Vincenzo Galilei (ca. 1525 - 1591)
Vincenzo Galilei was born in Florence.
He made his living as a lutenist, composer, theorist, singer, and teacher.
Around 1560 he settled in Pisa, where Galileo Galilei was born in 1564,
the oldest of six or seven children. During this period Galilei also studied
for some time in Venice under the theorist Gioseffo Zarlino, with whom
he later had a dispute about music theory. In the early 1570s Galilei
and his family settled in Florence. His prowess as a musician and theorist
attracted a number of powerful patrons, and he often spent time at their
residences. e.g., in 1578-79 with Duke Albrecht of Bavaria in Munich.
Sources: The most accessible brief biography of Vincenzo Galilei is Claude V. Palisco's in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, (VII: 96-98). The article contains a complete list of Galilei's printed works and manuscripts. Music and Science in the Age of Galileo, the proceedings of a recent conference edited by Victor Coelho (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992) contains a number of relevant articles as well as references to further sources. See also Stillman Drake, -- "Renaissance Music and Experimental Science," Journal for the History of Ideas 31 (1970): 483-500; and "The Role of Music in Galileo's Experiments," Scientific American 232 (Jan-June 1975): 98-104. Drake shows how Galileo's musical knowledge may have helped him design experiments.
©1995 Al Van Helden