare on this old lute, in the old polyphonic style, for a start take a look at this bunch of madrigals.”

The changing nature is underlined by free counterpoint and the lack of a countersubject.

For a composer using the modern French style and at the same time making compositions in the old polyphone fashion, illustrating renaissance and early baroque features separately see Joachim van den Hove in 1615 as described in The Lute in the Dutch Golden Age - Jan.W.J.Burgers - Amsterdam University Press 2013 p. 122
The ricercare's structure can be divided in thirds and quarters distributing relief after built up tension and follows classic renaissance modelling.

The subject includes a remarkable overall tonal plan for the 104 measures the ricercare endures.

G4 D4 A3 F3 C3 G2 F2 D2

The ricercare ends then in g(alilei)  minor(juniore).

(The letters of the name Galilei can be made to sound as a style
brisé motiv in lute tablature and has a very modern nature.)

A renaissance lute with eight courses is most likely tuned in G.

The function of the notes A3 and D4 in the subject of the exposition can be qualified as dominant and tonic.

When the subject is sounded in measure 8 en 9 we hear the chords minor-d and first inversion A major.

The exposition starts with the subject opening on A3 and the answer beginning on D4 suggesting the mode of d minor.

Das wohltemperierte Klavier II BWV 870 - 893

A deeper understanding of the rhetoric of the ricercare can be achieved by further consulting Johann Sebastian Bach.

Bach proved to be a great historian in his second book with preludes and fugues in all keys by reflecting masterly
several times on the rhetoric of the old ricercare.

BWV 874 fugue No. 5 Timothy A. Smith
Page 5: plagal exposition of Bach in a fugue with repeated notes.
Page 10: a trice-repeated pitch and a rising consonant fourth: the canzona motif from the late middle ages.

The classical cadence William Caplin 2004 "We should banish the plagal cadence from theoretical writings."

BWV 874 Luke Dahn “Fixing” Bach’s D Major Fugue from WTC2, BWV 874:
"The opening X motive implies G major more than it does D major."
"... results in an ambiguity of tonal center. "

The instrumental canzona arose directly from the chanson, many  were edited for lute.
The opening motif of a canzona consisted of one long and two short notes of identical pitch.

In northern Italy outside Venice the canzona was the chief instrumental genre from 1580 to 1620. Venetian instrumental music from Gabrieli to Vivaldi - Elenanor Selfridge-Field 1994 page 116

Andrea Gabrieli (1532-1585 Venice) wrote keyboard canzonas that are intensely polyphonic and considered as precursors of the fugue.

Between 1562 and 1565 Andrea Gabrieli was in Germany and worked as an organist at the Kapelle in Munich with Orlando di Lasso.
His nephew the lutenist Giovanni Gabrieli followed him to Munich and stayed there untill 1579.

Canzona Ariosa  Il terzo Libro di Ricerari 1596 Venezia This organ composition is Gabrieli at its best and looks like a primary source of inspiration for the composer of the ricercare.

Vincenzo - son of Galileo, owner of the ricercare manuscript, a poet with an inventive mind, his poetry rooted in renaissance models, an artist with a love for extreme ingenious organization, grounded in musical theory, played lute & it sounded as organ pipes.
Was the comparison Viviani made with an organ trickered by hearing Vincenzo many times improvising on a lute exploring organ scores?

At times entire works of Gabrieli are based on circle progressions. He was the first to use circle progression to target a specific pitch. An Historical Survey of the Origins of the Circle: Music and Theory Jamie L. Henke (Spring 1997) Musical Insights, Vol. 1.

Vincenzo Galilei - the father of Galileo and Michelangelo- and Andrea Gabrieli both composed a cycle of ricercares through the 12 degrees of the chromatic scale.

Fronimo 1568 and Fronimo 1584 show a shift from 8 mode to 12 mode order.
Peter Argondizza
The Order of Things: A reappraissal of Vincenzo Galilei's Two Fronimo Dialogues

The canzon motif of Andrea Gabrieli in Giovanni Antonio Terzi
Intavolatura di liutto: accomodata con diversi passaggi per suonar in concerti a duoi liutti, & solo. 1593

Giovanni Terzi Fantasia in modo di Canzon Francese di Giovanni Gabrieli Il secondo libro de intavolatura di liuto 1599 Venezia / Terzi and the lute intabulations of late sixteenth-century Italy Suzanne Court 1988

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach wrote about his father: "When he listened to a fugue he could soon say after the first entries of the subjects what contrapuntual devices would be possible to apply, and which of them the composer by rights ought to apply."

We can turn this around and see what Bach did with the related subject based on the canzona motive in fugue number 5 of Das Wohltemperierte Klavier II.
What devices did the composer ought to apply according to Bach in this piece?

The most remarkable feature of this fugue is the plagal exposition.

The exposition of the ricercare can also be experienced as plagal.

In this plagal exposition the progression is V-I-V in the key of d and has the same sounds as I-IV-I in the key of g.

The keys are heard differently and one can choose to hear it either way. Who has the final word? Listen to the music and you can hear arguments for both modes.

If there is one thing that roots the ricercare in the 16
thcentury it is the plagal exposition. Is that a clue for the date of composition? Bach used it for fugue composed in the 18th century.

A clue for the key, although not decisive, is the final chord.

Vincenzo Galilei, father of Galileo and Michelangelo, had contended that the designated mode of a modern polyphonic piece could only be distinguished through the last note in the bass.

The reproduction of the manuscript in the paper of Dinko Fabris is not as crisp as one would wish.
The final chord in the last measure is obscured in darkness & the last readable final chord is D in stead of G:

Final chord

The music of chance is here playing with the core of the concept of the composer:
it is not clear what is the main key of the compostion and the final answer / word / chord / note in the bass is in the realm of dark space.

In the final entries the function of the notes A D G of the subject turns out to be secondary or artificial dominant, dominant and tonic.
In the development part the ricercare seems to modulate from d minor to the closely related key of g minor, the mode in which the piece ends.

It is as if we have entered the world with a new base. The exposition is in d minor and the final entries in g minor.

A difference with regular modulation to a closely related key is that there is no turning back, it is final. We have experienced a tonal shift from one centre to a new one.

A Dialog by Galilei: Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo Galileo Galilei 1632

Classifying the harmonics with certainty in this bitonal constellation is impossible. The perspective of the observer directs the observations.

This musical affair in Galilean terms sounds familiar. A suitable title for this dramatic harmonic story would be: A Dialogue Concerning Two Chief Systems.

The question in which key the music is composed can only be answered after viewing the whole piece, after all arguments have been weighed and then one has to choose or to conclude that both are an option. Considered this way the ricercare is a rethorical discourse without a final answer.

According to Vincenzo - father of Galileo and Michelangelo, music can be directly connected to the heliocentric view.

He wrote a remarkable metaphor about intervals in his Dialogue on music in 1581:

Dialogue on ancient and modern music
Vincenzo Galilei translated, with introduction and notes by Claude V. Palisca 2003 page 61

“Like the many lines drawn from the centre of a circle to the circumference, which all gaze back at the centre, every musical interval in the octave sees itself as if in a mirror, like the planets do in the sun, not otherwise than the way everyone, depending on individual capacity, receives from it the person’s being and perfection."

Tmiweb reading edition
Dialogo della musica antica, et della moderna
Vincenzo Galilei 1581

Planets are called stars (stelle)

" come le molte li­nee tirate dal centro alla circonferenza del cerchio, tutte nel centro di esso rimorono; nell'istes­ so modo ciascun musico interuallo nell'Ottaua, come in uno Specchio riguarda, à guisa che fan­no ancora le stelle nel Sole; non altramente che da esse ciascuno (secondo la sua capacità) l'esse­ re & la perfettione riceua."

Intervals function as planets who revolve around the sun.

Seen through the glass of this metaphor a music score transforms into a star map.

It is not the reflected platonic essences that make this sentence outstanding. It is the heliocentric metaphor and the laconic, natural tone wherein it is voiced by this sometimes more quarrelsome man. No big deal.

A similar laconically demonstrated acceptance of Copernicus's theory can be found in the essay An Apology for Raymond Sebond written by his contemporary Michel de Montaigne  1533 - 1592

In his 1581 book Vincenzo also composed this dialogue:

A moon of Jupiter was discovered in the summer of 364 BC: Xi, Zezong
"The Discovery of Jupiter's Satellite Made by Gan De 2000 years Before Galileo"
Chinese Physics 1981

Strozzi: “This makes me wonder if there are other discoveries that are very ancient but acclaimed as new by this person or that.”
"…la qual cosa mi fa dubitare che ci siano dell'altre cose (cir­ ca l'inuentione) che sono antichissime, e ci sono predicate per nuoue da questo & quello."

Simpletons (semplici in Italian) have a voice in the doppelganger and layman Simplicio in the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

Bardi: “Don’t doubt that at all, because simpletons often believe that what they read in a book in whatever discipline – owing to their limited experience – is not found in any other book, whereas it is written in many books thousands of years earlier."

Semplici is used almost a hundred times in Vincenzo's Dialogo.

"Non ne dubitate punto; imperoche i semplici molte volte nel leggere alcuno libro di qual si voglia facultà, credono (per la poca esperienza) che quelle cose non si trouino altroue che in quello; le quali i piu delle volte sono scritte in molti, le migliaia de gli anni auanti."

Putting words into the mouth of a simpleton can cause critical problems.

Notes Galileo
MS. Gal. 49. fols 4r & 5r

A playful feature of the ricercare is the visual resemblance of the knocking motive in the tablature with the notes Galileo took of his observations of the four moons of Jupiter.

The four moons of Jupiter - Galilein Moons

Jupiter moons

Four moons orbiting - visualised in a subject.

Notes Galileo Galilei jupiter moons
Galileo's copy of Observatione Jesuitare 28 november 1610 - 15 january 1611.

The horizontal lines tend to bend downwards. Fire and the rhythm of the music of chance burnt a hole in this sheet in roughly the same area as is the hole in the ricercare manuscript.

Michelangelo, Anna Chiara and 6 months old Vincenzo were in Padua and Venice from 10 january till 01 february 1611. EN XIX S.197

1611 january Left: Galileo's observations - right: Jesuits. Galileo emphasized that his data agreed with the Jesuits.

Part I of the subject consists of four notes in perfect unison.

When played on open strings these note are written as four circles in Italian lute tablature.

Galileo had turned his telescope on Jupiter for the first time on the 7th of january 1610. Several nights he saw three moons.

Then another moon appeared on the 13
th of january 1610.

Galileo didn't draw the Jupiters in a straight line under each other: the centre seems to move - instead of the moons.

For Galileo
it sometimes appeared Jupiter had not moved to the west but rather to the east.

Part II measure 2 in tablature - the numbers two on courses five and four - have the shape of a wave.

Some nights it was clouded. Some bright nights he made two notes - his observations separated by a couple of hours.

How did Galileo spend his time in the late hours in between, his mind focused on his notes and the things he saw and figuring out what they mean and how they move?

Did he pluck some strings thinking about strange things, pinning Jupiter?

Pin Jupiter and the moons starts to orbit on paper.

History tells he figured it out how they move on the night of the
15th of january 1610. For eight puzzling nights he had thought it was Jupiter moving & not being at the centre.

In traditional cosmology there was only one centre of motion. With the moons performing their revolutions around Jupiter there were now at least two centres of motion in the universe, the Earth or Sun and Jupiter.

Two months later he published his findings, which made him famous overnight.

A year later Michelangelo witnessed Galileo taking notes of his observations in january 1611.

Ricercare subject part I
Counting unit: quarter notes starting in
measure 01: A 3  1 1 1
measure 04: D 3  1 1 1
measure 08: A 3  1 1 1
measure 12: D 3  1 2
measure 22: D 3  1 2  2
measure 26: A 3  2  2
measure 27: D 3  2  2  2
measure 36: D 4    2  2  2
measure 42: G 1 1 2  2 
measure 47: D 2  1 2  2
measure 53: D 5     2  2  2
measure 60: G 4    2  2  2
measure 66: D 4    2  2  2
measure 71: G 3   1 1 1
measure 85: A 6      2  2  2
measure 88: A 6      2  2  2

The subject of the ricercare is augmented gradually (as Galileo's telescope power did).

To the left: the lenght of the augmented first four notes of the subject compared to each other. The proportions and relationships change.

Eight times the subject starts on D & eight times the subject starts on A or G.


To summarize what have been phrased about the conceptual level of the ricercare:
Vincenzo - father of Galileo and Michelangelo, seems to have accepted and laconic proclaimed the heliocentric system of Copernicus and the ricercare which is at the centre of this article seems to illustrate the shift to this view and even gamesome refers to Galileo’s discoveries of Jupiter’s moons.

By what means does the music illustrate a shift?

When we compare the subject (measure 1-2) in the exposition with the subject (measure 85-91) in the final entries  - things have changed.

In the exposition the subject is embedded in a different tonic as in the final entries.

By what means does the music illustrate this view?

The subject is composed of two opposing parts - one motionless (perfect unisons) and one moving in circles (descending fifth and ascending fourth).

The subject is augmented & at the end gives space to the two voiced counterpoint to ad arguments for the subject to be final in itself.

À guisa che fan­no ancora le stelle nel Sole.

What in the beginning seemed motionless (the knocking on a) turnes out to move around a centre (the tonic g).

The countersubject of the circle of harmonics in measure 4 consists of fast notes and contributes to the sensation of movement.

Part II of the subject - the circle of harmonics - is slowed down by the augmentation & is harmonic coming to a stand in measure 88 - 91.

Complementary, what seems to move in the beginning (g in measure 2) is at the centre in the end (g in measure 91).

The most dramatic use of alternative positioning on the neck of the lute is applied to this very special note.

It connects difficult physical effort with a big mental step.
Extremely ingenious constructed it is.

When we were talking about the number of courses we seemed to touch ground, but now we seems to find ourselves in outer space. Has it gone out of hand and are we lost?

Being composed in the old-fashioned style how can the concepts of the heliocentric view or the discovery of Jupiter’s moons being part of this composition?

Associations, connections and analogies

An annotated census of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus (Nuremberg, 1543 and Basel, 1566). Owen Gingerich Leiden 2002: Brill p. 133

Among professional astronomers (compliers of horoscopes) and almanac makers the heliocentric system was not so much a revolutionary cosmologic model, but rather the basis of assessment for improved calculations.

As historian of sciences Owen Gingerich wondered how many people have actually read the book Revolutions by Copernicus, when it was published, almost five hundred years ago. A quote of his investigations might be helpful:

“I.116 1543 Venice 1. Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana 132.D.31 Provenance:
1.    (fl) Anno Christi navitatis 1556 die Septimo mensis Decembris Venetiis L 10L (TP) P. Josephii Zarlinii. Giuseppe Zarlino (†1590), choirmaster at the San Marco cathedral, distinguished music theoretician, possessor of a large library and author of some small tracts on calendrical problems.
No annotations."
How can this author of calendrical problems help us any further?

Two interesting books at the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana:
- The Copernicus owned by Zarlino
- Prophecies by Licinio Fulgenzio Nej

Zarlino was the teacher of Vincenzo and apparently he owned a copy of the book by Copernicus. We know Vincenzo’s opinion and we now know that he has had the opportunity to have the book in his hands when he was a student. How did he come to his opinion? We should take a step deeper into time.

Un rivoluzionario prudente
Willian Shea
Le Scienze Milaan 2001

Renaissance Neoplatonism led quite naturally to a representation of the sun as a central and universal appearance.

Libro del Sol
Marsilio Ficino Firenze 1493

A one man opera

This can be clearly seen in the books of Florentine humanist Marsilio Ficino.

Ficino translated Plato's works & coined the couple platonic and love. 

Ficino translated the 2nd century CE Orphic Hymns and was famous for singing them while improvising on the lute.

Similar expressions Gary Zabel courses Philosophy The Sun
Several of Ficino's metaphors in his book about the sun resonate verbatim in the book Copernicus wrote.

Un rivoluzionario prudente
Willian Shea
Le Scienze Milaan 2001

Copernicus was imbued with contemporary Neoplatonic ideals.

Radical thinkers of the 16th century found it interesting to speak out publicly for Copernicus.

Camerata Fiorentina: from this group the beginnings of opera emerged.
The Camerata Fiorentina, a group of musicians, poets, humanists and scientist, gathered under the protection of Vincenzo’s patron Bardi in the years 1573-87 and experienced intellectual pleasure of challenging new ideas.

In a letter of 1597 Galileo admitted to Kepler he thought Copernican cosmology was right. Owen Gingerich The book Nobody Read p. 199
Whitin this context it is clear how Vincenzo could have come in touch with the book of Copernicus, thought and discussed about its concepts and as part of the inquiring minds of the 16th century could have accepted the heliocentric view and published a metaphore about it.

How could the composer of the ricercare prove to Galileo’s work by fidget with his 17th century notes of Jupiter’s moons? Being written in the renaissance style at the end of the 16th century a 16th century date as origin seems more plausible. Did he have predictive abilities?

Concepts in which predictions play a role are horoscopes.

EN XI. 838 Francesco Rasi a Galileo in Firenze 28 gennaio 1613

For a thorough study of Galileo's horoscopes: Galileo’s astrology
Nick Kollerstrom: "Galileo's most important traditional function as a mathematicus at Padua University was teaching medical students how to cast a horoscope." Largo Campo di Filosofare Eurosymposium Galileo 2001 Ed Montesinos and Solis

Unlike his predecessors, Galileo did not include the subject of astrology in his courses.
Sara Bonechi - How they  make me suffer - Florence 2008 page 21

A good friend of Michelangelo was the singer Francesco Rasi. In 1607 he created the title role in Monteverdi's Orfeo.

In 1610 Rasi was sentenced in Florence to be hanged, drawn, and quartered (just to make sure, in line with classic renaissance modelling and the fate of the murderer of the French King Henry IV in the same year).

In 1612 the complete and alive but sick Rasi visited Michelangelo in Munich and as good friends do, they talked about fate and facts of life.

Michelangelo suggested Rasi to request Galileo to make his horoscope, which Galileo did.

Astrologica nonnulla Carta 20r  horoscope of Michelangelo Galilei
The horoscope of Michelangelo is preserved and might give us insight into the predicting gifts of Galileo.

Minkhoff Edition Il primo libro d’intabolatura di liuto Introduction par Claude Chauvel 1988 page 28: "A precision unkown to astrologers before the introduction of the telescope in 1664".
Year 1664 does not exactly contribute to trust in the precision of this exercise.

In 1988 Claude Chauvel asked Antoinette Le Calvez to interpret with a precision previously unknown the horoscope of Michelangelo made by Galileo.

The outcome was a brief summary of the biography that Claude had compiled himself and it does seems to proof cliche moral verdicts are written in the stars.

This was done long after the facts, which a little detracts to the amazingness of Antionette's performance.

Sidereus Nuncius Galileo Galilei 1610

Galileo's money problems were over. He moved to Florence but would later look back at his Paduan days as his happy years.

In 1610 Galileo published his discovery of four moons of Jupiter in his book The Starry Messenger. The book contains a horoscope of the man it was dedicated to and Galileo finally got the job he wanted.

The Book Nobody Read
Owen Gingerich 2004 chapter 12

After that astrology would never again play a role in his work.

Tertium Intervens
Johannes Kepler 1610

800 of Kepler's horoscopes have been preserved.

This is in contrast to Kepler who wanted a reformation of astrology “but not to throw the baby out with the bathwater."

In 1595 amidst the little ice-age Kepler had succes rightly predicting coming winter would be cold.

The trip took him from Linz to Tübingen. Halfway: München

Johannes Kepler's interest in Practical Music
Earthly Music and Cosmic Harmony Peter Pesic - ISCM Issues Volume 11 2005 No.1,  note 36 Kepler manuscripts in the Pulkowa library

Kepler to M. Wacker von Wackenfels 1618 Briefe 783

Kepler's handwritten commends on Vincenzo Galilei's Dialogo were published in 2009. Band 21

While on a journey in 1617, to save his mother from prosecution as a witch, Kepler read Vincenzo's Dialogo with the greatest pleasure.

He read threequarters of the book, so he came into contact with Vincenzo's heliocentric metaphor. Especially the first part was read with the greatest attention.

It was fresh on his mind when he worked on Harmonice Mundi and Vincenzo Galilei is cited many times.

Music and the making of modern science - Peter Pesic 2014
Kepler (1571 -1630) had a musical education and invited composers of his age to write music that will incorporate the harmonies he had discovered in planetary data:

In the translation of Tito M. Tonietti
And Yet it is Heard 2014 page 59

The music had to be ingenious.

Contemporaries of his age:
1571 - 1630 Johannes Kepler
1575 - 1631 Michangelo Galilei

"Shall I perhaps be committing an abuse if I demand some ingenious motet from individual composers of this age for this declaration?"

Based on his reading of Vincenzo's Dialogo modern composers were the ones representing
the old-fashioned polyphonic style.

The incipit A moving and singing earth redolent of human misery.

A typical case of over-interpretation by an obsessed layman? Focussing on something random instead of an essence?
Or should we qualify the drawn parallels and similarities between this motet and the world as meaningful poetry - not as much as poetry by di Lasso but as Kepler's?

In me transierunt - Orlando di Lasso
Pages 6 & 7

Il secondo libro Intabolatura di liuto di Melchior Neysidler 1566

Joachim Burmeister's Musica poetica 1606 contains a minutely detailed analysis of the motet & is widely regarded as the first full-scale analysis of a piece of music.
Music Analysis in the Nineteenth Century: Volume 1, Fugue, Form and Style music. Ian Bent 1994

Burmeister's rhetorical terms

For a clear analysis of Burmeister's analysis see Claude V. Palisca Studies in the history of Italian music and music theory 1993

Burmeister dissects and describes but ignores a common thread.

In 1619 Kepler published Harmonice Mundi. The book refers repeatedly to Orlando di Lasso and his interpretation of the motet 'In me transierunt" is remarkable - analysing and connecting a specific piece of music with the structure of the universe.

Kepler adored Orlando di Lasso, wishing he was alive to teach him how to tune a clavichord.

Compare Kepler's citation of the start of the motet In me transierunt and the lament measure 85 & 86 of the ricercare:

Orlando di Lasso In me Transierunt Johannes Kepler
The harmonies of a moving and singing earth redolent of human misery are incorporated in the ricercare at its dramatic peak.

In his book Kepler describes how the earth wanders around its g string, whereupon Jupiter is marking the d string with its perhelial movement.

Of course harmonic similarities can be chance.

Did Galileo had enough of Kepler's neo-Platonic projected cosmic archetypes?
Galileo has rarely used Kepler's findings in his observations & ignored Kepler's calculations showing that the earth turned in an ellips and not in a circle. Soon after publication of The Starry Messenger Galileo stopped answering Kepler's letters.

Therewhit it seems likely this is a dead-end way on the road to understand what is happening in the ricercare.

It is time to look into a different direction and follow a different trail, that of a soldier, who was a real philosopher, widely regarded as the father of modern philosophy.

Musicae Compendium 1618

After René Descartes *31 March 1596 † 11 February 1650 had written his first book in 1618 about music, he decided it was time to see something of the world.

The start of the war that gave Michelangelo the opportunity to compile his book on the flight of swallows brought Descartes to the battle of the White Mountain, joining the Duke of Bavaria's staff and accompaning his army on its campaign. Both serving the same Duke.

Using the network of the Jesuits he ended up as a fighting man in the service of Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria just in time to participate in the beginnings of the Thirty Years War.

His method: accept only what is clear without doubt, split difficulties, go from simple to complex and verify.

Some say that his book was nothing more than what he had transferred from Zarlino.
Others say that every aspect of his method is already there.

Descartes an intellectual biography Stephen Gaukroger 2004
(Descartes wrote a book titled The World based on his heliocentric view and decided not to release it upon the news of Galileo’s conviction.)

Snowbound this night he slept in Neuburg an der Donau (Johannes Molitor) - not far from München.

The army had taken winter quarters. Joining the army & seeing something of the world meant being lodged in with a town inhabitant, living a gentle, comfortable life.

Most of all it meant waiting. He rarely left the house, spending his time in Bayern reading and reflecting. What interesting books were hot from the press in 1619?

Descartes was familiar with Kepler's books but made little explicit reference to him. A reference to On the Six-Cornered Snowflake being the exception. Correspondance 127 Descartes to Mersenne March 1630

The star-shaped snow constituted an unexplicable miracle and admitting the impossiblity of a rational explication suggests the programmed failure of Descartes' project. Winter Facets: Traces and Tropes of the Cold 2007 Andrea Dortmann page 78

On the bitterly cold evening of 10 november 1619 Descartes read a treatise on music and fell asleep due to the excessive heat of the stove.

He had several dreams. In his last dream he saw two books: a dictionary which appeared to be of little interest and use and a compendium of poetry which appeared to be a union of philosophy and wisdom.

Descartes and Augustine - Stephen Menn 2002 page 28 Fragments in: Olympia; Rules for the Direction of the mind; Discourse I

Descartes interpreted his dreams of this night as the starting and foundation of his philosophical endeavours and project.

Isn't there a lot of poetry to be found in dictionaries?

In his college days the thing that made the most impression on Descartes was his encounter with Galileo's ideas in 1610.

In 1610 the King of France was murdered.

While the French Court wrote secretly to Galileo to discover a celestial body to which the name of the Queen could be attached, the heart of the King was taken
to be enshrined at the College Chapel at La Flèche.

A year after the chalice with the heart arrived essays and poems were displayed at a ceromony held at the College. Fifteen year old Réne Descartes is a likely (très probable) candidate to be the author of the Sonnet sur la mort du roy.

The poem links Galileo's thrilling discovery of four previously unknown heavenly bodies moving around Jupiter and the journey through space of the soul of the French King Henry IV.

Cosmopolis The Hidden Agenda of Modernity Stephen Toulmin 1990 page 60

The dictionary was the sciences in sterile and dry disconnection.

The poems marked the union of philosophy with wisdom.

To his conviction the words of poets are fuller of meaning and better expressed because of the nature of inspiration and the might of phantasy.

What is the point of this story for our quest?

The loose associations, connections and analogies that artists can make, so different from the by various requirements restricted science, can express insights which form a valuable resource to understanding.

The connections of the concepts of the heliocentric view with the ricercare or the analogies between Jupiter's moons and the manuscript aren't scientific.

But they might be in serious dialogue with the intentions and rhetoric of the composer.

Libro del Sol
Marsilio Ficino Firenze 1493
“Le muse, infatti, con Apollo non discutono, ma cantano.”


And as Ficino had written in his Book of the Sun: the Muse and Apollo, in fact, they do not quarrel, they sing along.

Something deep and meaningful is touched in the ricercare. That is the accomplishment of a gift. Art in the hands of a gifted composer will spread tone at what he is capable of.

Abstract concepts can resonate in the eye and ear of the beholder as we speak of the ricercare which is at the heart of this article and the music of chance will sing along

There are many stars spinning around in this constellation and pinning the ricercare to one Galilei is speculative.

I have not yet got to the bottom of this. Nothing is certain but hypothetically there are some arguments that have been added in this article for this or for that.

Personally I go for the poet:

Joost Witte

Vincenzo - son of Galileo *12 August 1606 † 21 January 1649 was a poet with the mindset and experience of a clockmaker, lutenist and composer of music with extremely ingenious organization.