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Italian Renaissance: Honors

This guide is designed to help students enrolled in the honors section of the Italian Renaissance with RoseAnna Mueller, Ph.D. - Fall 2020


Monteverdi, Claudio Giovanni Antonio (1567–1643), Italian composer, the most important figure in the transition from Renaissance to Baroque music. 

The following provides an overview of the life and work of Monteverdi and his continued influence on music. 

Here’s a snippet of one of his hit tunes:

Here’s another example of how modern-day musicians recreate Monteverdi’s music:


In 1607 Monteverdi’s first musical drama, Orfeo, was produced. This opera, which surpassed all previous attempts at musical drama, was possibly the most important development in the history of opera and established it as a serious form of musical and dramatic expression.  

From 1614–38, Monteverdi began moving away from the Renaissance ideal of equal-voiced polyphony. 

Instead of the something similar to the above example, Monteverdi began favoring another newer style which emphasized melody, bass line, and harmonic support as well as personal, or dramatic, declamation. 

Here’s Monteverdi's most famous example of a composition that features a ‘grounded bass’ (which means the bass line keeps repeating the same phrase throughout the work):