Seconda pratica

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Seconda pratica, Italian for "second practice", is the counterpart to prima pratica and is more commonly referred to as Stile moderno. The term "Seconda pratica" was coined by Claudio Monteverdi to distance some of his music from that of e.g. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Gioseffo Zarlino and describes early music of the Baroque period which encouraged more freedom from the rigorous limitations of dissonances and counterpoint characteristic of the prima pratica.

Stile moderno was coined as an expression by Giulio Caccini in his 1602 work Le nuove musiche which contained numerous monodies. New for Caccini's songs were that the accompaniment was completely submissive in contrast to the lyric; hence, more precisely, Caccini's Stile moderno-monodies have ornamentations spelled out in the score, which earlier had been up to the performer to supply. Also this marks the starting point of basso continuo which also was a feature in Caccini's work.

In the preface of his 5th Book of Madrigals (1605) Monteverdi announced a book of his own: Seconda pratica, overo perfettione della moderna musica. Such a book is not extant. But the preface of his 8th Book of Madrigals (1638) seems to be virtually a fragment of it. Therein Monteverdi claims to have invented a new “agitated” style (Genere concitato, later called Stile concitato) to make the music "complete/perfect" ("perfetto").[1]


  1. ^ Gerald Drebes: ‘‘Monteverdis Kontrastprinzip, die Vorrede zu seinem 8. Madrigalbuch und das Genere concitato‘‘, in: Musiktheorie, Jg. 6, 1991, p. 29-42, online: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-02-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Further reading[edit]

  • Selfridge-Field, Eleanor (1990). "'Two Practices, Three Styles’: Reflections on Sacred Music and the Seconda Pratica" in The Well-Enchanting Skill: Music, Poetry, and Drama in the Culture of the Renaissance: Essays in Honour of F. W. Sternfeld), ed. John Caldwell, Edward Olleson, Susan Wollenberg. Introduction by Sir Michael Tippett". Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 53–64. Missing or empty |url= (help)