The Ceremonial Musicians of Late Medieval Florence

The Ceremonial Musicians of Late Medieval Florence

Timothy J. McGee
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/14/2009
Format: Hardback 21 b&w illus., 15 music exx.
ISBN: 978-0-253-35304-7
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The Ceremonial Musicians of Late Medieval Florence follows the development of Florentine musical ensembles, describing their duties and repertories, placing them in their political and social context, and tracing their changes through the years of the Florentine Republic. From the 13th through the 16th centuries, the city of Florence was the most powerful in Europe. It was a center of finance and trade, as well as art and music. The Republic employed musicians to perform for the enormous number of ceremonial events each year. These musicians were the most visible (and audible) symbols of Florence, playing a major role in displaying the majestic image of the city. Their story, repertory, high-profile involvement in the daily life of the city, and close involvement with the Medici add a new dimension to the history of late-medieval Florence.

Author Bio

Timothy J. McGee is Honourary Professor at Trent University and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. His many books include Medieval and Renaissance Music: A Performer's Guide; Medieval Instrumental Dances (IUP, 1989); and Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance (IUP, 1996).


“This story of Florence's musicians, their repertory, high-profile involvement in the city, and close involvement with the Medici adds a new dimension to the history of this powerful city and center of trade, art, and music.”

“McGee is without question the leading authority on civic patronage of music in Florence and this book will be central to our understanding of the cultural history of one of the most important cities of the Renaissance.”
 — Keith Polk, New England Conservatory

“[T]his is a superb, rich book by a scholar who is steeped in the secondary literature and has also mined frustratingly variable Florentine archival material (the bibliography is excellent). . . . Astonishingly detailed, but requiring some background knowledge, this book will be invaluable to serious students of renaissance music-making. . . . Highly recommended.September 2009”
 — Choice

“After laying out the fascinating array of Florentine religious and secular events in which musicians were called to perform, McGee provides a rich account of the creation and growth of ensembles, the personnel involved, and the instruments used by them. . . . As a fruitful trove of particulars illuminating the civic musical life of Florence over several centuries, McGee’s book will be a welcome addition to the library of the general reader and specialist alike.Spring 2010”
 — Evan A. MacCarthy, Harvard University

“Timothy McGee's study of civic patronage of music is a welcome addition to the small but growing number of monographs devoted to the rich musical life of late-medieval and Renaissance Florence. . . . Ceremonial Musicians is a pioneering study in that it is the first to gather together such a wealth of sources related to these ubiquitous civic institutions and weave them into a smooth narrative so well grounded in Florentine social history. Vol. 85, no. 4, 2010”
 — Speculum

“[This book], the product of over three decades of research, unearths new aspects of civic music-making in Florence from the 13th to the early 16th centuries. . . The Ceremonial Musicians of Late Medieval Florence is a must for readers interested in music within the framework of Florentine culture. 38.1 2010”
 — Early Music

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Table of Contents

1. Ceremonial Florence
2. The Trombadori
3. The Civic Herald
4. Revising the Ceremonial Traditions
5. Civic Music and the Medici
6. The Civic Musicians and Their Repertories