Padova ca 1478 – Loreto ca 1556

Francesco Patavino

Born in Santa Croce (Padua) around 1478, Patavino became a priest and cantor in the city’s cathedral. Later he became Choirmaster and Director of Music in the cathedrals of Treviso, Udine and Gemona. After being recognized in the Holy House of Loreto, he died in the marine sanctuary around 1556.
Francesco Patavino composed both sacred and secular music. As far as sacred music is concerned he is remembered for having introduced the technique of the ‘chori spezzati’, which became typical of the Venetian School, along with Willaert and Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli in San Marco.  Chori spezzati refers to placing two or more choirs a certain distance one from the other.
As far as his secular music is concerned, seven compositions of the frottola style are to be remembered. 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 1400s, was a composition for 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 served 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.

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