Montona, Istria ca. 1470-80 ?

Andrea Antico

He was the greatest Istrian musician and editor of the Renaissance.
In the early years of the 1500’s he moved to Venice – at the time one of the most advanced cultural centers in Europe – to complete his education; he also dedicated time to composing frottole.
In 1510 he moved to Rome where he began working as a music editor using the xerographic process (etching pages of music onto wooden tablets which then were used to reproduce the page on paper).
Around 1520 he surfaced again in Venice where he worked for other editors taking advantage of his great talent as an engraver. Some of the most important works of madrigals were produced by his hands such as, Dei madrigali d’Arcadelt e Motetti di Adrian Willaert libro secondo a quattro voci [Madrigals by Arcadelt and Mottettes by Adrian Willaert, Book Two for four Voices] and l’Intavolatura de li madrigali di Verdelotto da cantare et sonare nel lauto intavolati per lo eccellentissimo musico messer Adriano Vuillaert. [Intabulation of Verdelotto’s Madrigals to be Sung and Played on the Lute, Intabulated for the most excellent music master Adriano Vuillaert].
Probably around 1540 he returned to his native Montona where he died. About twenty compositions by him in frottola-form survive. The word “frottola” (from medieval Latin: frocta, confused bundles of words or thoughts) dates to the XII century and initially indicated a kind of irregularly metered poetry with a casual rhyming scheme. Musically speaking, however the frottola, which emerged in the second half of the 1400’s, was a composition in three or four voices (Superius or Cantus, Altus, Tenor and Bassus). The voice with the highest tone, Cantus or Superius, which carried the melody, was also the solo voice, while the Tenor and the Bassus were entrusted to voices, or to one or more instruments (usually the lute, or harpsichord, or organ). The song line dominated over the other parts that generally work as chords. Thus the frottola avoided the complexity of counterpoint, preferring the linearity of the melody. By treating the vocal parts almost as if they were instrumental parts it was possible to transcribe them in tabulations for lute or keyboard instruments: Andrea Antico used this same method for transcribing some of Tromboncino’s and Marco Cara’s frottole.

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