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Curious and Modern InventionsInstrumental Music as Discovery in Galileo's Italy$

Rebecca Cypess

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226319445

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226319582.001.0001

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“Curiose e moderne inventioni”

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”

Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

(p.117) Chapter 4 “Curiose e moderne inventioni”
Curious and Modern Inventions

Rebecca Cypess

University of Chicago Press

Abstract and Keywords

In their most bizarre compositions Biagio Marini and Carlo Farina employed the violin in new, virtuosic ways to imitate the sounds of other instruments and of animals. These pieces activate a display of musical curiosities akin, I suggest, to the curiosities of art and nature that resided in early modern Kunstkammern—proto-museums in which the collector sought to categorize and analyze artifacts from their social and natural worlds. Using evidence from those collections, I interpret these humorous musical works as part of a broader attempt to probe the boundary between nature and artifice. Indeed, the composers’ own words, found in titles, rubrics, prefaces, and appendices, suggest that these sonic animations constitute attempts to capture and recreate all of the sounds of life.

Keywords:   curiosities, collecting, Kunstkammer, Biagio Marini, Carlo Farina, violin, virtuosity, representation, nature, artifice

In his Novum organum of 1620, Francis Bacon asserted the importance of artisanal skill in his new system of natural philosophy. Together with the rigorous study of nature, Bacon wrote, observation of advanced skill in the arts may lead “to new things not yet discovered” (ad nova et hactenus non inventa),1 and therefore new means by which individuals could interact with and gain control over nature. Bacon noted that “as rare and unusual works of nature arouse and stimulate the intellect to seek and discover forms capacious enough to contain them, so too do outstanding and admirable works of art.”2 For this reason, “we should take note of unique instances of art, as well as unique phenomena of nature.”3 He continued, “The better kinds of artificial materials are surely those which either most closely imitate nature, or on the other hand masterfully rule her and turn her upside-down. Again, among the contrivances and tools of man, we should not condemn [juggling] tricks and toys [praestigiae et jocularia] out of hand. Their applications are trivial and frivolous, but some of them may be useful for information.”4

Bacon’s serious treatment of the “contrivances and tools of man” encompassed both curious objects and the performances of artisans. His statement sheds new light on the instrumental tricks employed by the most virtuosic violinist-composers of the stile moderno—in particular, the “curiose e moderne inventioni” in Biagio Marini’s Sonate, sinfonie, canzoni, pass’emezzi, baletti, corenti, gagliarde, & retornelli (likely 1626),5 and the famed “Capriccio stravagante” by Carlo Farina, printed in his Ander Theil newer Paduanen, Gagliarden, Couranten, frantzösischen Arien, benebenst einem kurtzweiligen Quodlibet (1627), which features “various curious inventions, the likes of which have never before been seen in print” (aller-hand seltzamen Inventionen, dergleichen vorhin im Druck nie gesehen worden).6 Through these striking phrases Marini and Farina asserted both (p.118) the extraordinary nature of their works and their capacity to arouse or satisfy the curiosity of listeners.7

The “inventions” of both these composers feature the use of virtuosic violin techniques to create musical illusions: the performance of double stops makes one violin sound like two, two violins sound like four, a single violin sounds like a lira da braccio, and a consort of violins sound like a hurdy-gurdy, an organ, a guitar, and more. The instruments must be retuned and the strings repositioned, thus changing the range of sounds that they produce; the performers must bow, pluck, and hit the strings; hold the instruments on their laps; and play from offstage. The instruments echo, drone, mewl, bark, and crow. As Giovanni Battista Doni would write of the violin in his essay of 1640, “practically every variety … is heard with marvelous artistry.”8

Like the jugglers whom Bacon pressed into service in the Novum organum, Marini and Farina used their artisanal skill to defy the nature of their own instruments—to compound the artifice of their instruments, causing listeners to call into question the very source of the music they hear. The virtuosic curiosities they employed and the sonic illusions they created function in much the same way as the curious objects of early modern Kunstkammern—collections of art, naturalia, and exotic or unusual objects—calling attention to the blurry, shifting line between nature and artifice. Within a single musical instrument lay the potential to recreate and reconsider the sonic and musical realities of the social and natural worlds. Especially considered within the practices of collecting at the courts of the patrons to whom they were dedicated, these compositions shed new light on the role of instrumental music in early modern philosophy.

Marini’s Musical Illusions: Curiosities, Sonic Collections, and the Sources of Sound

Bacon’s description of the artisan’s ability to invert nature finds a precedent in the ancient myths about the musical contest between Apollo and his challenger Marsyas. In the version of this story told by Apollodorus and Hyginus, the outcome of this contest hinges on instrumental virtuosity: Apollo impresses the judges—the Muses—by turning his lyre upside down and performing upon it that way. Marsyas, unable to replicate this feat with his pipes, loses the contest, and his life.9 This trope echoes in the many sixteenth-and seventeenth-century artworks that show Marsyas hung upside down from a tree as he is flayed; among these is the horrifying Flaying of Marsyas by Titian (plate 1), which shows Marsyas hung by his feet as a Scythian carves at his skin with a knife like a painter stroking (p.119)

Table 4.1 The curiose e moderne inventioni in Biagio Marini, Sonate, symphonie, canzoni, pass’emezzi, baletti, corenti, gagliarde, & retornelli (Venice: Magni, 1626)

Title of work

Instructional rubrics

Virtuosic technique employed

Musical effect

Sonata XIII a due violini o cornetti senza cadenza



No cadence until the end of the work; simulates a perpetual motion?

Capriccio che due violini sonano quattro parti


Double stops

In some sections, the two violins play four-part counterpoint; in others, they each play one part, with the second imitating the first

Sonata con tre violini in eco

1: “Questa è la parte che propone forte” 2: “Chi sona questa parte non deve essere visto” 3: “Quello che suona non deve esser visto” 4: “Il primo violino deve esser visto, & gli altri due no”

Double stops, echo effects

Echo effects; these are problematized through varying musical approaches to the phenomenon of the echo

Sonata II d’invenzione per il violino solo

At m. 13: “Qui si accorda il cantino in terza minore” At m. 39: “Qui si torna in quinta il cantino”

Scordatura; double stops

Retuning in the middle of a piece to facilitate unusual double-stops and unusual resonances of the instrument

Sonata IV per sonar con due corde per il violino solo

Double stops

Capriccio per sonare il violino con tre corde a modo di lira

“Bisogna che le due corde grosse sijno vicine”

Triple stops

Simulates the lira da braccio

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Plate 1. Tiziano Vecellio, The Flaying of Marsyas (1570–75). Oil on canvas. 2.12 ×2.07 m. Archbishop’s Palace, Kroměříž.

Photo credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

his canvas. From another branch of the tree Marsyas’s pipes hang limp, also upside down. Apollo aims the fingerboard of his lyre diagonally upward as he looks to heaven, seemingly oblivious to the gruesome scene nearby.

The mythical Apollo had a very real counterpart in Marini, whose works containing virtuosic “inventions” on the violin are laid out in table 4.1; these include “Un capriccio per sonar due violini quatro parti. Un ecco per tre violini, & alcune sonate capriciose per sonar due è tre parti con il violino solo, con altre curiose & moderne inventioni” (A capriccio in which two violins play four parts, an echo for three violins, and some other capricious sonatas in which a single violin plays two or three parts, with other curious and modern inventions).

(p.120) Marini’s boastful advertisement of the “curiosities” in his collection reflects a shift in the status of curiosity in the early seventeenth century. For centuries, philosophers had thought of curiosities as vain and idle distractions that would do nothing more than satisfy the curiosity of beholders—their wish for useless or unsuitable knowledge. Since the time of Augustine, human curiosity and the cultivation of curiosities had been viewed as dangerous, since they held the potential to lead away from the divine.10 In his De vera religione Augustine contrasted curiosity for sensory experiences with the truth that may be obtained from contemplation of eternal truths: “All curiosity with regard to spectacles,” he wrote, “aims at nothing else than the joy of knowing things. What, then, is more wonderful and beautiful than truth?”11 Augustine was particularly dismissive of those whose curiosity led them to entertaining but deceptive displays of marvelous skill—the very spectacles of which Bacon encouraged study: “Men carefully and closely watch a juggler who professes nothing but deceit. If his tricks elude discovery they are delighted with the cleverness of the man who hoodwinks them…. But when we love such things we fall away from truth, and cannot discover what they imitate, and so we pant for them as if they were the prime objects of beauty.”12

The persistence of the Augustinian conception of curiosity as an immoral quality in the early seventeenth century is evident in the dictionaries of the Accademia della Crusca. The 1612 edition of the dictionary identified curiosity as “a disorderly desire to know, through hearing and seeing and experiencing things that are subtle and unnecessary,” adding, “That vice is called curiosity when a man applies all his care and all his intentions to things that have no profit.”13 The 1623 edition added that curiosity prompts people to use a “bodily sense” (sentimento corporale) “to seek, or to want to feel or know that which is not suitable, or if it is suitable, not in the proper way, but in a disorderly way.”14

However, this view came into conflict with an understanding of curiosity as an essential feature of the new experimental philosophy.15 The essay “On the natural desire for knowledge” (Del natural desiderio di sapere) by Federico Cesi, head of the Accademia dei Lincei, did not feature prominent use of the term curiosity per se, but he wrote that the purpose of the Accademia dei Lincei was to overcome, “in an orderly way,” “all obstacles and impediments” to knowledge. To this end, the Lincei would “study in detail and with diligence, inside and out … all the objects that present themselves in this grand theater of nature.”16 Bacon, too, followed Augustine in reserving the term “curiosity” for “fruitless speculation or controversy.”17 But in his vision of the pursuit of knowledge in natural philosophy, Bacon encouraged the relentless inquisitiveness—coupled with the quality of charity, (p.121) which manifests itself in the desire to do good for humanity18—that was already coming to be identified with curiosity. Later in the seventeenth century, Descartes used the term “curiosity” in a positive sense, writing that it denoted “nothing but a desire for knowledge,” and that “it differs greatly from a desire for glory.”19 Indeed, as Peter Harrison has shown, Bacon’s avoidance of the term “curiosity” in formulating his new method for science did not detract from his contribution to the “rehabilitation of curiosity” as a legitimate component of the new natural philosophy.20

Recent reevaluations of Bacon’s work have demonstrated that his approach to learning was deeply connected to the collection and study of curiosities, which had become widespread practices among the nobility and intelligentsia of Renaissance Europe. Objecting to the characterization of Bacon as “the early ideologist of a mechanistic ‘cold’ exploitation of nature,”21 Horst Bredekamp has shown that Bacon’s methods grew out of earlier systems of knowledge, especially that embodied by the Kunstkammern—collections of art, and of curiosities both natural and man-made—that had become ubiquitous in the palaces and homes of wealthy patrons throughout Renaissance Europe.22 The Kunstkammer constituted a site of study and contemplation of humanity’s role in the social and natural worlds; as Krzysztof Pomian explains, Kunstkammern were “collections with encyclopaedic ambitions, intended as a miniature version of the universe.” Using his notion of the collection as a site of mediation between the “visible” and the “invisible,” Pomian writes that Kunstkammern “contain[ed] specimens of every category of things and help[ed] to render visible the totality of the universe, which otherwise would remain hidden from human eyes.”23 As Lorraine J. Daston and Katharine Park have suggested, the rigorous combination of reason and sensory experience that Bacon advocated found its testing ground in these cabinets of curiosities, where “art and nature first mingled and ultimately merged.”24 For Bacon, “nature and art met in marvels, because marvels of both kinds forced nature out of its ordinary course.”25

Sensory experience was a matter of interest to artists and their patrons as well as to natural philosophers. In 1617–18 Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens together executed a series of five paintings known as The Five Senses.26 Each panel depicts a female nude representing a personification of a single sense, situated within a collection of objects and images that call to mind the experiences produced by that sense. The series was apparently commissioned by the Habsburg rulers known as “the archdukes”—Albert (1559–1621) and Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566–1633), Catholic rulers of the southern Netherlands, whom both Rubens and Brueghel had served as court painters for nearly a decade.27 The connection (p.122) between the archdukes and The Five Senses is reinforced by the depiction in the paintings of preexisting portraits of the rulers, as well as images of their palaces.28 In situating their allegorical female figures within a representation of the real world of Albert and Isabella, Brueghel and Rubens connected the rulers with the study and the accumulation of knowledge through sensory experience.

The Allegory of Hearing (plate 2) presents the female figure in the middle of a room full of sound, in effect isolating the objects that evoke sound from the other objects within a collection. Indeed, like images of Kunstkammern, the room depicted in the Allegory of Hearing is overflowing with such objects. Compare, for example, the painting by Hierony-mous Francken the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder known as The Archdukes Albert and Isabella Visiting a Collector’s Cabinet (plate 3);29 the Kunstkammer depicted there contains some of the same instruments of sound—in particular, a set of viols, a lute, and a musical score resting on a table—as those found in the Allegory of Hearing. Francken and Brueghel’s painting attests to the collector’s project of engaging all of the senses within a single visit to the Kunstkammer. Like a Kunstkammer, Pomian explains, “a picture which portrays a private museum portrays it as a place where one can see the universe as a whole.”30

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Plate 2. Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens, Allegory of Hearing (1617–18). Oil on panel. 0.64 ×1.095 m. Museo del Prado.

Copyright of the Museo Nacional del Prado/Art Resource, NY.

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Plate 3. Hieronymous Francken the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder, The Archdukes Albert and Isabella Visiting a Collector’s Cabinet (1621–23). Oil on panel. 0.94 ×1.233 m. The Walters Art Museum.

Reproduced by permission of the Walters Art Museum.

In isolating the sense of hearing from the other four senses, the Allegory of Hearing calls attention to the many sources of sound available to the early modern listener. The nude at the center of the painting plays a lute; her mouth is held open, suggesting that she is accompanying herself in song; and the little putto next to her seems to be singing as well, a musical score in hand. To the left of the woman are a lira da braccio and a consort of viols,31 various recorders and cornettos, and a table laid out for the singing and playing of consort music.32 In the far corner is a smaller room, in which an ensemble of musicians plays together. Scattered throughout the room are various other musical instruments—hunting horns, a harp, a harpsichord, a military trumpet—and occupying space on the right of the painting are clocks and bells whose chimes one may imagine ringing harmoniously.33 The room is also populated by colorful birds, bringing the sounds of nature into dialogue with artificial music. This interaction of nature and art is amplified by the presence of a stag at the center of the painting, using its famously keen sense of hearing to listen to the music around him.34

Soon after the completion of The Five Senses, the archdukes presented the entire series to Duke Wolfgang Wilhelm of Neuberg in recognition of the agreement they had just made, by which Albert would become a guardian to Wolfgang Wilhelm’s son. In Luc Duerloo’s view, The Five Senses was a particularly appropriate gift for this occasion, since it constituted “a (p.123) truly brilliant metaphor for the width and breadth of the education of an accomplished prince.”35

The court of Wolfgang Wilhelm and that of Albert and Isabella were intertwined on both political and artistic levels.36 Rubens executed several commissions for Wolfgang Wilhelm,37 and in 1624 (after Albert’s death), Wilhelm was accompanied on a visit to Isabella’s court by his newly hired maestro de’ concerti, Biagio Marini. It was to Isabella that Marini dedicated his Sonate of 1626—the volume that contains his curiose e moderne inventioni.38

Peter Allsop has suggested that the dedication of this book to Isabella may have been “occasioned by the good reception Marini had received during his trip to Brussels in 1624,” described in the text of Marini’s dedicatory letter. Allsop continues by noting that the volume “no doubt also reflected [Marini’s] activities at the Court of Neuberg,”39 for Duke Wolfgang Wilhelm is known to have had a strong taste for Italian music. As Allsop has shown, the virtuosity that lies at the heart of Marini’s curiose e moderne inventioni was a distinctly Italian characteristic—one that northern patrons were keen to cultivate in their own courts.40

It is noteworthy in this context that the Allegory of Hearing does not depict violins, but only viols and other consort instruments. In general, Isabella’s court at the time of Marini’s visit was dominated by a relatively conservative musical style,41 as the Italianate idiom of solo violin playing had not yet spread to Brussels. It is no wonder, then, that when Marini presented his Italianate technical tricks he called them curiose, pointing to their novelty and worth. Furthermore, the painting attests to the cultivation of knowledge through sensory experience—in this case, through hearing—at Isabella’s court. The viewer is meant to marvel at the multiplicity of the sources of sound depicted: what music or noise will emerge next, and from where?

Against the backdrop of the rich soundscape depicted in the Allegory of Hearing, Marini’s curiose e moderne inventioni assume new meaning. Like the painting, Marini’s inventions concern themselves with the manifold sources of sound, but Marini’s project includes the creation of musical illusions through technical feats at the violin. These illusions seem at first to constitute mere entertainment—curiosities of the sort that Augustine would have derided. But in fact, as I will show, the sensory experience of sound and the quest to uncover and understand its origins in nature and art were theorized in the 1620s as important components of natural philosophy.

A striking example of Marini’s project of musical illusion may be heard in the “Sonata a 3 in ecco,” in which a trio of violins imitates the natural phenomenon of an echo. The idea of imitating a natural echo effect may (p.124)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Figure 4.1. Marini, “Sonata in ecco,” canto secondo partbook of Sonate, symphonie, canzoni, pass’emezzi, baletti, corenti, gagliarde, & retornelli. Biblioteka Uniwersytecka, Wrocław, shelf mark 50089 Muz.

Reproduced by permission of the Biblioteka Uniwersytecka, Wrocław.

be common enough in late-Renaissance music, but it is noteworthy that Marini’s echo sonata offers the performers specific instructions for staging, as well as for interaction with an audience. The canto primo partbook instructs the player, “Questa è la parte che propone forte” (This is the part that sounds loudly); the heading of the violino secondo reads, “Chi sona questa parte non deve esser visto” (Whoever plays this part should not be seen) (fig. 4.1). A similar rubric introduces the violino terzo (contained in the basso partbook): “Quello, che suona non deve esser visto.” (p.125) The basso continuo partbook summarizes the configuration of instruments: “Il primo violino deve essere visto, & gli altri due nò” (The first violin should be seen, but the other two shouldn’t). This piece must form part of the tradition of “concealed music” identified by Arne Spohr, in which musicians would play from behind a wall with a hidden opening, or in an underground chamber designed for that purpose.42

Not seeing the echoing instruments, the audience would be astonished and entertained at the sound of the echo emerging mysteriously from an unseen source. Staging is thus an essential component of this piece. Unlike, for example, the echo effects in the antiphonal canzonas of Gabrieli, created by placing instrumental choirs of instruments in various locations around a church, Marini’s echo sonata focuses attention on a single performer. Since the echoing instruments “are not to be seen,” it seems evident that the principal instrument should be visible, rather than hidden away out of sight. The virtuoso artisan assumes center stage, putting on display both his own ingenuity and the progressive tastes of his patron.

Aware that echo effects may be heard in nature, listeners to Marini’s echo sonata now find that a similar effect may derive from an artificial source. Example 4.1 shows a passage in which the echo proceeds in a quasinatural way, with regular intervals of time between the first iteration of a musical passage and its repetition in the other two parts. Gradually, however, the proverbial curtain is drawn back, and the music problematizes the boundary between nature and art. First come variations in the length of time between statements of the echo, and, as a result, a layering of the echo (ex. 4.2). Thus Marini’s sonata does not imitate nature, but rather explores artifice and its relationship to nature. Marini highlights the boundary between the two in the passage shown in example 4.3, which also marks the virtuosic climax of the piece. The first initiates a passage by playing double stops. Instead of echoing those literally, the second and third violins divide the double stops of the first violin between themselves. At the moment when double stopping is employed, the echo is unmasked: the second and third violins break the relay pattern, highlighting the artificiality of the echo effect.43

As its title suggests, the “Capriccio in which two violins play four parts” also presents a musical illusion. The two violins alternate between sections that employ double stops in a four-voice imitative texture and sections comprised of quick passagework with no double stops printed. Though the piece is scored in the modern trio sonata texture, the double-stopped passages pose as music in a more formal and austere style. Adopting the characteristic dactylic rhythms found at the openings of most canzonas (p.126)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.1. Marini, “Sonata in ecco,” from Sonate, symphonie, canzoni, pass’emezzi, baletti, corenti, gagliarde, & retornelli, mm. 23–31.

of the late Renaissance (ex. 4.4), the two violins initially span a full twooctave register, dividing their four voices as evenly as possible in order to capture the texture and sonorities of imitative counterpoint. When the double stops end, so does this austere contrapuntal style. The bass line begins to move more slowly in relation to the upper voices, and the figuration suggests a freer interplay between the two violins (ex. 4.5). After multiple alternations between these two textures, the capriccio finishes rhapsodically, with the two violins playing florid ornaments and passage-work over long bass notes that suggest a free meter. Whether or not these two violinists were meant to be seen by their listeners, their imitation of four instruments might have been understood as a façade; but perhaps, for audiences unfamiliar with the sound of double stops, this effect might have caused some to wonder at the number of instruments actually performing. In either case, this example, too, points to illusions inherent in violin virtuosity.

Two examples discussed in chapter 1 likewise present musical illusions, using the performer’s virtuosity and facility at the instrument to problematize (p.127)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.2. Marini, “Sonata in ecco,” mm. 37–44.

the source of music and to arouse a sense of wonder in the listener. The “Capriccio per sonare il violino con tre corde a modo di lira” employs the violin to imitate the lira da braccio, an instrument widely used to accompany the recitation of epic poetry, often with introductory and intermittent chordal flourishes. (That Marini twice used the term capriccio to refer to a work overtly involving role playing suggests that he connected (p.128)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.3. Marini, “Sonata in ecco,” mm. 62–74.

that genre with mimesis. The mimetic passages of Farina’s “Capriccio stravagante,” to be addressed further below, support this association.) The violinist, again engaging in role playing, acts both as accompanist and as cantastorie (see ex. 1.7). Marini’s rubric instructing the performer to bring his lower strings closer together also indicates that the two lower strings should be bowed together at first, and that the top line should (p.129)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.4. Marini, “Capriccio che due violini sonano quattro parti,” from Sonate, symphonie, canzoni, pass’emezzi, baletti, corenti, gagliarde, & retornelli, mm. 1–15.

sound slightly after. Lire da braccio often had a flat or nearly flat bridge that enabled such multiple stopping,44 and Marini sought to create the illusion that his violin could mimic the sound of the lira. But beyond this sonic illusion, Marini’s instruction to the performer hits at the very heart of the issue of instrumentality in the early seventeenth century. The virtuosic artisan, in total control over his instrument, actually changes its constitution. By setting up the strings in an extraordinary way, he is able to use his instrument to produce extraordinary sounds.

The convergence of illusion and command over the instrument is manifest in another work discussed in chapter 1, the “Sonata d’inventione,” in which Marini calls for a scordatura tuning to facilitate the execution of double stops in first position. Beyond this pragmatic purpose for the use (p.130)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.5. Marini, “Capriccio che due violini sonano quattro parti,” mm. 20–30.

of scordatura, however, Marini’s “Sonata d’inventione” calls attention to issues of creativity and spontaneity, as the performer allows his listener-viewers to peek behind the curtain, to see how he prepares the instrument for performance. In addition, like the “Capriccio … a modo di lira,” the “Sonata d’inventione” calls into question just what the violin is—how (p.131)

it is constructed and what it can do. The execution of double stops—Marini’s sonic illusion, which causes his listeners to wonder at the source of sound—also offered Marini the opportunity to display his virtuosity, his intimate knowledge of his instrument, and the artifice he employed to expand his palette of sound. In fact, Marini’s “inventions” in the sense of creative conceits or dramatic pretenses almost always coincide with “inventions” in violin virtuosity. The violin is itself an invention—an instrument, a tool capable of altering the way the early modern listener could hear the world, and itself an object worthy of exploration and experimentation.

The many sources of sound depicted in the Allegory of Hearing and realized through the sonic illusions of Marini’s curiose e moderne inventioni leave listeners wondering at the sense of sound itself. The relationship between the act of listening to or viewing these artworks and the widespread curiosity regarding sensory exploration may be illuminated by the famous “fable of sound” from Galileo’s 1623 treatise Il saggiatore (The Assayer). Accused by his Jesuit rival Orazio Grassi (writing under the pseudonym Lotario Sarsi Sigenzano in his 1619 treatise Libra astronomica ac philosophica)45 of misunderstanding the origin and composition of comets, Galileo explained that he did not profess yet to know the true nature of these heavenly objects. In fact, he argued, in many cases it would never be possible for human observers to know for certain the origins of the phenomena they perceive, since identical sensory perceptions may derive from divergent sources, both natural and artificial.

In order to demonstrate that a single phenomenon perceived by the senses may derive from a multiplicity of origins, Galileo recounted a fable concerning a man who kept birds because he enjoyed the sounds they made. Living in isolation, the man was unaware that other sources of sound existed aside from the throats of birds; he was surprised, therefore, when he heard a new sound and found that it was produced not by a bird, but by a musical instrument—a flute (zufolo). Later, encountering (p.132) another new kind of sound, he discovered the violin. Then he heard the squeaking of hinges on a gate, and still later he discovered sound produced by the rubbing of a finger on the rim of a glass. He found that some insects made sound not by singing in the way that his birds did, but by rubbing their wings together. Finally he encountered the cicada, and, intent upon learning how it produced sound, he probed at it with a needle, searching for the source of its music. His inquisitive nature led him to drive the needle too far, and he silenced the voice of the creature by killing it. Galileo concluded his fable by noting that the protagonist “was reduced to diffidence concerning his knowledge, so that when people asked him how sounds were generated, he would respond kindly that he knew a few ways, but he was sure that there existed a hundred more that were unknown, and unimaginable.”46

Mario Biagioli has interpreted Galileo’s fable of sound as a cautionary tale for the courtier: the death of the cicada at the end of the story results from an overzealous inquiry rather than an appreciation of “the novelties encountered along the way.” For Biagioli, the killing of the cicada is evidence of a “lack of philosophical virtuosity, courtliness, and respect for God’s infinite power.”47 This assessment, however, seems to me too negative; after all, if not for the philosopher’s “natural curiosity” (natural curiosità), which drove him to seek out the causes of sound, and the sense of wonder that he experienced at each new discovery, he would have continued in ignorance. Despite the cicada’s death, there is also something noble in the philosopher’s attempts to expand his horizons; only through that process does he come to appreciate the variety in nature, simultaneously recognizing the limitations of his own senses.48 Indeed, as Erminia Ardissino has suggested, within Galileo’s circle the desire for knowledge about nature was considered an essential component of a virtuous life.49 Galileo’s fable makes it clear that both natural sound and artificial music are legitimate fields of inquiry within this system.

Still, Biagioli’s interpretation of Galileo’s fable provides another means of understanding Marini’s musical inventioni and the music evoked in the Allegory of Hearing. If natural philosophers of the early seventeenth century—Galileo and Bacon among them—advocated the combination of sensory experience with a rigorous logical and empirical method for the examination of the world around them, such rigorous methods still lay outside the domain of noble patrons. (Bacon lamented the widespread belief that “it is beneath the dignity of the human mind to be closely involved with experiments on particular material things given through the senses.”)50 In the case of Marini, the phrase curiose e moderne inventioni both advertised the novelty and experimentalism of his compositions and (p.133) appealed to patrons who could view themselves as part of a distinguished group of curious thinkers. Although Marini’s patrons were unlikely to have attempted the feats of artisanal violinistic skill themselves, their patronage of a progressive composer made them part of an elite circle of intellectuals who used music to advance knowledge of the world through listening. These patrons called upon the artisans they employed to present the full range of sensory experience to them, allowing them to revel in the richness and wide-ranging sources of sounds that may be created through human invention. Like the Kunstkammer, Marini’s violin offered a catalog of curious sounds emerging from a wide array of sources that could stimulate the study of sound itself. As Bacon wrote of all artisanal skill, Marini’s virtuosity would encourage the listener to ponder “new things that haven’t yet been invented.”

The Kunstkammer as a Model for Farina’s Musical Curiosities

The soundscape that envelops the female nude at the center of Brueghel and Rubens’s Allegory of Hearing must be constructed by the mind of the listener. Although José Sierra Pérez has pointed out that the musical score depicted in the painting allows for the enactment of this sound-scape, that enactment would still require the knowledge of the viewer—the viewer’s ability to decode, imagine, and recreate the notated work in time.51 By contrast, the Allegory of Sight (plate 4) requires no such intermediary knowledge: in beholding the painting, the viewer employs the same sense of sight that the work celebrates. Indeed, all five of the panels that make up The Five Senses provide a feast for the eyes, as they are filled with the artworks, naturalia, curiosities, instruments, and machines that populated the Kunstkammern of early modern Europe.52 If early modern court culture encouraged the application of curiosity to curiosities of the natural and artificial world, the tradition of assembling rarified examples of such curiosities in Kunstkammern provided an intense opportunity for the sensory examination of nature, artifice, and the connections between the two.

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Plate 4. Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens, Allegory of Sight (1617). Oil on panel. 0.647 ×1.095 m. Museo del Prado.

Copyright of the Museo Nacional del Prado/Art Resource, NY.

Although the contents of the collections held by Albert and Isabella are little known, those of Farina’s employer, Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony, are remarkably well documented. Examination of some of this documentation demonstrates that the musical curiosities that Farina included in his “Capriccio stravagante” may be closely related to the curiosities of art and nature contained in the elector’s collections at the time of Farina’s residence at the Dresden court.

The “Capriccio stravagante” appeared in Farina’s second published collection, (p.134) the Ander Theil newer Paduanen, Gagliarden, Couranten, frantzösischen Arien, benebenst einem kurtzweiligen Quodlibet/von allerhand seltzamen Inventionen, dergleichen vorhin im Druck nie gesehen worden (Second volume of new pavans, galliards, courants, French arias, together with a time-passing quodlibet with various curious inventions, the likes of which have never before been seen in print). The phrase “kurtzweilig Quodlibet” in this title is a German rendering of “Capriccio stravagante,” a work in which the violin consort imitates a host of other instruments, and even animals. The mimetic sections of the piece are assigned Italian rubrics in the partbooks of the three highest instruments, and the bass partbook contains the Italian rubrics alongside their German translations. The virtuosic techniques required for the work’s execution are explained in a list of instructions printed at the end of the volume, first in Italian and then in German; these are followed by a glossary of Italian terms rendered into German. (Table 4.2 presents an outline of the representational sections of the work, together with the performance instructions relevant to each section in both languages.)

The Kunstkammer was only one of the many sites of collecting at the palace of Johann Georg—he had a separate space for his collection of books, another for armor and hunting gear, another for live animals, and so forth—but its purpose seems to encapsulate the project of collecting as a whole.53 Philipp Hainhofer, an adviser to the court of Augsburg and himself a theorist and practitioner of the art of collecting, left two substantial descriptions of the Dresden collections in his travel diaries of 1617 and 1629;54 a statement in the 1617 diary suggests that it was the exploration of the relationship between the collector and the world around him that constituted one of the primary focal points of the Kunstkammer. Apparently frustrated at the brevity of his visit to the collection, he wrote that “there are in this Kunstkammer, on all the tables, in all the chests and on all the walls so many small and large, ugly and elegant tools and items, that one would need several days to see everything one wanted and needed to see, and to observe nature and art.”55

Hainhofer’s opposition of nature and art highlights the role of the Kunstkammer as a repository of items meant to inspire wonder, both at the world in its apparently untouched state and at the observer’s ability to interact with and control that world. Although the Kunstkammer provided a particularly intense opportunity for the observer to ponder this dichotomy, the courtly collections as a whole served a similar purpose. The collections seem to have been designed to serve as a microcosm through which the ruler could learn and assert his place in his environment. (p.135)

Table 4.2 Representational sections of the “Capriccio stravagante,” in order of appearance in the composition

Italian title

German titlea

Likely English equivalent

Relevant excerpt from “Alcuni avertimenti nel soprano intorno al Capriccio stravagante.”b

Relevant excerpt from “Etliche Nothwendige Erinnerungen wegen des Quotlibets von allerhand Inventionen.”

La lira

Die Leyer

Peasant’s lyre (hurdy-gurdy)

Dove si truovano nota sopra nota con forme all’intavolatura dell’organo con questo segno ⁀ di sopra, all’hora si suonera lirsando, come fanno li orbi overo ciechi. (Where one finds one note on top of another, as in organ tablature, with this sign ⁀ above it, it should be played like a lyre, as one-eyed and blind people do.)c

Wann zwo Noten uberinander stehen oben mit diesem Zeichen ⁀ gezeichnet/als muß man dieselben Noten mit dem Bogen schleiffen/gleich einer Leyren. (When two notes stand one on top of another with this sign ⁀ pictured, then must one play both notes with [a single] bowstroke, like a lyre.)

Il pifferino

Das kleine Schalmeygen

Little shawm

Il pifferino vien sonato con strascini. (The little shawm is played with slurs.)

Das kleine Schalmeygen wird gleichsfalls wie oben gemeld/schleiffend gemacht. (As mentioned above the little shawm likewise [like the tremulant] d is played with slurs.)

Lira variata

Die Leyer uff ein andert Art

Peasant’s lyre, varied

Qui si bate con il legno del archetto sopra le corde

Hier schlegt man mit dem Holtze des Bogens

Here one strikes the strings with the wood of the bow

Si trovera una altra volta nota sopra nota come di sopra, queste vengono battute con il legno dell’archetto come fanno li tamburini, cio è non bisogna lasciar fermar troppo, ma parar via di lungo. (Where one finds again one note on top of another, as above [in the lyre section], these [notes] are hit with the wood of the bow, as tabor players do; that is, it is not necessary to leave the bow still for too long, but rather to spring away directly afterward.)

Weiter findet man auch andere Noten ubereinander gesetzet/gleich als in der Orgel Tablatur/diese werden mit dem Holtze des Bogens gleich eines Hackebrets geschlagen/doch daß man den Bogen nicht lange stille halte/sondern immerdar fortfahre. (Further, one finds more notes set on top of one another, as in organ tablature; these are hit with the wood of the bow like a hammer dulcimer; but one should not leave the bow still for long, but rather always move away [quickly].)

La trombetta, Il clarino, Le gnachere

Die Trommeten, Das Clarin, Die Heerpaucken

Trumpet, clarino trumpet, kettledrums

La gallina

Die Henne


Il gallo

Der Han


Il flautino pian piano

Die Flöten still stille

Recorders, very quietly

Il flautino vien sonato con leggiadria strascinando cio è che si suona pianino sott’al scannello del violino solamente un mezzo dito discosto … [cont. in “Il fifferino”] (The recorder [section] is played gracefully, with slurs; [this is accomplished by] play[ing] softly near the bridge of the violin, just a half a finger’s [width] away.)

Die Flöten werden gantz lieblichen nahe bey dem Steg/etwan ein quer Finger darvon/gar stille gleich einer Lira geschleiffet … [cont. in “Das soldaten Pfeifflen”] (The recorder [section] is played very sweetly just by the bridge, about a finger’s width away from it, quite softly, [and] bowed like a lyre.)

Il tremulo

Der Tremulant

Organ tremulant

Il tremolo và sonato solamente facendo tremar il pulso della mano dell’archetto. (The tremulant is played by making only the wrist of the bow hand tremble.)

So wird das Tremuliren mit pulsirender Hand/darinnen man den Bogen hat/auff art des Tremulaten in den Orgeln imitiret. (The tremulant is played with a pulsating bow hand, by way of imitating the tremulant of the organ.)

Fifferino della soldadesca, Il tamburo

Das Soldaten Pfeifflen, Die Paucken oder Soldaten Trommel

Soldier’s pipe and tabor

[cont. from “Il flautino”] … me desimamente il fifferino vien sonato conforme il flautino ma sonando la mita piu sotto al scanello & più forte. (The fife is played exactly [like the recorder], but played slightly closer to the bridge, and somewhat louder.)

[cont. from “Die Flöten”] … deßgleichen das Soldaten Pfeiffgen nur allein daß es etwas stärcker und näher/am Stege gemachet wird. (… likewise the soldier’s fife, only it is played somewhat louder and closer to the bridge.)

Il gatto

Die Katze


Il gatto vien sonato facendo morir quelle note cio è portar la man indietro à poco alla volta, ma le semicrome vengono sonate disgratiatamente alla peggio cio è facendo fuggir l’archetto dentro & fuora del scannello; come fanno li gatti quando scappono vià. (The cat is played by making the notes die, that is, by shifting the [left] hand backwards a little at a time; but the sixteenth notes are played ungracefully and badly, that is by making the bow run above and below the bridge, just as cats do when they scatter away.)

Das Katzengeschrey anlanget wird folgender gestalt gemacht/daß man mit einem Finger von den Thon da die Noten stehet/mehlichen unterwartz zu sich zeuhet/da aber die Semifusen geschrieben sein/muß man mit dem Bogen bald vor/bald hinter den Stegk uffs ärgste und geschwindeste als man kan fahren/auff die weise wie di Katzen letzlichen nach dem sie sich gebissen und jetzo außreissen zu thun pflegen. (With respect to the cat cries, they are made in the following manner: That one slides the finger gradually toward oneself [i.e., downward] from where one [initially] stops the string; however, where sixteenth notes are written, one must take care to run the bow, now above, now below the bridge as badly and as quickly as one can, in the way that as cats ultimately do, as they bite each other and run away in chase.)

Il cane

Der Hund


Ecco il cane questo vien sonato all’incontrario del gatto, portando la mano sempre innanzi furiosamente. (The dog is played in the opposite way from the cat, continually shifting [the left hand] furiously upward.)

Darkegen das Hundebellen wird mit einem Finger von der Noten gar geschwinde auff einer seiten/nauffwarts gezogen. (In contrast, the dog’s bark is [played] by quickly shifting the stopping finger upward on a string.)

La chitarra spagniola

Die spannische Cythar

Spanish guitar

La chitarra spagnuola vien sonata levando via il violino dalla spalla, & mettendolo sott’il fianco sonando con le dite, conforma alla chitarra istessa. (The Spanish guitar is played by lifting the violin from the shoulder and placing it under the hip, to play like the aforementioned, in the manner of the guitar itself.)

Endlichen die Spannische Chitarren belangend wird ihrer art nach mit den Fingern geschlagen/indeme man die Geigen unter den Arm nimbt/und drauff schlegt als eine rechte Spannische Chitarrea wie. (Lastly concerning the Spanish guitar, one plays the violin with the fingers in the same manner, by taking it under the arm and plucking it, as if it were a Spanish guitar.)

aA nearly complete set of partbooks survives in Kassel (D-Kl); the bass partbook contains both German and Italian rubrics, while the other partbooks give only Italian rubrics. The Kassel set preserves only the very brief performance instructions pertaining to the tenor partbook; the more complete instructions in the cantus partbook survive only in the copy in Dresden (D-Sl).

bMy thanks to Mary Frandsen, Helen Greenwald, Francesco Izzo, Jeffery Kite-Powell, and Neal Zaslaw for their suggestions concerning these translations.

cThe rosined wheel of the hurdy-gurdy rendered all of its music legato.

dThe order of representational sections in the music is not maintained in the performance instructions; thus Farina’s description of the performance technique for the tremulant directly precedes that of the shawm.

(p.136) (p.137) (p.138) Johann Georg also expressed his penchant for collecting through the collection of things musical. The Kunstkammer contained models of musical instruments fashioned out of stone and glass, but there were also extensive collections of more practical instruments outside that sanctum—in the Pfeiffenkammer, which contained wind and string instruments, and the schlagende Instrumentkammer, which housed keyboard instruments.56 The elector updated the musical establishment of his court, hiring talented composers and commissioning musical works in the modern style, at least until the economic constraints imposed by the Thirty Years’ War interfered with his patronage of the arts.57 To judge from some of the music composed for him in the 1610s and 1620s, Johann Georg was especially interested in the adaptation of recent Italian innovations to his native German idiom. Although the Italian influence on the Dresden court can be seen as early as the late sixteenth century, it was Georg’s journey to Italy in 1601 (ten years before the start of his reign as elector) that (p.139)

most tangibly shaped the Italianate character of the musical, cultural, and intellectual environment of his court.58 Most famously, he invited Heinrich Schütz to Dresden in 1614, shortly after the composer’s return to the court of his patron, Landgrave Moritz of Hesse-Kassel, from a lengthy stay in Venice, during which he studied with Giovanni Gabrieli.

The elector’s cultivation of Italian musical trends must also have contributed to his hiring of Carlo Farina as Konzertmeister of the Dresden court in 1625. In this context, Farina was himself an object of collection: a foreign novelty whose wondrous skill attested to his patron’s taste, erudition, and curiosity. Farina’s incorporation of virtuosic violin techniques in his “Capriccio stravagante” may have helped to enhance his own prestige and that of Johann Georg, for the work constitutes a written record of the culture of invention that they fostered. The “Capriccio” is by far the longest piece that Farina is known to have composed, and it is also among the longest and most complex instrumental works of the early seventeenth century, encompassing some thirty-six sections of music separated from one another by changes of key, time signature, or character. The work moves unpredictably between sections of standard Franco-Germanic consort music—some that are harmonically predictable and others that are surprisingly dissonant—and sections of theatrical mimesis that make use of the most recent developments in Italian soloistic virtuosity.

It is not at all clear that either Farina or Marini would have known the contents of the collections of their respective patrons, since visits to such collections required special invitation and an escort by the curator of the collection or some other official with knowledge of it. However, these composers’ familiarity with specific items within the Kunstkammer is immaterial. At issue is the wider interest in sensory experience and mastery of nature evident throughout such collections. Just as the Kunstkammer and other collections provided a space for the application of sensory experience to the act of viewing curiosities, the “Capriccio stravagante” offered an opportunity to consider curiosities of sound. Farina’s application of his curiosities in a representational project aids the listener in problematizing and contemplating the sources of sound. In this scenario, the violin, too, functions as a curiosity—an instrument capable of reproducing a whole world of sounds from the realms of nature and artifice.59

In the realm of artifice, the musical instruments depicted in the “Capriccio” find models in the collections of instruments housed in the electoral palace, offering a sonic tour of his patron’s holdings. Farina led the instrumental music at numerous court occasions, so he must have had direct knowledge of the extensive collections of musical instruments housed there. Although the “Capriccio” does not serve as a comprehensive tour of (p.140) those collections, those instruments that Farina did select can be taken to stand for musical practice throughout society. The first instrument represented in Farina’s parade is “La Lira/Die Leyer,” The Hurdy-Gurdy, described by Praetorius as the “Lyra Rustica, seu pagana, ein gemeine Lyra” (the rustic, or ordinary [profane] lyre) and by Hainhofer as the “Teutsche gemaine lÿren” (common German lyre).60 Indeed, Farina’s performance instructions call attention to the association of the instrument with peasants, noting that it is normally found in the hands of “li orbi overo ciechi” (blind or one-eyed people [beggars?]).61 The rich droning of this section, realized by means of double stops, serves as a marker both of the instrument itself and of its apparently unrefined harmonic language (ex. 4.6).62

At the other extreme of the German social landscape is the section imitating a band of trumpets and kettledrums. Here the lowest line (marked “Die Heerpaucken”) imitates kettledrums oscillating between the first and fifth scale degrees; in the lines marked “La trombetta” low- and mid-range “trumpets” outline D major triads; and the highest line (“Il clarino”) copies trumpets in the clarino register, where the natural harmonic series allows for the sounding of a full diatonic scale (ex. 4.7). As is now well-known, these instruments were associated exclusively in this period with the music of the uppermost members of the nobility, a connection confirmed by imperial edicts issued as early as 1630 delineating a clear separation between trumpeters and kettledrummers on the one hand, and ordinary Stadtpfeifer on the other.63

Farina evokes military images as well, not only through his imitation of trumpets and kettledrums (which were used in both courtly and military contexts), but more specifically through his representation of a pipe and tabor and military kettledrums (ex. 4.8), which he calls the “Fifferino della soldatesca/Das Soldaten Pfeifflen” and “Il tamburo/Die Paucken oder Soldaten Trommel.” Given that only the uppermost violin plays a melody and the lower three instruments play various rhythmic motives on a single pitch, it seems possible that Farina meant to represent a soldier’s pipe accompanied by drums of various sizes and types.

The section Farina titled “Il pifferino/das kleine Schalmeygen,” featuring imitation of a shawm at least on the highest line (the German phrase is a double diminutive, meaning that the instrument in question is a small version of the soprano-register shawm), captures the sound of a wind ensemble. Such ensembles, which might also include sackbuts, dulcians, and other wind or brass instruments, had formed the core of German civic ensembles by the late fourteenth century—the term Stadtpfeifer (literally, “city shawmists”) was applied to all members of such groups, regardless (p.141)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.6. Farina, “La lira/Die Leyer,” from “Capriccio stravagante,” mm. 67–74.

From Carlo Farina, Ander Theil newer Paduanen, Gagliarden, Couranten, frantzö-sischen Arien, benebenst einem kurtzweiligen Quodlibet/von allerhand seltzamen Inventionen (1627).


“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.7. Farina, “La trombetta, Il clarino, Le gnachere,/Die Trommeten, Das Clarin, Die Heerpaucken,” from “Capriccio stravagante,” mm. 168–76.


“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.8. Farina, “Fifferino della soldatesca, Il tamburo/Das Soldaten Pfeifgen, Die Paucken oder Soldaten Trommel,” from “Capriccio stravagante,” mm. 274–75.

of which wind instrument they played64—and the importance of the shawm in civic music in both Germany and Italy persisted well into the seventeenth century. Shawm ensembles, part of the category of hauts instruments (loud instruments), were sponsored by cities and privately by noble patrons; they provided music for banquets and accompanied public processions and other civic functions,65 and Praetorius attests to their use to accompany courtly dance.66

In contrast to the Schalmeygen, the recorder consort, represented in the section “Il flautino pian piano/Die Flöten stil stille,” which highlights the recorders’ softness even in its title, stands for the bas instruments (soft instruments), used primarily to substitute for or accompany voices in ensemble motets or part songs. Indeed, although “Il pifferino” and “Il flautino” are not positioned directly next to one another, their soprano lines are nearly inverses of each other, a feature that highlights the opposing nature of the two consorts (ex. 4.9a and 4.9b). The melody of the “Il pifferino” starts by ascending in eighth notes, then contains an ornament in sixteenths; “Il flautino” opens with descending sixteenth notes and continues with an ascending eighth-note figure. These motives form the core of the two sections in question, calling attention to the opposition between haut and bas.

Farina’s “Capriccio” refers, too, to organ music, in the section that calls for the use of a measured bow tremolo to imitate the organ tremulant.67 (Thus, although Farina’s notes are printed in larger values, his performance instructions indicate that the tremolo should be played in even eighth notes.) As noted in chapter 2, the tremulant created a somber or melancholy affect,68 here augmented by the harsh dissonances that connect this section with the Italian tradition of durezze e ligature organ works.69 (p.144)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.9A. Farina, “Il pifferino/Das kleine Schalmeygen,” from “Capriccio stravagante,” mm. 75–78.

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.9B. Farina, “Il flautino pian piano/Die Flöten still stille,” from “Capriccio stravagante,” mm. 197–99.

(p.145) Only one instrument included in the “Capriccio” is absent from Hainhofer’s inventory in the Dresden collections. Significantly, it is one that Praetorius describes with notable inaccuracy: the Spanish guitar. This exotic instrument stands in stark contrast to the hurdy-gurdy—the only other string instrument represented in the “Capriccio”with its distinctly German character. Praetorius associates the guitar, like the hurdy-gurdy, with folk music: “In Italy the charlatans and saltimbanco ([commedia dell’arte performers] who are like our comedians and buffoons) strum on these in singing their villanelle and other crude songs. But none the less the quintern [guitar] can be used by good singers for accompanying pleasing and lovely songs.”70 As James Tyler and Paul Sparks have noted, Praetorius’s description of the stringings and tunings of the guitar betrays a lack of familiarity with developments in guitar technique and technology undertaken in Italy in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.71 Among other lacunae, Praetorius writes only of a four-course instrument, whereas the most up-to-date Spanish guitars in Italy had five courses. Hainhofer’s inventory of 1629 does not include a guitar, supporting the notion that the instrument was still not in widespread use in Dresden.

Taken together, the hurdy-gurdy and the Spanish guitar bridge the gap between the native German music of Farina’s host country and his own Italian heritage, which included the quasi-exotic influences of Spain. That Praetorius equivocates about the peasant’s lyre, including it among his illustrations but giving it only a cursory mention in the written description in his De organographia, speaks not only to questions of its suitability in a book dedicated to a member of the nobility, but also to its familiarity to a German readership. The Spanish guitar, by contrast, had only recently been introduced to Italy and was barely familiar to German audiences. Its inclusion in the “Capriccio” may have signified a nod toward Farina’s responsibilities at the Dresden court: introducing the new Italian musical styles and fusing them with the musical practices of his host country.

As a whole the “Capriccio” offers a snapshot of a sampling of musical instruments in various social contexts, from instruments used by peasants to those used in court, from instruments destined for church to those designed for the battlefield. Hainhofer’s catalog of the Pfeiffenkammer, too, describes a vast range of instrumental types and portrays them in various ways. Some, such as “etliche Cornet,” “etliche Geigen,” and “2 harffen,” require only brief mention; others call for more explanation: “bäugglin und ain pfeiffen zusamen, das man mit der ainen hand pfeiffet, und mit der andern baugget” (a little bag and pipe together, that one blows with one hand and pumps with the other). Some are native to Germany—as noted above, Hainhofer counts “1 Teutsche gemaine lÿren”—and others derive (p.146) from other, more exotic locations; for example, he mentions a “tapas, auf dessen saiten man mit ainem sammetinen kleppel schlegt, und ain Indianisch instrument ist” (tapas, on the strings of which one strikes with a velvet clapper, and it is an Indian instrument). Some of the instruments in the collection featured lavish decoration, including “2 schöne geigen und 1 lautten, aller mit perlenmutter eingelegt, die dachstern mit stainen gezieret” (two beautiful violins and one lute, all inlaid with mother-of-pearl, the rosette ornamented with [precious] stones). Like Hainhofer’s inventories, Farina’s composition encapsulates the familiar and the exotic, the ornate and the practical. Like the instrument rooms at the Dresden court, the “Capriccio” brings together instruments from widely disparate sources, uniting them within a single collection.

Farina’s Animal Noises and the Boundary between Nature and Art

The meanings of the Kunstkammern in Dresden and beyond become clearest through consideration of collectors’ attempts to quantify, analyze, and recreate life. Behind these attempts lay the so-called mechanistic philosophy, which sought to understand all natural phenomena, including life, in terms of mechanics,72 and which for early modern collectors represented a means of both understanding the natural world and joining in the process of creation. The ultimate goal of the collector was to understand and reproduce animate motion, which was seen as the essential and defining component of all life.73 The mechanistic philosophy itself represented a synthesis of objective science and the occult or mystical attempts to understand the mysteries of life, as Bredekamp writes:

The inherent meaning of the Kunstkammer was by no means limited by their mechanistic structure; on the contrary, it was expanded therein. One of the most surprising elements of mechanistic philosophy is that it also supported the expression of occult tendencies that were long considered the sheer opposite to “cold” Cartesian thought. The strongest connection between these two apparently incompatible schools of thought could be found in attempts to synthesize life. Since life in its highest form was defined since Plato’s time as the ability to move independently, the creation of movement became the decisive criterion.74

In the spirit of these attempts to understand and recreate the mechanisms of life, the Kunstkammern of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were filled with stuffed animals, skeletons of animals, reproductions of animals’ muscular structures, sculptures of animals, and animal automata.

(p.147) The assembly of animalia in both the Kunstkammer and the Anatomiekammer (anatomy room) of the Dresden court suggests an interest both in analysis of the physical composition of common creatures (for example, stuffed birds) and evidence of rare or mythical beings (including rhinoceros horns and the claws of a griffin).75 A set of eight animals sculpted out of wax, listed in the 1619 inventory of the Kunstkammer, includes not only lions (a group of real ones were housed in the electoral Lewenhaus [lion house]), but also a unicorn.76 The collector’s role as enabler of these natural curiosities is made evident in Hainhofer’s description of the chameleon, “who adopts the color of each thing, where one sets it”;77 the animal does not go where he pleases, but changes color under the supervision of the observer who sets it down.78

Other objects represent animal life through the fusion of the natural and the artificial. A set of sculpted cups in the form of ostriches, still housed in the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault), started with real ostrich eggs, which, taken out of their natural context, were intermingled with silver gilt, so that they give birth, as it were, to new, man-made ostriches.79 The sculptor of these birds toyed with the notion of creation, using technology and artifice to refer to the alchemical quest for life. Hainhofer made further reference to the intertwining of chemistry and alchemy in his description of the court apothecary, Johann Wechingern, who prepared medicines from various body parts of a deer on display in the Kunstkammer. (Evidently he also used to sing a song about this animal and the medical experiments performed on it.)80

Another category of objects within the Kunstkammer was that of automata and machines, which emphasize the artisan’s ingenuity in the imitation and fabrication of life. Many of the clockwork automata in the Kunstkammer took the form of animals. Made through the artistry of a human carver, these animals achieved motion through the mechanical ingenuity of a human artisan-scientist; when the appropriate time arrived, they sprang to life, imitating the activities of similar animals in the natural world. So, for example, the Kunstkammer included “two beautiful little dogs, in which a clockwork mechanism causes them to move their eyes,” “a little clock with a pelican and its young, which move when the clockwork strikes,” and “a bear, [which,] when [the clockwork] strikes, moves its eyes, its paws, its nose, and plays a drum, while a hunter holds up his horn, as if to blow [it].”81

In his “Capriccio” Farina, too, acted as a collector. This is true not only in the sense suggested above—that his work functions as a tour of instruments, offering musical images with a comprehensive array of social associations—but also in the work’s attempts to recreate the noises of animals (p.148)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.10. Farina, “Il gatto/Die Katze,” from “Capriccio stravagante,” mm. 288–95.

in their natural states, an undertaking that reflects the spirit of the Kunstkammer. Like the sculptor who fashioned his ostriches out of eggs and silver and the anatomist who prepared birds for stuffing and display, Farina captured natural phenomena—the sounds of hens, roosters, cats, and dogs—and recorded them in music.

Farina exploited the technical capacities of his instrument to make his animal sounds seem as realistic as possible. In “Il cane” and “Il gatto,” for example, he instructed the performers to use glissando, sliding their fingers flat for the cat (ex. 4.10) and sharp for the dog (see the instructions for these passages in table 4.2). The effect may be comical, but it is also eerily realistic. Still, just as the Kunstkammer (in contrast to the Lewenhaus) was not a menagerie, displaying real animals making real noises, but rather extracting items from nature and rendering them in a manner that displayed the collector’s ingenuity, Farina likewise presented his animals within the context of man-made artifice, in a refined setting made up of (p.149)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Figure 4.2. Nautilus-shell cups in the shape of a rooster and hen, Friedrich Hillebrandt, Nuremberg, ca. 1593–1602. First mentioned in the Kunstkammer inventory of 1640; now housed in the Grünes Gewölbe, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Inventory Nos. III 156 and III 193.

Photograph by Jürgen Karpinski. Reproduced by permission of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

carefully planned and coordinated harmonies, rhythms, and motives. The nonrepresentational music serves as a frame—a display case, perhaps—for Farina’s artificial instruments and synthetic animals.

It is significant that Farina chose not to imitate more noble creatures—or, for that matter, ones that are more musical. But musicality is precisely not the point. Instead, Farina seems to have been intent on depicting these natural sounds in a distinctly unmusical manner. The purpose of the Dresden collections was to experience both the beautiful and the grotesque in nature, to use tools and instruments—in this case, musical instruments—to understand it, and, as Farina does, to recreate it through imagination and invention. The matching nautilus-shell rooster and hen drinking cups shown in figure 4.2, made in the late sixteenth century and part of the Dresden Kunstkammer collection by 1640, suggest that the seemingly mundane barnyard animals of the “Capriccio” would have been quite at home within the electoral collection (fig. 4.2 and ex. 4.11).82

One section of the “Capriccio” uses a virtuosic technique, but does not bear a title indicating that it imitates an animal or another musical instrument. (p.150)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.11. Farina, “La gallina, Il gallo/Die Henne, Der Han,” from “Capriccio stravagante,” mm. 181–87.

The rubrics state only, “Qui si bate con il legno del archetto sopra le corde/Hier schlegt man mit dem Holtze des Bogens” (Here [the player] hits the wood of the bow against the strings) (table 4.2 and ex. 4.12). In the appendix to the “Capriccio,” Farina explains further how this technique is applied: the Italian avertimenti suggest that the player should use his bow (p.151)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.12. Farina, “Qui si bate con il legno del archetto sopra le corde/Hier schlegt man mit dem Holtze des Bogens,” from “Capriccio stravagante,” mm. 103–11.

“come fanno li tamburini” (as tabor players do), and the German Erinnerungen instruct the violinist to use his instrument “gleich eines Hackebrets” (like a hammer dulcimer). This section does not imitate either of those instruments; rather, it applies their performance technique to the violin. Here, mimesis assumes secondary importance. Of greater significance (p.152)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Figure 4.3. Close-up view of a turned-ivory pyramid, at the base of which are mechanical musicians playing trumpets and kettledrums. (Not shown is a sphere at the top of the pyramid containing a group of automated banqueters.) Egidius Lobenigk, 1589. Included in the Kunstkammer inventory of 1595; now housed in the Grünes Gewölbe, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Inventory No. II 133.

Photograph by Jürgen Karpinski. Reproduced by permission of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

is the exploration of the instrument itself as a tool for the production and exploration of sound qua sound.

This col legno passage, missing an overt and specific representational aspect, focuses the attention of the players and listeners on the violin as an instrument. But of course it is the representational portions of the work that highlight the ability of the violin to aid the collector in the study and understanding of life. This is true not only in the passages that illustrate the noises of animals, which, as we have seen, constituted an essential focal point of the Kunstkammer. The violin’s capacity to recreate life is also evident in the portions of the “Capriccio” that illustrate other musical instruments. The “Capriccio” brings to life the sounds and music of humanity.

The Kunstkammer’s concern with music as a driving force in human life manifests itself in the automaton shown in figure 4.3—a pyramid of (p.153) turned ivory, the base of which hides a clockwork mechanism that would at the appointed time set in motion the trumpeters and kettledrummers, who would hold their instruments as if playing them, while the musical mechanism produced their sounds, all while a group of pages walked up the stairs at the base of the pyramid. A separate mechanism caused the banqueters inside the sphere at the top of the column (not shown here) to raise their hands to their mouths, as if eating.83 On a basic level, this artifact uses music to display the creative capacities of the designers of musical instruments and the players of music. On a more self-conscious level, and a deeper one, music within this automaton microcosm serves as a marker of life. The banqueters at the top of the pyramid become animated only through the single medium of movement. The musicians, by contrast, both move and sound.

So, too, in Farina’s “Capriccio,” music serves as a marker of human life. Farina illustrates not simply music, but people making music—music as a product and function of life. Music from the mundane to the sublime, from the familiar to the exotic, is heard by means of a single instrument. Much like the optical lenses in the Kunstkammer, which allowed the viewer to consider nature from multiple perspectives (and therefore to understand that a single object could be seen in many ways), the violin is exploited in every conceivable fashion—the bow produces chords and slurs, playing close to and even over the bridge; its wood strikes at the strings; the instrument is held on its side; the player’s stopping fingers slide up and down; the arm vibrates—to offer the listener a multiplicity of images of musical life.

The mechanical inventiveness also encompassed scientific instruments and machines that aroused the curiosity of the beholder. Included in the Kunstkammer, too, were enormous quantities of scientific instruments, including lenses, scopes, and devices for measuring and weighing.84 Astronomical clocks and mechanical automata made possible by recent developments in clockwork technology aided the collector in the amateur study of the workings of the planets. Indeed, novelty in mechanization was of primary importance in most Kunstkammern.85 Disproportionate power is showcased in “several magnets, of which the largest weighs 5 lots, [but which] attracts 66 lots of iron, which it holds day and night, year and day.”86 And the problems of animate motion are put on display in “a perpetual motion, which ascends and descends inside a glass ring.”87

Although Hainhofer’s description of this “perpetual motion” is vague, the concept behind it was pervasive in early modern Europe, and it remained so even after discovery of conservation of energy had proven it futile.88 Thus the perpetual-motion pieces of Nicolò Paganini some two (p.154)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.13A. Marini, “Sonata senza cadenza,” from Sonate, symphonie, canzoni, pass’emezzi, baletti, corenti, gagliarde, & retornelli, mm. 1–9.

hundred years later find their roots in one final example from Marini’s Sonate opus 8: the “Sonata senza cadenza.” This sonata is not a perpetual-motion work in the nineteenth-century sense, with relentlessly fast, quasi-mechanical, virtuosic passagework. Instead, it dramatizes the quest for perpetual motion by thwarting cadences even when the music seems exhausted and ready to collapse. The sonata opens with a long section in which the two soprano instruments (Marini offers the option of either violins or cornettos) trade statements of a theme that operates in quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes. The bass provides a persistent pulse, mostly in quarter and half notes (ex. 4.13a). In the second section, however, Marini writes the rubric “tardo” (slowly), and the melodic lines are inflected with chromatic passing tones that pull them downward, threatening to subvert the goal of perpetual motion (ex. 4.13b). The music (p.155)

“Curiose e moderne inventioni”Biagio Marini’s Sonate (1626) and Carlo Farina’s “Capriccio Stravagante” (1627) as Collections of Curiosities

Example 4.13B. Marini, “Sonata senza cadenza,” mm. 23–31.

must fight this “gravitational pull” in order to regain its first tempo and energy, which it does only after sixteen measures. The third section of the piece recalls the opening: again the music is lively and cheerful, and the two instruments trade motives even more quickly than before. At the end of the piece, however, the chromaticisms return, and the project of perpetual motion is done in by reality—in this case, the reality that music, as a temporal art, must end.

Like the engineers who developed the machines that populated early modern Kunstkammern, Farina and Marini assumed the role of an inventor or developer of instruments; they present not a scientific instrument, but a musical one—the violin—demonstrating how it can be exploited and manipulated to aid in the study of both nature and art. Thus, in addition to the sense of the word “invention” as a rhetorical or dramatic conceit, we (p.156) may add a second sense: in these virtuosic works the violin assumes the status of a new invention, comparable to the mechanical and instrumental inventions in the Kunstkammer, and the compositions expound upon the technical possibilities of the instrument. The violin in fact was something of a new invention in the early seventeenth century,89 and it was with the repertoire of the 1610s and 1620s that composers such as Marini and Farina began to define precisely what the instrument was capable of—what was idiomatic, what was natural, and what required the masterful skill of the virtuoso. The technical innovations contained in the curiose e moderne inventioni of Marini and Farina represent some of the earliest attempts to define and harness the violin itself as an invention.

Uses of the Printed Text

Marini’s “Sonata senza cadenza” brings to the fore a fundamental problem with the analogy between musical curiosities and the curiosities of art and nature found in early modern collections: music, as an art dependent on temporal performance, could not persist forever, so that even the sonata “without cadence” eventually met its end. Whereas collections are relatively stable, maintained by a curator, and ready to be visited at the wish of the patrons or their guests, musical curiosities require the virtuoso artisan to bring them to life. The musical works themselves, as temporal creations, thus defy classification within the collection. In this respect, the skilled musical performer assumed a role close to that of expert natural philosophers like Galileo, who performed their curiosities in time on their patrons’ behalf.

What did remain after the performance ended was the musical text. For both Marini and Farina—and for their printers—the printed record of the sonic event held special importance. Marini’s Sonate opus 8 was printed in Venice; Farina’s Ander Theil was produced by the court printer in Dresden, and the concerns of the two texts are different in some respects. But both printers seem to have taken extra care to notate certain features of the performance as clearly as possible, even when this project presented special difficulties.

The printing of multiple stops posed one set of difficulties. For Marini’s printer, Bartolomeo Magni, this required the cutting of new pieces of movable type to accommodate Marini’s various vertical combinations of notes. Although I disagree with Allsop’s assessment that these multiple stops delayed Marini’s publication by three years, there is no question that the complications of Marini’s work “must have caused the Venetian publisher much anguish.”90 For Farina’s printer, who was not a specialist (p.157) in music, this technique must have posed too great a challenge or expense, and he left the lower notes in the passages of multiple stopping in the “Capriccio stravagante” to be drawn in by hand.91

The notation of slurs was also difficult for most early seventeenth-century printers; the location of the beginnings and endings of slurs are rarely clear, and they almost never line up with the beginnings or endings of a given phrase. Instead, in passages where slurs are notated throughout, the implication seems most often to be simply that slurs should be applied somehow, but the precise placement of them is left up to the performer.

Farina’s inclusion of his avvertimenti—among the most extensive instructions for the execution of virtuosic violin techniques from this period—signifies a special wish to explain his actions to his German audience. That he gave these instructions in both German and Italian and supplemented them with a glossary of terms may have called particular attention to his status as an object of collection—a virtuoso from a musically and artisanally advanced tradition, whose skills and inventions would reflect well upon his patron.

Marini did not include such detailed instructions; but this may be attributable to the appearance of his publication in Venice. Even though he was employed in the court of Neuberg, and even though his dedicatee was in Brussels, he—or they—evidently wished for his publication to circulate first and foremost within the Italian musical sphere, where it might garner greater prestige. Indeed, although both Marini and Farina were employed by northern courts when their inventioni appeared in print, the practices of collecting, and of the experimental philosophy that encouraged the exploration of sound, were pervasive in Italy as well. The appearance of Marini’s work in Venice might have had the effect of asserting his patrons’ progressive status and ideas among Italian letterati.

The printed text also constituted a code. As William Eamon has shown, the texts pertaining to natural philosophy that were published during the seventeenth century contributed to the dissemination of knowledge and the spread of the new experimental methods. Citing Elizabeth Eisenstein and Edgar Zilsel, Eamon writes, “Academics developed a new appreciation of the mechanical arts in the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, they retained the bookish habits of scholars and probably learned as much about the arts from technical handbooks as from their own workshop observations.”92 Paula Findlen, too, has noted the importance of the museum catalog—in addition to the museum itself—in the early modern era, writing that “by the late sixteenth century, collectors increasingly chose to publicize the contents of their museums. The medium of print allowed them to reach an audience beyond the individuals who personally toured their museums. (p.158) A published catalog conveyed a new level of status for the collector. Written by the naturalist himself, it displayed his erudition. Written by another scholar, it conveyed the status of a collector who had earned the right to commission a description of his work.”93

Together, Eamon’s and Findlen’s views may be applied fruitfully to Marini’s and Farina’s musical texts. These printed texts, the musical contents of which would likely have been far too difficult for performance by their dedicatees, could nevertheless function as scripts for the recreation of the inventioni by other skilled artisans. In addition, though, like the museum catalogs that Findlen describes, they served to enhance the status of their dedicatees, advertising their erudition and “curiosity” to a wider audience. The printed scores enabled the dissemination of the composers’ musical collections and the knowledge they sought to produce.


(1.) Bacon, Novum organum, 2:31, translated in Francis Bacon, The New Organon, ed. Lisa Jardine and Michael Silverthorne (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 150.

(2.) “Verum quemadmodum ab operibus naturae raris et inconsuetis erigitur intellectus et elevatur ad inquirendas et inveniendas formas, quae etiam illorum sunt capaces, ita etiam in operibus artis egregiis et admirandis hoc usu-venit.”

(3.) “Debent autem notari monodica artis, non minus quam monodica naturae.”

(4.) “Atque praeferenda sane sunt in artificialibus ea quae maxime accedunt ad imitationem naturae, aut e contrario eam potenter regunt et invertunt. Rursus, inter ingenia et manus hominis, non prorsus contemnenda sunt praestigiae et jocularia. Nonnulla enim ex istis, licet sint usu levia et ludicra, tamen informatione valida esse possunt.” Bacon, Novum organum, 2:31, translation adapted from Jardine and Silverthorne in The New Organon, 152.

(5.) The publication date of Marini’s opus 8 has long been a subject of debate. The confusion stems from discrepancies in the surviving sources, summarized in Zoni’s modern edition, p. xv. The original printed date on the title page (1625 in the canto primo; 1626 in the other partbooks) was modified by hand in the only extant exemplar in Wroclaw (PL-WRu) to 1629. This discrepancy led Allsop to suggest that it took Bartolomeo Magni that much time to learn how to produce such a complicated volume, especially to overcome the typographic difficulties related to the printing of double and triple stops; see Peter Allsop, “Violinistic Virtuosity in the Seventeenth Century: Italian Supremacy or Austro-Hungarian Hegemony?” Saggiatore musicale 3 (1996): 244, and Allsop, Cavalier Giovanni Battista Buonamente, 16–18. Allsop is no doubt correct that the printing of double stops was difficult for Magni, but his speculation regarding the publication date seems unconvincing, not least because it does not explain similar modifications to the title pages of Marini’s opp. 7 and 9—both collections of vocal music without double stops—whose dates were changed from 1624 and 1625 to 1634 and 1635, respectively, through the written insertion of an extra Roman numeral “X.” Ultimately, Allsop and Zoni both conclude that opus 8 was indeed issued in 1629. However, it seems equally likely, especially given the evidence from opus 7 and opus 9, that the dates of these volumes were modified after their publication to make the music seem more up-to-date (or “modern”). (p.254)

(6.) Carlo Farina, Ander Theil newer Paduanen, Gagliarden, Couranten, frantzösischen Arien, benebenst einem kurtzweiligen Quodlibet/von allerhand seltzamen Inventionen, dergleichen vorhin im Druck nie gesehen worden/sampt etlichen Teutschen Täntzen/alles auff Violen anmutig zugebrauchen (Dresden: Gimel Bergen, 1627). Bianco, “Nach englischer und frantzösischer Art,” includes a modern edition of all of Farina’s music on CD-ROM; the Ander Theil appears on the CD-ROM on 123–214, and the “Capriccio stravagante” on 179–208. On the surviving sources, see Cypess, “‘Die Natur und Kunst zu betrachten,’” 178 n. 9.

(7.) On the association of the human quality of curiosity and objects dubbed “curiosities,” see Neil Kenny, The Uses of Curiosity in Early Modern France and Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 169–171; and Kenny, Curiosity in Early Modern Europe: Word Histories (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1998).

(9.) Apollodorus, Library, I.24; Hyginus, Fabulae, 165. Both translated in Apollodorus, Apollodorus’ Library and Hyginus’ Fabulae: Two Handbooks of Greek Mythology, trans. with introduction by R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2007), 4, 152.

(10.) On the polemics against curiosity in the medieval era, see Eamon, Science and the Secrets of Nature, 59–66; Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150–1750 (New York: Zone Books, 2001), 120–26; and Kenny, The Uses of Curiosity, 105–38.

(11.) Augustine, De vera religione, 49:94; in Augustine, Augustine: Earlier Writings, trans. John H. S. Burleigh (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1953), 273.

(13.) “Una disordinata vaghezza di sapere, udendo, e vedendo, e sperimentando cose disutili, e non necessarie”; “E questo vizio è chiamato curiositade, cioe, quando l’huomo mette tutta sua cura nelle cose, di che non ha prò, e tutto suo intendimento.” Accademici della Crusca, Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca (Venice: Giovanni Alberti, 1612), 244.

(14.) “Cercare, o voler sentire, o sapere quel che non gli si conviene, o vero se gli si conviene, non col debito modo, ma disordinatamente.” Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca in questa seconda impressione (Venice: Jacopo Sarzina, 1623), 242.

(15.) Peter Harrison, “Curiosity, Forbidden Knowledge, and the Reformation of Natural Philosophy in Early Modern England,” Isis 92, no. 2 (June, 2001): 265–90.

(16.) “Tutti li ostacoli et impedimenti”; “risguardar minuta e diligentemente, e fuori e dentro … gli oggetti tutti che si presentano in questo gran teatro della natura.” Cesi, “Del natural desiderio,” 71. See also Erminia Ardissino, “Pietas, curiositas, et poësis nell’attività dell’Accademia dei Lincei. Intorno a Virginio Cesarini,” in All’origine della scienza moderna: Federico Cesi e l’Accademia dei Lincei, ed. Andrea Battistini, Gilberto de Angelis, and Giuseppe Olmi (Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino, 2007), 147–73; and Hans Blumenberg, “The Trial of Theoretical Curiosity,” in Blumenberg, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, trans. M. Wallace (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983).

(17.) Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, in Francis Bacon, The Major Works Including New Atlantis and the Essays, ed. Brian Vickers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 140–41. Cf. Bacon’s telling of the myth of Perseus, in The Essays, or Councils, Civil and Moral … With a Table of the Colours of Good and Evil. And a Discourse of the Wisdom of the Ancients (London: A. Swalle and T. Childe, 1696), 40–41. See also Stephen Gaukroger, Francis Bacon and the Transformation of Early-Modern Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 79; Paolo Rossi, Francis Bacon: From Magic to Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), 81–96; and Eamon, Science and the Secrets of Nature, 320–22.

(22.) Bredekamp, The Lure of Antiquity, 63–68 and passim. See also Findlen, Possessing Nature, part 1, “Locating the Museum”; and Giuseppe Olmi, L’inventario del mondo: Catalogazione della natura e luoghi del sapere nella prima età moderna (Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino, 1992).

(23.) Pomian, Collectors and Curiosities, 69. On the notion of the collection as a meeting point of the “visible and the invisible,” see 7–44.

(26.) See Ariane van Suchtelen and Anne T. Woollett, Rubens and Brueghel: A Working Friendship (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2006), 90–98.

(27.) See Hugh Trevor-Roper, Princes and Artists: Patronage and Ideology at Four Habsburg Courts, 1517–1633 (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), chapter 4, “The Archdukes and Rubens”; also Christopher Brown, “Rubens and the Archdukes,” in Albert and Isabella, 1598–1621, ed. Werner Thomas and Luc Duerloo for the Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven ([Turnhout:] Brepols, 1998), 121–28; and M. De Maeyer, Albrecht en Isabella en de schilderkunst (Brussels: Paleis der Academiën, 1955).

(28.) On these portraits see Hans Vlieghe, Rubens Portraits of Identified Sitters Painted in Antwerp, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, part 19, vol. 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 35–47.

(29.) This attribution is given in Eric Gordon, “Pentimenti in Hieronymous Francken the Younger’s and Jan Brueghel the Elder’s The Archdukes Albert and Isabella Visiting a Collector’s Cabinet,” Journal of the Walters Art Museum 63 (2005): 113–16. Both the attribution and dating are contested, however; alternatives are offered in ibid., 114 n. 1, and Suchtelen and Woollett, Rubens and Brueghel, 5.

(31.) Richard Leppert interprets these instruments as members of the violin family, perhaps based on the shapes of their waists. See Leppert, “Music, Representation, and Social Order in Early-Modern Europe,” Cultural Critique 12 (Spring 1989): 45. However, Brueghel seems to have gone to some lengths to depict precisely six strings on each instrument, and the instruments have C-shaped holes, both features that suggests he intended them to represent viols instead.

(32.) Richard Rastall, “Spatial Effects in English Instrumental Consort Music, c. 1560–1605,” Early Music 25, no. 2 (May 1997): 271–72, 287 n. 6.

(33.) For more on these clocks see Leopoldine Prosperetti, Landscape and Philosophy in the Art of Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568–1625) (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009), 79.

(35.) Luc Duerloo, Dynasty and Piety: Archduke Albert (1598–1621) and Habsburg Political Culture in an Age of Religious Wars (Burlington: Ashgate, 2012), 383. See also Barbara Welzel, “Armoury and Archducal Image: The Sense of Touch from The Five Senses of Jan Brueghel and Peter Paul Rubens,” in Albert and Isabella, 99, and Suchtelen and Woollett, Rubens and Brueghel, 94.

(36.) Duerloo, Dynasty and Piety, 382, and (p.256) Alison Deborah Anderson, On the Verge of War: International Relations and the Jülich-Kleve Succession Crises (1609–1614) (Boston: Humanities Press, 1999), 143.

(37.) Andrew L. Thomas, A House Divided: Wittlesbach Confessional Court Culture in the Holy Roman Empire, c. 1550–1650 (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 306; Woolett, Rubens and Brueghel, 94–95.

(38.) On Isabella’s biography, see Magdalena S. Sánchez, “Sword and Wimple: Isabel Clara Eugenia and Power,” in The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 64–79; also Duerloo, “Archducal Piety and Habsburg Power,” in Albert and Isabella, 267–79.

(40.) Ibid., 233–58.

(41.) Anne Elizabeth Lyman, “Peter Philips at the Court of Albert and Isabella in Early Seventeenth-Century Brussels: An Examination of the Small-Scale Motets, Including an Edition of Deliciae sacrae (1616),” 2 vols. (D.M.A. thesis, University of Iowa, 2008), 1:1–24.

(42.) Arne Spohr, “‘Like an Earthly Paradise’: Concealed Music and the Performance of the Other in Late Renaissance Pleasure Houses,” in Music and Diplomacy from the Early Modern Era to the Present, ed. Rebekah Ahrendt, Mark Ferraguto, and Damien Mahiet (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 19–43. Another instance of “concealed music” appears in the musical vase of Agostino Ramelli, as shown in figure 1.1.

(43.) On the meanings of echo music in theatrical works, see Barbara Russano Hanning, “Powerless Spirit: Echo as a Trope on the Musical Stage of the Late Renaissance,” in Word, Image, and Song: Essays on Early Modern Italy, ed. Rebecca Cypess, Beth L. Glixon, and Nathan Link (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013), 193–218.

(44.) See Sterling Scott Jones, The Lira da braccio (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 1–6, 10–15.

(45.) Orazio Grassi, Libra astronomica ac philosophica qua Galilaei Galilaei opiniones de cometis a Mario Guiducio in Florentina Academia expositae, atque in lucem nuper editae, examinatur (Perugia: ex Typographia Marci Naccarini, 1619).

(46.) “Onde si ridusse à tanta diffidenza del suo sapere, che domandato come generavano i suoni, generosamente rispondeva di sapere alcuni modi, ma che teneva per fermo potervene essere cento altri incogniti, ed inopinabili.” Galileo Galilei, Il saggiatore nel quale con bilancia esquisita e giusta si ponderano le cose contenute nella libra astronomica e filosofica di Lotario Sarsi (Rome: Mascardi, 1623), 94.

(47.) Mario Biagioli, Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 302. See also William Eamon, “Court, Academy, and Printing House: Patronage and Scientific Careers in Late Renaissance Italy,” in Patronage and Institutions: Science, Technology, and Medicine at the European Court, 1500–1750, ed. Bruce T. Moran (Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 1991), 38; and Atle Næss, Galileo Galilei: When the World Stood Still (New York: Springer, 2005), 116.

(48.) See Carla Rita Palmerino, “The Mathematical Characters of Galileo’s Book of Nature,” in The Book of Nature in Early Modern and Modern History, ed. Klaas van Berkel and Arjo Vanderjagt (Leuven: Peeters, 2006), 42.

(50.) Bacon, Novum organum, 1:82. On Bacon’s views of hands-on experience, see Smith, The Body of the Artisan, 232–33.

(p.257) (51.) See José Sierra Pérez, “Pintura Sonora: La música escrita en el cuadro El Oído, de Jan Brueghel de Velours (1568–1625) y Pedro Pablo Rubens (1577–1640),” in “Actas del VI Congreso de la Sociedad Española de Musicología,” special issue, Revista de musicología 28, no. 2 (December 2005): 1135–63.

(52.) On the collection depicted here, Suchtelen and Woollett have written, “It seems more likely that this series presents an idealized view of the princely culture of collecting.” Suchtelen and Woollett, Rubens and Brueghel, 94; also Joost van der Auwera, Rubens, a Genius at Work: The Works of Peter Paul Rubens in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium Reconsidered (Tielt: Lannoo Uitgeverij, 2007), 112; Brown, “Rubens and the Archdukes,” 127 n. 29; and Martha Hollander, An Entrance for the Eyes: Space and Meaning in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002), 89.

(53.) On the Dresden Kunstkammer in particular, see Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, Court Culture in Dresden from Renaissance to Baroque (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 71–99. Several catalogs of representative items in the Dresden Grünes Gewölbe, the heir to the Kunstkammer, have been published in recent years; see especially Dirk Syndram and Antje Scherner, eds., Princely Splendor: The Dresden Court, 1580–1620 (Milan: Electa; Dresden: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2004), which also contains a series of informative scholarly essays.

(54.) The manuscript of Hainhofer’s 1617 travel diary was transcribed and published as Philipp Hainhofers Reise-Tagebuch, enthaltend Schilderungen aus Franken, Sachsen, der Mark Brandenburg und Pommern im Jahr 1617, Baltische Studien 2 (Stettin: Christoph von der Ropp, 1834); see 127–48 for the passage on Dresden. A transcription of much of Hainhofer’s diary of 1629 was published as Des Augsburger Patriciers Philipp Hainhofer Reisen nach Innsbruck und Dresden, ed. Oscar Doering (Vienna: Carl Graeser, 1901); for the passage on Dresden, see 141–248.

(55.) “Es ist in diser Kunstcammer auf allen Tischen, in allen Kasten und an allen Wenden so vil klain und groß, schlecht und fürnem Gezeug und Sachen, daß ainer auch etlich Tag darzue brauchete, alles nach Lust und Nottdurfft zu sehen, und die Natur und Kunst zu betrachten.” Hainhofers Reise-Tagebuch, 135. Hainhofer made similar observations about the Kunstkammer in Augsburg, for which he acted as collector and agent; see Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 255–60.

(56.) See the inventories in Moritz von Fürstenau, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Königlich Sächsischen musikalischen Kapelle (Dresden: C. F. Meser, 1849): 40–41, and von Fürstenau, “Ein Instrumenten-Inventarium vom Jahre 1593,” Mitteilungen des Sächs ischen Altertumsvereins 22 (1872): 66–76. Hainhofer’s lists from 1629 are transcribed in Hainhofer, Des Augsburger Patriciers, 231–35. See also Wolfram Steude, “Michael Praetorius’ Theatrum instrumentorum 1620, Philipp Hainhofers Dresdner Reiserelation von 1629, und die Inventare der Dresdner Kunstkammer,” in Theatrum instrumentorum Dresdense: Bericht über die Tagungen zu historischen Musikinstrumenten, Dresden, 1996, 1998 und 1999, ed. Wolfram Steude and Hans-Günter Ottenberg (Schneverdingen: Verlag der Musikalienhandlung Karl Dieter Wagner, 2003), 233–40. On instruments in the Rüstkammer, see Stephan Blaut, “Die Jägerhörner in den Rüstkammer der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden,” Musica instrumentalis: Zeitschrift für Organologie 2 (1999): 8–22; and Blaut, “Hornfessel, Quasten und das inhaltsreiche Detail: Zur Ausstattung der Jägerhörner in der Dresdner Rüstkammer,” in Steude and Ottenburg, Theatrum instrumentorum Dresdense, 39–46.

(p.258) (57.) See Mary Frandsen, “Allies in the Cause of Italian Music: Schütz, Prince Johann Georg II and Musical Politics in Dresden,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 125, no. 1 (2000): 1–40, especially 3 n. 3; and Wolfram Steude, “Die Dresdner Hofkapelle zwischen Antonio Scandello und Heinrich Schütz (1580–1615),” in Der Klang der Sächsischen Staatskapelle Dresden: Kontinuität und Wandelbarkeit eines Phänomens, ed. Hans-Günter Ottenberg and Eberhard Steindorf (Hildesheim: Olms, 2001), 23–45.

(59.) That Farina situates his “Capriccio” within the German genre of the quodlibet is significant: as I have suggested elsewhere, the quodlibet was itself a sort of musical collection. See Cypess, “‘Die Natur und Kunst zu betrachten,” 147–50.

(60.) Praetorius described this instrument briefly in the introduction to Syntagmatis Musici Michaelis Praetorii C. Tomus secundus, De Organographia, 5; he also presented a picture of it in his Theatrum instrumentorum seu sciagraphia … darinnen eigentliche Abriß und Abconterfeyung/fast aller derer musicalischen Instrumenten, so jtziger Zeit in Welschland/Engeland/Teutschland und andern Orten ublich und verhanden seyn: Wie dann auch etlicher der alten ind indianischen Instrumenten … abgerissen und abgetheilet (Wolffenbüttel: Richterus, 1620). For Hainhofer’s description of the hurdy-gurdy, see his Des Augsburger Patriciers, 232. On the instrument’s social associations, see Emanuel Winternitz, “Bagpipes and Hurdy-Gurdies in Their Social Setting,” Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 2, no. 1 (Summer 1943): 56–83.

(61.) For a thorough discussion of this aspect of Farina’s “Capriccio,” see Andrew Bonner, “Von allerhand seltzamen Inventionen: Carlo Farina’s Capriccio stravagante” (D.M.A. Thesis, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2013), 97–114.

(62.) Aspects of the 1627 print are difficult to interpret. In particular, slurs seem to have posed substantial problems for Farina’s printer: they float above the staves, and it is often unclear whether they are attached to a given note or simply imply a slurred execution throughout the passage. In most of these cases, the interpretations and editorial suggestions offered in Bianco’s edition have been retained. In addition, the use of accidentals is inconsistent. As was common in the early seventeenth century, the majority of the “Capriccio” is printed without bar lines; these have been standardized. Rubrics from each partbook have been consolidated.

(63.) See Caldwell Titcomb, “Baroque Court and Military Trumpets and Kettledrums: Technique and Music,” Galpin Society Journal 9 (June 1956): 56–57; Timothy A. Collins, “‘Of the Differences between Trumpeters and City Tower Musicians’: The Relationship of Stadtpfeifer and Kammeradschaft Trumpeters,” Galpin Society Journal 53 (April 2000): 51–59; and Don L. Smithers, “The Hapsburg Imperial Trompeter and Heerpauker Privileges of 1653,” Galpin Society Journal 24 (1971): 84–95.

(64.) On the composition of German wind bands, see Keith Polk, “Instrumental Music in the Urban Centres of Renaissance Germany,” Early Music History 7 (1987): 159–86, and Polk, German Instrumental Music of the Late Middle Ages: Players, Patrons, and Performance Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 45–86.

(65.) See the images in Polk, German Instrumental Music, 66. (p.259)

(66.) Praetorius, Syntagmatis musici Michaelis Praetorii C. Tomus tertius, darinnen 1. Die Bedeutung/wie auch Abtheil unnd Beschreibung fast aller Nahmen/der italianischen/frantzösischen/englischen, und jetziger Zeit in Teutschland gebräuchlichen Gesänge: alß, Concerten, Moteten, Madrigalien, Canzonen, etc. 2. Was im singen/bey den Noten und Tactu, Modis und Transpositione, Partibus seu Vocibus und unterschiedenen Choris, auch bey den Unisonis unnd Octavis zu observiren. 3. Wie die jtalianische und andere Termini Musici … zu nennen ([S.l.]: Autor, 1619), 3:19; trans. in Michael Praetorius, Syntagma musicum III, trans. and ed. Jeffery Kite-Powell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 35.

(67.) In the performance instructions in the appendices, Farina makes the connection to the organ explicit, as shown in table 4.2. See Carter, “The String Tremolo in the Seventeenth Century,” 42–59.

(68.) Ibid., 43ff.

(69.) On this tradition see Roland Jackson, “On Frescobaldi’s Chromaticism and Its Background,” Musical Quarterly 57, no. 2 (April 1971): 255–69.

(70.) “In Italia die Ziarlatini und Salt’ in banco (das sind beyn uns fast wie die Comoedianten unnd Possenreisser) nur zum schrumpen; darein sie Villanellen und andere närrische Lumpenlieder singen. Es können aber nichts desto weniger auch andere feine anmuthige Cantiunculæ, und liebliche Lieder von eim guten Senger und Musico Vocali darein musicirt werden.” Praetorius, De organographia, 53.

(71.) See James Tyler and Paul Sparks, The Guitar and Its Music: From the Renaissance to the Classical Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 139–40.

(72.) See chapter 1, n. 56, and also Michael John Gorman, “Between the Demonic and the Miraculous: Athanasius Kircher and the Baroque Culture of Machines,” in The Great Art of Knowing: The Baroque Encyclopedia of Athanasius Kircher, ed. Daniel Stolzenberg (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001), 59–70.

(74.) Ibid., 46.

(75.) Hainhofer’s account of his visit to the Anatomiekammer can be found in Hainhofers Reise-Tagebuch, 140–41. On the significance of animalia within early modern Kunstkammern, see Findlen, Possessing Nature, 208–20. On the significance of the rhinoceros as a commercialized symbol of the exotic, see the introduction to Pamela Smith and Paula Findlen, eds., Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe (New York: Routledge, 2002), 1–28.

(76.) “8. Stück Wachßene Thierlein, welche der Junge Nicoll Schwabe gemachtt, unnd bergeben wordenn den 2. Augusti Anno 90. Alß: 1. Einhorn/1. Löwe und Löwin/1. Panterthier/1. Wildtschwein sambt einen Leidthunde./1. Bock ßambtt einem lodigenn Wasserhunde./1. Wiedermtt einem Satyro Bildtnüß so ihn darnieder dringet oder pflegt./1. Strauß sambtt einem Krannich/1. Adeler.” Inventarium Über die Churfürstliche Sächß: KunstCammern, fol. 444, transcribed in Dirk Syndram and Martina Minning, Die kurfürstlich-sächsische Kunstkammer in Dresden: Das Inventar von 1619 (Dresden: Sandstein, 2010). Hainhofer’s description of the Lewenhaus is found in Hainhofers Reise-Tagebuch, 137–38.

(77.) “Camaleon terrestris, so iedes Dings farb an sich nimmet, warauf man es setzet.” Hainhofer, Des Augsburger Patriciers, 159.

(78.) Hainhofer’s description of the contents of the Kunstkammer in 1629 is transcribed in ibid., 156–79.

(81.) Ibid., 168. “Zweÿ schöne hündlein, darinn uhrwerck mit bewegung ihrer augen zu befinden”; “Ain uehrlein mit dem pelican und seinen iungen, wann es schlegt, so bewegen sie sich”; and “Ain beer, wann es schlegt, so bewegt er die augen, die tazen, rüssel, und baucket, darbeÿ ain waÿdmann das horn ansetzt, als ob er blies.”

(82.) On imitations of birdsong in vocal music, see (p.260) Elizabeth Eva Leach, Sung Birds: Music, Nature, and Poetry in the Later Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007).

(83.) Dirk Syndram, Renaissance and Baroque Treasury Art: The Green Vault in Dresden (Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2004), 41–42.

(84.) See J. H. Leopold, “Collecting Instruments in Protestant Europe before 1800,” Journal of the History of Collections 7, no. 2 (1995): 151–57.

(85.) See J. Schardin, “History of the Horological Collections in Dresden,” Antiquarian Horology 19, no. 5 (Autumn 1991): 493–510; and Leopold, “Collecting Instruments.”

(86.) “Etliche magnet, deren der größte 5 lott schwer, und zeucht 66 loth eisen an sich, so er tag und nacht, iahr und tag haltet.” Hainhofer, Des Augsburger Patriciers, 167.

(87.) “Ain perpetuum mobile, welches in ainem gläserinen ring ascendiert und descendiert.” Ibid.

(88.) See Arthur W. J. G. Ord-Hume, Perpetual Motion: The History of an Obsession (London: Allen & Unwin, 1977).

(89.) On the early history of the violin, see introduction, n. 23.

(91.) In Farina’s first publication, another Dresden printer, Wolfgang Seiffert, solved the problem of double stops by printing the higher of the two notes and placing beneath it a number indicating the interval below the top note at which the lower note was to be played. See Farina, Libro delle pavane.

(92.) Eamon, Science and the Secrets of Nature, 8. See also Pamela O. Long, Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).