Giovanni Bassano, Ricercate passaggi et cadentie. Per potersi essercitar nel diminuir terminatamente con ogni sorte d'istrumento: et anco diversi passaggi per la semplice voce (Ricciardo Amadino, Venice 1585).

This source has been fully transcribed


Between the second half of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th, we found a few well-defined examples of didactic monodic music included in three treatises of divisions that have similar structure: Diego Ortiz, Trattado de glosas (Rome 1553); Giovanni Bassano, Ricercate, passaggi et cadentie (Venice 1585); Aurelio Virgiliano, Il Dolcimelo (manuscript, first half of the 17th cent.). All these treatises contain examples of divisions of melodic leaps and cadences, a series of ricercars specifically aimed at instruments, and examples of divisions of well-known compositions. Ortiz dedicated his entire opus to the viol, which he called in Spanish ‘violon' (related to the Italian ‘violone'); Virgiliano's ricercars and divisions are to be played by recorder, cornet, violin or traversa (transverse flute); in a similar way, Bassano suggested performing his music «con qual si voglia istrumento da fiato e con la viola» (by any wind instrument or with the viol[in]).

Bassano's ‘ricercate' (that is, études), ‘passaggi' (that is, divisions of melodic leaps), and ‘cadentie' (that is, divisions of the melodic phrases used in cadences) were conceived for a generic treble instrument; in fact the music is constantly notated in treble and soprano clefs with frequent changes of clef throughout the collection. It is important to underline that most Renaissance treble instruments were in G, and that was certainly 1 for violin, cornet and recorder. According to that, Bassano's ricercate perfectly fit their common range: G2 - A4.

Hence, recorder players should perform these études by a Renaissance treble recorder in G (the so called Ganassi recorder). Who prefers using a more modern treble recorder in F, look at our edition transposed to fit that recorder's range.

At end of Bassano's treatise we found two series of divisions of the upper line of the four-voice madrigal by Cipriano de Rore «Signor mio caro».

The Flemish composer Cipriano de Rore (c. 1515 - 1565) is, in all likelihood, the greatest madrigalist of the second generation. «Signor mio caro» is contained in his first book of madrigals for four voices, which was first issued in Ferrara in 1550. The text was taken from Petrarch's Canzoniere (sonnet 266, 1-8):

My dear lord, every thought in me,
as always, with devotion, turns to seeing you,
but fate holds me (what more could she do to me?)
reined in, and twists me round and round.
Then sweet desire that Love breathes into me
leads me to death, so that I barely feel it:
and between my two guiding lights I cry out,
wherever I am, day and night, sighing so.

After 35 years from its publication – and 20 from Rore's death – Bassano chose this madrigal as the only example of poliphonic music to be included in his treatise. The two series of divisions are both for treble instrument in G, nevertheless, they could be performed on a more modern treble recorder in F as well as on a Renaissance treble recorder in G.

All accidentals in the source are reproduced in the edition, even when they may seem redundant under modern conventions. Editorial accidentals are smaller. In both cases, accidentals remain in force throughout the bar unless specifically cancelled.

Giovanni Bassano (c. 1560 - 1617):   Eight Ricercate
scoring: G
Giovanni Bassano (c. 1560 - 1617):   Eight Ricercate for Treble Recorder
scoring: A
Giovanni Bassano (c. 1560 - 1617):   Passaggi et Cadentie
scoring: G
Cipriano de Rore (c. 1515 - 1565):   Signor mio caro, madrigal a 4 with divisions of the upper line by G. Bassano (1585)
scoring: GTTB or ATTB