Le nonne della ninfa: Feminine voices and modal rhetoric in the generations before Monteverdi

Laurie Stras

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In 1586, the Italian court poet Torquato Tasso famously decried the degeneration of modern music, labelling it “soft and effeminate," but without elaborating further on why it should be so cons idered. Although a classical commonplace, readily applied to any aspect or component of society that fell short ofa Renaissance commentator’s expectations, Tasso ‘s choice of this epithet shows he perceived elements that had formerly contributed to music’s masculine gravitas had become impaired.? Elsewhere in his writings, Tasso set out those which he considered to be feminine and masculine virtu ; an examination ofhow these virtu could have been exhibited in musical materials might then suggest possible directions for his censure. Furthermore, it may reveal ways in which femininity, as a quality rather than as a byproduct ofdeterioration, might consciously have been invoked through compositional choice: specifically, to represent female stereotypes through the characterization of their speech.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender, Sexuality, and Early Music
EditorsTodd C. Borgerding
Place of PublicationNew York & London
Number of pages43
ISBN (Electronic)9781136533167, 9780203055496
ISBN (Print)0815333943, 9781138870345, 9780815333944
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2002
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameCriticism and Analysis of Early Music


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