Petrucci, Ottavio da Fossombrone



Italian printer; born at Fossombrone, whence he has taken his name. He went to Venice in 1491, and in 1498 was given the exclusive right to print music in Venice for twenty years. There he worked from 1501 to 1511. He then turned over his business to others and went back to Fossombrone, where, under a patent from Pope Leo X., giving him the sole right to print music in the Papal States for fifteen years, he worked from 1513 to 1523. He then retired, but lived until 1539. Petrucci is considered the inventor of metal type music-printing. He used a double method, first printing the lines of the staff and then the notes, which thus fell exactly on the lines, making the work nearly perfect. He was immediately followed by German and Flemish printers, but his was the expensive process and was soon generally replaced by the single impression method. His first publication, Harmonice Musices Odhecaton A, came out from 1501, the second and third parts, Canti B and Canti C being printed in 1502 and 1503. This work contains, in all, some three hundred part-songs and about fifteen motets by Sixteenth Century composers. The last known work of his press was three choral masses, in 523. Many of his books are carefully preserved in Rome, Bologna, Vienna, Munich, Berlin, and at the British Museum, London.