V. The Italian Seicento (17th Century)

At the beginning of the seventeenth century opera was born in Florence, derived partly from the development of musical dialogs, and partly from the efforts of the Humanists to revive classical tragedy. Its essential means of exxpression was the solo song, which became a new vehicle for expressing human emotion. This solo song also revealed fresh aesthetic possibilities outisde the theatre in the new 'monody,' which later developed into the chamber cantata. From the combination of several solo voices with one another, or with instruments, or with chorus, there came the vocal concerto and the oratorio. Claudio Monteverdi (died 1643) in Venice, and Giacomo Carissimi (died 1674) in Rome, were the first great masters of this 'Baroque' music. As a counterpart to the sung 'cantata,' the 'toccata' for keyboard instruments found its first eminent exponent in Girolamo Frescobaldi (died 1643). at the some time the application of the accompanied solo style to instrumental music led to the rise of the 'sonata' (solo or trio) which reached its first peak in the works of Giovanni Legrenzi (died 1690). The Italian preference for stringed instruments led to the classical age of violin making.

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