Psalm-tone tonality in Monteverdi’s vespers of 1610

Evan Campbell


In this article, I describe Monteverdi’s 1610 psalm settings as psalm tonal, rather than modal, compositions. I begin by distinguishing psalm tone from mode with the help of Monteverdi’s contemporaries, Pietro Pontio and Adriano Banchieri. I then illustrate how Banchieri’s description of psalm tone cadences matches Monteverdi’s cadence practice in Dixit Dominus and Nisi Dominus. Along the way, I posit a theory of transposition-system relationships for Monteverdi’s psalm tone works to explain his cadential variety and his approach to large-scale forms.

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Registrazione presso la Cancelleria del Tribunale di Pavia n. 552 del 14 luglio 2000 – ISSN elettronico 1826-9001 | Università degli Studi di Pavia Dipartimento di Musicologia | Pavia University Press

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