A list of theses on Silvestro Ganassi

A bibliography compiled by Vicente Parrilla, 2024

  1. Nuno Atalaia, *Ganassi as researcher: La Fontegara and Practice-based research in HIP. Master’s thesis. Finished.

    • Abstract: “Research Question: What changes when I start reading treatises of the past as the result of a practice based research not unlike my own? Research process: The following questions have guided my research and relationship with the XVII century recorder treatise La Fontegara: Was Ganassi an artistic researcher? Can his 1535 treatise, La Fontegara, be thought of as the result of sixteenth century practice based research? What will change in our relationship to documents of the past once we look at them as analogous to our own artistic concerns? What could this understanding of artistic research as a trans-historic event mean for Early Music in particular? My research and thesis leads me to a close reading of Ganassi’s recorder and diminution treatise La Fontegara, trying to go beyond the text and its possible literal meanings and tracing the lost instrumental practice of diminution. With this first treatise of its kind, Ganassi inaugurates an age of instrumental literacy, which has irrevocably shaped our perception of musical practice. By linking the document to its biographical, social, theoretical and practical roots I try to sketch out the possible influences and projects (both political and artistic), which took part in making this work possible, helping to understand the trans-historic significance of research in defining a place for the artist within broader society. Also, I take the chance to reflect how this critical intimacy I establish with the work changes the very core of my identity as a recorder player by shaping my practice as a dialogue with a distant and mostly silent past. Summary of Results: The goal of this research is to stress the importance of research in the arts in redefining the role of the musician within society and of opening up a new wave of debate with which to vitalize the historically informed performance movement. Ganassi’s La Fontegara is a document that holds a far greater importance than that of a simple recorder tutor, which positioned it as the first document in the project of emancipation of instrumentalists and their music. Furthermore, the document should be seen as a vital part of the XVII century propaganda project of diffusing the myth of Venice through its use of speculative music tropes such as the theory of proportions. FInally, I wish to rethink our present relationship to these documents as performers. They were not musical cookbooks but rather crystallizations of a continuous struggle between the performer’s knowledge and his need to describe it. To read La Fontegara, is to go beyond the treatise and speculate on the oral practice from which it stems.”
    • Date: 2014
    • Research Coaches: Paul Scheepers and Rebecca Stewart
  2. Rodrigo Calveyra, Etude des exemples de diminutions dans la fontegara de Silvestro Ganassi (Université Paris-Sorbonne). Ongoing.

    • Abstract: Les exemples de diminutions écrits par Silvestro Ganassi dans sa Fontegara, publiée à Venise en 1535, représentent, dans le domaine des proportions et subdivisions, un sensible écart avec tous les autres exemples publiés en Italie au XVIe siècle. Dans les écoles vénitienne (Dalla Casa et Bassano), lombarde (les Rognonis), napolitaine (Ortiz), tous les exemples de diminutions sont limités à deux proportions différentes, et les subdivisions rythmiques sont assez simples notamment par l’absence de syncopes dans le jeu mélodique. À l’inverse, l’écriture de Silvestro Ganassi joue avec quatre proportions différentes, notamment les proportions à cinq et à sept, et avec une grande diversité de subdivisons et des syncopes complexes. Cette écriture suggère une façon d’exprimer le « tempo rubato », qui était probablement une pratique courante à l’époque. Mais d’où vient et où va cette tradition de diminution ? Cette thèse propose d’explorer l’hypothèse selon laquelle les modes d’ornementation et de diminution proposées par Silvestro Ganassi ne représenteraient pas le début d’une nouvelle tradition, mais la fin d’une autre, comme l’Ars Subtilior de Matteo da Perugia et de Paolo da Firenze. Si la publication de La Fontegara est éloignée temporellement de plusieurs dizaines d’années des dernières pièces, aujourd’hui connues, composées dans le style de l’Ars Subtilior, il est possible de rechercher un fil conducteur entre ces deux traditions, si proches au niveau de la diversité et de la complexité des proportions et des subdivisions. Pour tenter de vérifier cette hypothèse, deux méthodes seront suivies : la première est une étude des sources théoriques et historiques dépouillées à Venise ; la deuxième est une analyse musicale comparative des œuvres du corpus établi.
    • Supervisor: Frédéric BILLIET
    • Started: December 3, 2014
  3. Giulia da Rocha Tettamanti, Silvestro Ganassi e o modo de tocar artificioso: um estudo da relação entre pronúncia retórica e execução musical na obra do autor e em textos musicais venezianos do século XVI. [Silvestro Ganassi and il modo del sonare artificioso: a study of the relation between rhetorical delivery and musical performance in his works and in venetian sixteenth century musical texts.]. Ongoing.

    • Abstract (provisional): This research aims to point out, contextualize and discuss the presence of important concepts of classical rhetoric in the works of Silvestro Ganassi dal Fontego. The influence of these elements, widely cultivated in Venice during the first half of the 16th century, in his treatises is noted by the high degree of sophistication of the contents and by the constant comparison between the two arts, especially the part that deals with the pronunciation of the speech that, in this case, is directly related to the musical performance.
    • Period: 03/2015 a 08/2019
    • Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Paulo Mugayar Kühl. Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas, São Paulo, Brasil
  4. Dina Titan, The origins of instrumental diminution in Renaissance Venice: Ganassi’s ‘La Fontegara’ (Universiteit Utrecht). Defended.

    • Abstract: Silvestro Ganassi’s La Fontegara (Venice 1535), a treatise methodologically describing instrumental diminutions, still remains enigmatic. By offering a contextual interpretation, an analysis of its musical style and a critical English translation, this interdisciplinary study aims to make this fundamental treatise accessible to both scholars of the Italian Renaissance and musicians.
    • Period: 08 / 2013–08 / 2017
    • Supervisor: Prof.dr. H.A. (Harald) Hendrix
    • Defence: On 1 March 2109 Dina de Oliveira Titan will defend her PhD thesis at Utrecht University (University Hall, Academiegebouw). More information.

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