Mauro Calcagno

The Marenzio Project: Online Edition and Collection of Essays


Celebrated by his contemporaries and admired across Europe, Luca Marenzio (ca. 1553-1599) was the most important composer of madrigals (secular songs for several voices) of the late Renaissance. His reputation was unrivaled and his output had a fundamental impact on early modern European culture. His music contributed to the dissemination of the works of poets such as Petrarch, Tasso, and Guarini throughout Europe, thanks to a series of commercially successful publications of madrigals and canzonettas (light short songs) issued by publishers in Venice, Rome, Antwerp, Nuremberg, and Paris. The enormous popularity of Marenzio’s music, the texts of which were also translated into English, Latin, and German, was a pan-European cultural and social phenomenon. An understanding of the culture of late Renaissance Europe is thus incomplete without considering his works and their circulation.

This understanding, however, is severely hindered today by the absence of a complete critical edition, with the existing partial editions all lacking a careful consideration of the literary texts. Since 2004, MODE’s international scholarly team, led by Prof. Calcagno, has been working not only on correcting this situation but also on changing the landscape of music editions. By innovatively integrating music philology and digital technology, MODE introduces a new model for both generating and disseminating modern editions of musical repertories of the Western tradition. A new software application for the optical recognition, superimposition, and collation of early music prints—developed in conjunction with the Marenzio project—allows editors to produce a more accurate version of a composition than in the past and to enormously speed up the editing process. The improved analysis of variants made possible by these new tools also advances our understanding of the world of early modern printing. Finally, a new dynamic web-based digital interface offers users the flexibility well known to other humanities digital editions, but thus far unavailable to music.

For more, see http:/​/​ and the demo movies at http:/​/​​about.html.
The edition is supported by the Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library and by the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University in New York City. It was awarded a three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (U.S.A.) as part of the "Scholarly Editions and Translations" program. For more on the grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2011, see


Table of Contents of:

Perspectives on Luca Marenzio’s Secular Music

ed. Mauro Calcagno

Series “Épitome musical” of the Centre d'Études Supérieures de la Renaissance. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014

Publisher's page

0. Mauro Calcagno, Introduction: Cultural Translations

A. Music and Poetry

1. Franco Piperno, Petrarch, Petrarchism, and the Italian Madrigal
2. James Haar, Madrigali a 4, 5, et 6 voci: Marenzio’s “maniera assai differente dalla passata”
3. Seth Coluzzi, “Tirsi mio, caro Tirsi”: Il pastor fido and the Roman Madrigal
4. James Chater, Family Matters: Music in the Life and Works of Giovambattista Strozzi the Elder

B. Musical Styles and Techniques

5. Ruth DeFord, {C} and {Cut-C} in the Madrigals of Marenzio
6. John W. Hill, Two Reflections of Sixteenth-Century Italian Solo Singing in Luca Marenzio's Villanelle (1584–97)

C. Music and Patronage: A Debate

a) Position paper:
Claudio Annibaldi, Social Markers in the Musical Market: The Patronage of Music in Marenzio's Age in Light of His Madrigals
b) Responses:
i. Mario Biagioli, Between Signs and Symbols: Annibaldi, Marenzio, and the Patronage of Music
ii. Arnaldo Morelli, Marenzio the Courtier: Some Thoughts on Patronage in the Court of Rome
iii. Stefano Lorenzetti, Marenzio and the ‘Paradoxical Act’ of Dedicating a Printed Music Book
iv. Jonathan Glixon, There Are No Simple Answers: Patronage of the Late-Sixteenth-Century Madrigal
c) Claudio Annibaldi, A Reply in an Apologetic Vein

D. Contexts of Production, Circulation, and Consumption

8. Giuseppe Gerbino, Marenzio and the Shepherds of the Tiber Valley
9. Paolo Cecchi, “Delicious air and sweet invention”: The Circulation and Consumption of Marenzio's Secular Music in England (ca. 1588–1640)

E. Print Cultures and Editions

10. Jane Bernstein, Marenzio and Music Printing in Late Cinquecento Rome and Venice
11. Christine Jeanneret, Dare in luce & con diligenza correggere: A Study of Marenzio’s Editions and Reeditions
12. Laurent Pugin, Music Printers at Work: Marenzio's Madrigali a quattro voci, libro primo
13. Etienne Darbellay, Is There a Need for a New Edition of Marenzio's Music?

F. Appendix

14. Paolo Cecchi, List of Secular and Devotional Compositions by Luca Marenzio


For more on the Centre d'Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, see