Vincenzo Galilei

Late 1520's-1591, Father of Galileo, Italian lutenist and composer.

Vincenzo studied the lute as a young man, and his playing attracted Giovanni de' Bardi, his principal patron. in 1562 he settled in Pisa, where Galileo was born. In 1563 Vincenzo was sent to study theory with Gioseffo Zarlino, a relationship that would sour over time. Around 1570 Vincenzo began a compendium of Zarlino's Le istituioni harmonische, but he gradually developed his own new ideas about the progress of music. In early 1572 Vincenzo began correspondence with Girolamo Mei, and later that year he migrated to Florence. Here, Vincenzo became an influenti al member of the Florentine Camerata, an informal meeting at Bardi's palace where literature, science, and the arts were discussed. Vincenzo's training was evidently in music, for he lacked much literary education, apparently knowing no Greek and very little Latin. The Camerata was interested in new directions in music, striving to emulate the early Greek dramatic style, the results which led to the early development of opera. These new ideas in music led to a quarrel with Zar lino, and in 1581 Vincenzo published Dialogo della musica antica et della moderna, his most influential work in which he attacked the theories of Zarlino, including tuning systems and counterpoint in vocal music. Vin cenzo experimented with single line melodies, dismissing word painting and madrigal style which obscured the text. He also disliked the rigid system of dissonances, and favored a relaxing of the rules. During his final years he drafted a number of essays concerning topics that can be found in Galileo's Dialogue's Concerning two New Sciences. There is also much a great belief that Vincenzo influenced his son Galileo, directing him towards experimentation.

Palisca, Claude. The Florentine Camerata. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1989.
Sadie, Stanley, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1980 ed. London: Macmillan Publishers Limited. S. v. "Galilei, Vincenzo," by Claude Palisca.
The Florentine Camerata. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1989. Front Page.