Zarlino, Gioseffo



Eminent theorist; born at Chioggia, Venetia. While a boy he studied for the church, entering the Franciscan order of monks at twenty years of age and being ordained deacon four years later. In 1541 he went to Venice, where he studied under Adrian Willaert, at that time choirmaster at St. Mark's. Willaert, upon his death, was succeeded by Cipriano di Rore, who left for Parma in 1565, and Zarlino was appointed to the positpn which he held during the remainder of his life. He was a deeply learned man, being proficient as a theologian and having intimate knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and chemistry. His duties were not entirely connected with the Cathedral. He was required to contribute through his talent to the brilliant festivals of the Republic. Thus he came to compose music for Venice's greatest victory, the battle of Lepanto: again when Henri III. passed through on his return to France from Poland; and also in 1577 music to a dramatic piece, Orfeo, and a mass, when the Church of S. Maria della Salute was founded. In 1582 he was elected a canon of Chioggia, and upon the death of Marco de Medici, Bishop of Chioggia, the next year, he was chosen to fill his place. But the Doge, Niccolo da Ponte, and the Senate, opposed his leaving and he consented to retain his position at St. Mark's. Very few of Zarlino's works remain, about twenty-one being extant. Among them are a mass for four voices and a volume of modulations for six voices. His fame rests on the treatises Institutioni armoniche, Dimonstrationi armoniche, and Sopplimenti musicali. As a musical theorist he ranked among the best and was considerable in advance of his time.