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The Ripresa, the Ritornello, and the Passacaglia

Author(s): Richard Hudson

Source: Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Autumn, 1971), pp.
Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the American Musicological
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The Ripresa, the Ritornello, and
the Passacaglia

A SPECIAL STYLE OF composition for dances and instrumentally ac-

companied songs developed in Italy early in the sixteenth century.
The style spread to other European countries and persisted as the basis
for this particular type of music until the middle of the next century.
A large repertoire of such music remains in manuscript and printed books
for lute, bandora, vihuela, cittern, the stringed keyboard instruments,
various ensembles, and, beginning in the seventeenth century, the Spanish
guitar. Associated with this style throughout its history are small musical
units that occur before, after, or between repetitions of the music
for a dance or song. In the Intabolatura de leuto de diversi autori
(Milan: Giovanni Antonio Casteliono, 1536) such units are called ri-
prese, and unmarked examples occur even earlier. The term changes to
ritornello in II ballarino (Venice, i581) of Fabritio Caroso,' and in
I6o6 Montesardo describes the passacaglia, one of the Spanish forms that
entered Italy along with the guitar, as that which in his country is called
a ritornello.2 The musical construction of the ripresa, ritornello, and
passacaglia is based on the compositional techniques of the Italian
dance style. Therefore I will summarize briefly the special features of
this style, and then discuss the various types of riprese: internal or con-
cluding (in regard to location), standard or double in length. Finally,
I will describe the particular ostinato technique that operates in the
chains of concluding riprese and ritornelli, and ultimately leads to the
great Baroque sets of variations on the passacaglia and ciaccona.
In the Italian dance style, musical organization on the most funda-
mental level is essentially harmonic in nature. Ex. I shows my concept of
the basic chordal relationships for the modes per B quadro and per B
molle, the two dance modes which, during the course of the Baroque
period, gradually evolve into the tonal major and minor modes.3 Each
1 Facsimile edition in Monuments of Music and Music Literature in Facsimile, Ser.
2, Vol. XLVI (New York: Broude Brothers, 1967).
2 Girolamo Montesardo, Nuova inventione d'intavolatura, per sonare ii balletti
sopra la chitarra spagniuola (Florence, 16o6), copy in Bologna, Civico Museo
Bibliografico Musicale, preface: ".. le passacaglie cosi chiamati ' lingua Spagniola;
overo ritornelli in lingua nostra ..." Concerning a probable Spanish predecessor of
the passacaglia, the paseo of Juan Carlos Amat, see my article "Further Remarks on
the Passacaglia and Ciaccona," in this JOURNAL, XXIII (1970), 302ff.
3 See my article "The Concept of Mode in Italian Guitar Music During the First
Half of the 17th Century," Acta musicologica, XLII (1970), 163-83.

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mode expresses a central chordal idea by means of one or more chord-

rows, each of which I have designated by the first chord (shown in a
circle) that distinguishes it from the others.4 I have purposely avoided
the usual terminology of passamezzo moderno, romanesca, passamezzo
antico, and folia, respectively, since each scheme appears also in other
forms, and, in addition, the folia consistently matches Scheme V only
in the late Baroque era.5
The process of composing a dance in the sixteenth century involves the
selection of a chord-row, the distribution of its chords at even or uneven
time intervals throughout the composition, and then, where desired,
the addition of melodic figuration or new chords that revolve around the
separate framework chords. In the technique of melodic variation each
framework chord is associated with a specific scale which governs the
movement of melody.6 Chordal variation involves the insertion of chords
that relate to the framework chord as V to I or IV-V to I. Variation
chords are also shown in Ex. i, with the numerals in brackets indicati
how they relate to the framework chords. In the light of this techniqu
of chordal variation, the expansion of the central chordal idea given i
Ex. I for the mode per B molle appears itself to be the result of varia
tion chord insertion, for VII relates to III as V to I. The four chords o
the expanded B molle idea occur in three chord-rows which, since the
second half of each is identical, are differentiated by the pattern of th
opening four chords (marked as a "unit" in Ex. i). In the mode p
B quadro the basic V-I idea seems to be matched by a similar leap to t
other side of I, creating a progression identical to that of the variatio
chords. This mode is mainly represented by Scheme IV, but may a
involve other combinations of the three chords.
The application of these techniques is most obvious when, as in the
passamezzi or the dances paired with them, the framework chords occu
at equal intervals. Furthermore, the principles of chordal variation, a
though applying to the dance style throughout its history, are mo
apparent in the rasgueado (chordal) guitar music of the early seve

4 Major triads will be indicated by upper case Roman numerals, minor by lower
case. For further description of the chord-rows and the various forms in which th
appear, see Otto Gombosi's articles: "Italia, patria del basso ostinato," La rasseg
musicale, VII ('934), 14-25; and "Zur Friihgeschichte der Folia," Acta musicologi
VIII (1936), II19-29. See also John Ward, "The Vihuela de Mano and Its Mu
(I536-I576)" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1953), pp. 29
348; and Lawrence H. Moe, "Dance Music in Printed Italian Lute Tablatures from
1507 to i611" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1956), pp. 12
34 and 154-69.
51 have described the relationship between Scheme V and the folia in "The Folia
Dance and the Folia Formula in I7th Century Guitar Music," to be published in
Musica Disciplina, XXV (i971-).
6 See Georg Reichert, "Giacomo Gorzanis' 'Intabolatura di liuto' (1567)) als Dur-
und Molltonarten-Zyklus," Festschrift Karl Gustav Fellerer (Regensburg: Gustav
Bosse Verlag, 1962), pp. 428-38.

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Example i
Chordal Organization in Italian Dances ca. 500oo- 6o

Mode CentralCord-rows
idea Expansion Principalidea
of central variation chords
unit I

B qadroeO
rr. I Schem
per ..,.,_ _..A.39_"_

mode per Schenm__ _ _ _ __ _a n .


i i

i i

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teenth century, where melody is totally absent. Exx. 2, 3 and 4 are guitar
compositions showing first almost no variation (Ex. 2), then variation
applied to the mode per B quadro (Ex. 3), and to the mode per B
molle (Ex. 4). I have transcribed the guitar triads (which simply fill the
full range of the instrument, with no regard for which note is the lowest)
by their roots and chord numerals, with stems indicating the direction
the hand moves in strumming the chords. Ex. 2 shows that when no
variation chords are present each framework chord occupies two full
measures (in other pieces this may be one, three, four or more measures).
In this example variation chords are added only near the end for the
purpose of cadence. Exx. 3 and 4 illustrate more elaborate chordal
variation, for the two measures otherwise occupied (as in Ex. 2) by each
framework chord are now filled as follows: all or most of the opening
measure, and sometimes part of the second, are devoted to the frame-
work chord, which is emphasized by a special rhythm; the remainder of
the time may be occupied by chords that circle the framework chord
(Ex. 3, third measure from the end) or anticipate the next framework
chord (second full measure). In the examples the appearance of each
framework chord is indicated by a number above the staff and a square
around the chord numeral; the extent of its effect, along with the varia-
tion chords that encircle it, is shown by parentheses; the numerals in
brackets show how the variation chords relate to the framework chords
(as V-I or IV-V-I, in the manner shown in Ex. I). Variation chords may
thus either prolong the effect of a previously sounded framework chord,
or anticipate the next chord of the row. Melody acts in a similar fashion,
and both are in action simultaneously in the keyboard excerpt from
155 in Ex. 5. Here chordal variation is applied to the framework chords
in precisely the manner seen in the previous guitar examples, but this
time in company with melodic figuration.
Since I have described in detail the chordal organization of music in
the dance style in another article,' this brief summary will suffice here.
Careful study of Exx. 1-5 will make clear most of the techniques of
composition applied rather consistently throughout the history of the
dance style. I will refer back to some of these techniques later, since
the ripresa, the ritornello, and the passacaglia are shaped by the same
principles of musical construction. Functionally, the riprese serve in
groups of two or more as purely instrumental sections that alternate
with the principal music of a dance or song. In instrumentally accom-
panied songs the riprese thus provide an intonazione before the voice
begins, as well as interludes between the stanzas. Dance riprese appear
between choreographic cycles to allow the dancers time to assume the
proper position for the next movement. In addition, longer and more
7 "Chordal Aspects of the Italian Dance Style 1500-1650," Journal of the Lute
Society of America, III (1970), 35-52.

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Example 2
Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, MS 2804 [ca. 16301], fol. 25: Pass'emezzo semplice.
Scheme IVN N


Example 3

Passamezzo per B quadro.

Perugia, Biblioteca Comunale, MS 86 (H7 2) [Antonio Carbonchi, ca. ,6401, fol. 43~:
Scheme IV

F l IV ( i V v IV v 1
( jj] ) (IV VII I IV
vI IVI" V 1I I

I V V1 I Iv V '

) op IV V [ ) ( V



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Example 4

Carlo Milanuzzi, Secondo scherzo delle ariose vaghezze (Venice, 1625), P-. 56: Romanesca.
Scheme III

0 I A J I l2 3
(II[ VII III ) ( IIV VII ) (
[V I] [V IJ
4 5

V) (I II V ) ( VII III
[IV V 1.1 [V I
6 7 8
I] I I

([ IV [V
I] ) (IV i Vi
Ritorn ello

) (IV V )

Example 5
Intabolatura nova di varie sorte de balli . . . L ibro primo (Venice: A. Gardane, 155 ), fol.
3v, transcr. D. Heartz, Corpus of Early Key board Music, VIII (American Institute of Mu-
sicology, 1965), PP. 38-39, opening half of Pass'e mezo nuovo, showing only the melody,
bass, and chord numerals.
Scheme IV



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4 5

[V I IV V 11

complex chains of riprese appe

second dance of a pair.
Ex. 6 shows the musical const
At the left appear the chord
measures except the seventh, w
variation chord, V. This cadenc
passamezzo semplice of Ex. 2, a
include the V chord as a memb
7 and 8 never actually occur u
IV-V), it is still useful, I believ
selves as the real framework o
written to the right of Scheme
I chord (a), to show the struc
built. Riprese most often assum
shown below the sustained I ch
I have been replaced by its vari
formation of the seventh fram
variation process observed in E
(Ex. 6b), so-called here simply
in the literature of the dance s
chords; two such riprese are al
musical section that precedes
dance or song. A "double" ripre
ripresa, spanning the time of f
repeated two times in success
other harmonic structures are
technique can be applied to either
To those more familiar with
verdi and others to designate an
with other music," the termin

s Apparently the earliest source in

musicali (Venice, 1607), modern ed
Claudio Monteverdi (Asolo, 1926-4
explains: "Prima che si cominci a c
I Ritornelli dovranno esser sonati

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Example 6
Structural Relationship between the Riprese and the Chord-row.
Scheme IV
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (a) Repeat or return of I


(b) 2 standard riprese or rito


(c) A double ripresa: one


pected. Howeve
or passacagli) ap
most the entire
as are depicted
specific term fo
its component
tinuous chains o
As late as 1687
Ritornelli nel b
Passagagli [sic] as
are numerous an
specifically to a
comes a unit of
follows, or altern
This is made u
seems to anticip
that have been

plural term in the

to a two-fold repe
in Le musiche sop
Accademia d'Italia
term necessarily t
p. 52 the instructi
9 Romanesca con P
organi (Naples, 168
Music, XI (Americ
lo Selva di varie c
1664); four differ
transcribed by Ba
Institute of Musico

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Ex. 7b a single phrase bears the instruction "ritornello farass

volte.""1 At the end of another dance appears a phrase of music an
statement, "qzuesto ritornello farassi tre volte."12 In his later book,
bilti di dame (Venice, i6oo), Caroso indicates for one dance: "I
tornello farassi sempre due volte,13 for another (following a second
ing): "li fine della seconda volta che comincia le riprese."14 Occa
ally Caroso marks above a musical phrase that has all the musical c
acteristics of a ripresa: "Si torna a far un'altra volta." 15 This may b
indication of the function of the riprese from the dancer's point of
The term ripresa also appears frequently in Caroso's books (as it
also in earlier dance sources) as the name of a dance step. This may
plain the change of the name of the musical term from ripres

Both terms suggest a repeat or return. Caroso's phrase Due R

nelli della Sonata" (see fn. ii above) further implies that the ele
which returns is some small portion from the main music itself. I
most all of the examples that I have observed, however, the ri
carefully avoid any direct repetition of the concluding melod

Example 7
Fabritio Caroso, II ballarino (Venice, 158 ), Trattato II.

(a) Fol. 87,: the standard internal riprese from Bentivoglio.

Riprese due

- -, ,Z. ,

(I IV V ) (IV V []7 )
11 This composition is unique, as far as I
steps for the ritornello as well as for the m
the second and third renditions of the sonata occur Due Ritornelli della Sonata,
which are accompanied choreographically by pushing one foot forward during
each measure-certainly a minimum of activity.
12 Caroso, II ballarino, Trattato II, fol. 95': Bella gioiosa. This is the only time I
have seen a three-fold repetition indicated for an internal ritornello.
13 Caroso, Nobiltd di dame, p. 328: Vero amore; i6o5 edition (identical, as far as
I can tell, to the original edition of i6oo), transcribed by Oscar Chilesotti in
Biblioteca di raritd musicali (Milan: G. Ricordi, [i884-1915]), I (reprinted as
Sezione IV, N. 22, of Bibliotheca musica bononiensis: Danze del secolo XVI
[Bologna: Forni, 1969]), p. 46.
14 Ibid., ioth to 5th pages before the numbered pagination begins: Celeste giglio
(Biblioteca di raritd musicali, I, 8-12.)
15 For example, ibid., pp. I 6-i20: Laura sauve (Biblioteca di raritd musicali, I,

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(b) Fol. 147: Fedelth, entire piece.

Scheme IV

3 4 5

6 7 8


(I IV I V )l

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harmony from the main piece.16 Ex. 6 suggests that the element
returns from the main piece is its concluding structure chord, wh
then is varied independently from the main piece but according t
same principles of melodic and chordal variation. We will see some
sults of such variation as we turn now to a more detailed examination
of the structures of various types of riprese. Harmony and rhyt
are simplest and most uniform in internal riprese (those that preced
songs or appear between sections of a song or dance). Therefore I wi
discuss first the standard internal riprese, then the double riprese (wh
only rarely appear in a concluding role), and finally the most compl
and varied type, the standard riprese that conclude a dance or a pair

Standard internal riprese occur almost always in pairs and for over a
century display a remarkable uniformity of pattern. Exx. 8a, b, and c
show the main features of their harmony and rhythm. The ritornelli
in the guitar romanesca of 1625 (Ex. 4) follow the pattern of Ex. 8a,
with signs for exact repetition of a single phrase. A number of gaillardes
from Attaingnant's publications of 1530 and 1531 possess sets of un-
marked riprese with harmonic patterns like Exx. 8a or c; each is written
out, since the two phrases in a pair differ melodically.17 Ex. 9 presents
16Willi Apel, in Geschichte der Orgel- und Klaviermusik bis 1700 (Kassel:
Birenreiter, 1967), p. 234, states, in connection with some pieces from Attaingnant's
Quatorze gaillardes . . . (Paris, [1531]): "Man erkennt hier deutlich den urspriing-
lichen Sinn der Ripresa, nfimlich einer bestitigenden Wiederholung der Schluss-
wendung der Hauptmelodie." Apel seems to be intrigued by riprese; I am indebted
to his book for helping me locate keyboard examples (see the index of his book
under both ripresa and ritornello for further references). Apel also mentions (p.
545) the ripresa that Froberger sometimes adds to the end of a saraband. This is an
exact repeat (either written or indicated by signs) of the last three to five measures
of the main piece. This sort of repetition never happens, as far as I know, in the
dance riprese of the i6th and i7th centuries. Therefore, I would conclude that
Froberger's repeat is not a ripresa as we are using the word, especially since there
seem to be no other sarabands provided with riprese.
17 Dixhuit basses dances . . . (Paris, [1530]) contains two such gaillardes; tran-
scribed by Daniel Heartz in Preludes, Chansons and Dances for Lute, Published by
Pierre Attaingnant, Paris (1529-1530) (Publications de la Soci6te de Musique
d'Autrefois, Textes musicaux, II [Neuilly-sur-Seine, I9641), pp- 99 (No. 83) and
o102 (No. 85). The first is based on Scheme III, which is followed by a pair of
riprese with the pattern of Ex. 8c; the other presents riprese of the same type
attached to a B quadro scheme. Riprese also appear with three gaillardes in At-
taingnant's Quatorze gaillardes . . . (Paris, ['53'1), printed in Keyboard Dances
from the Earlier Sixteenth Century, ed. Daniel Heartz (Corpus of Early Keyboard
Music, VIII [American Institute of Musicology, 19651), pp. 5-6 (No. 3), 8-9 (No. 6)
[the riprese are in mm. 17-19], and 29 (No. 24). Riprese may also exist in two
earlier sources. In the dance collection from around 1520 transcribed by Knud
Jeppesen in Balli antichi veneziani per cembalo (Copenhagen: Wilhelm Hansen,
1962), see the identical phrase that concludes dances No. 12 (p. 9), 26 (p. 18), and
33 (p. 23), as well as the phrase at the end of No. 35 (P. 24). Joan Ambrosio Dalza,
in his Intabulatura de lauto, libro quarto (Venice: Petrucci, i5o8), includes ripresa-
like phrases in some of his pavane alla venetiana. See, for example, the third one on
fol. 14, transcribed by Helmut M6nkemeyer in Die Tabulatur, VII (Hofheim am

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Example 8
Rhythmic Organization of the Triple-meter Riprese

(a) Standard internal riprese: basic form, with harmonic variants applicable to either

phrase . - I -


(b) Alternate interpretation of the rhythm.

(IV V il )
(c) A variant form.

(I IV V )F

(d) Concluding double ripresa.


( i iW A i 1 V )
... IIV ( V u II v )
(e) Internal double riprese.

_t I I I I I
(iV II v < 1i IV V )
IFV 11
portions of a lute saltarello of Waissel, one of the few composers to
show both internal and concluding riprese attached to the same piece;
his two internal riprese follow the pattern of Ex. 8a. Thus, examples
from a wide range of time illustrate essentially the same features: usually

Taunus: Friedrich Hofmeister, 1967), pp. 14-i5. The i6-measure B quadro scheme
(the same one used in the Attaingnant gaillarde mentioned above, No. 85 from
Dixhuit basses dances) appears two times followed by a single phrase of I-IV-V-I,
and a third time (in which one measure seems to be missing) followed by two
such phrases. Concerning this scheme and the possible riprese, see Compositione di
Meser Vincenzo Capirola, Lute-Book (circa y517), ed. Otto Gombosi (Publications
de la Societe de Musique d'Autrefois, Textes musicaux, I [Neuilly-sur-Seine, 1955]),

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Example 9
Matthius Waissel, Tabulatura (Frankfurt/O., 1573),fol. G4: excerpts from El suo (refer-
ring to the Pass e, mezo) saltarello.

Scheme VII
z 3

wI _ __ I * _ II

z unmarked standa

) (IV(IV V

Scheme VII (3 more times)


, ._ ,j : .

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Le represe (9 standard concluding phrases) 2

(IV V j ) (IV

(V W )(IV V
vFi- ) j,

LA% K ___


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(El v I

triple meter (but oc

harmony IV-V-I, a
Ex. 6b has been repl
century the scheme
with a major tonic c
consist of major IV,
third is absent. For
or, especially in the n
Standard internal r
song forms. There
riprese, both intern
occur with the salta
passamezzo and hen
is For further exampl
Osterreichische Nationa
del gropo; and p. 21b: t
in Osterreicb, Jg. XVII

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they accompany the passamezzo itself. In 17th-century guitar music t

such ritornelli usually accompany the dance of the folia. The same ty
of ripresa also appears with accompanied songs. Sometimes a sche
(aria per cantare) is presented that can fit many different texts of
poetic construction. Instrumental accompaniments, including riprese
for such arie occur in the Fugger lute book (1562)19 and in the Li
primo d'intabulatura da leuto (Venice, i568) of Antonio di Becchi
Some of Becchi's arie display a simple style during the main piec
which is the actual accompaniment for the vocal part, and then a
shorter note values during the riprese. Willi Apel has described the sa
practice in Marco Facoli's 11 secondo libro d'intavolatura di balli d'arp
cordo (Venice, 1588).21 The romanesca, which is also, I believe,
sentially a vocal form (except, of course, when used for sets of instr
mental variations), is likewise connected throughout its long hist
with standard riprese. Examples occur in vihuela variations by Mudar
and in the guitar music of the seventeenth century, as well as in lat
works by Storace and Strozzi.22 Finally, standard internal song ripre

dert, ed. Adolf Koczirz (Vienna, 1911; reprint Graz: Akademische Druck
Verlagsanstalt, 1959), PP. 113-14. See also Elias Nicolaus Ammerbach, Orgel o
Instrument Tabulatur (Leipzig, i571), copy in Cambridge, University Librar
fols. P3v-P4: Saltarella altera cum reprisa, last seven measures (see also fn. 4
below); Da un codice Lauten-buch del cinquecento, ed. Oscar Chilesotti (Leipz
Breitkopf & Hirtel, [8901]), pp. ii (Gagliarda), 44-45 (Saltarello della Favorita),
49 (Passo mezzo); and the Otras tres diferencias of Luis de Narvyiez in Los sey
libros del Delphin de mzsica (Valladolid, 1538), transcribed by Emilio Pujol i
Monumentos de la miisica espafiola, III (Barcelona, 1945), 87-89-
19 Op. cit. (see fn. i8 above), Denkmdler der Tonkunst in Osterreich, Jg. XVIII
Bd. 37, p. Iii: Aria (mm. 21-28) and Aria per cantare (last four measures).
20 Transcribed by Gerald Lefkoff in Five Sixteenth Century Venetian Lute
Books (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1960), pp. 14
Da cantar (No. 34), 139-40: Favorita (Nos. 28-31), and i42: Fantinella aria
cantar (No. 37).
21 "Tinze und Arien fiir Klavier aus dem Jahre 1588," Archiv fiir Musikwissen
schaft, XVII (196o), 51-6o. The arie are printed in Marco Facoli, Collected Wor
ed. Willi Apel (Corpus of Early Keyboard Music, II [American Institute of Mu
cology, 19631), pp. 23-32 (Nos. 7-19). Most of them have marked or unmark
22 Alonso de Mudarra, Tres libros de muzsica en cifra para vihuela (Seville,
1546), transcribed by Emilio Pujol in Monumentos de la muzsica espajola, VII (Bar-
celona, 1949), 20-21 and 30. The Storace example is printed in Corpus of Early
Keyboard Music, VII, 30-37; for that of Strozzi, see fn. 9 above. Additional examples
may be found in Becchi's lute book of 1568 (Lefkoff, op. cit., pp. I38-39) and in
Antonio Valente's Intavolatura de cimbalo (Naples, 1576): La romanesca is printed
in Silva iberica, ed. Macario Santiago Kastner (Mainz: B. Schott's SiShne, ['9541),
pp. 4-7. Numerous examples are also in almost every guitar book from the first half
of the I7th century. Although not entitled romanesca, Diego Ortiz's Recercada
settima is based on Scheme III and concludes with two riprese like Ex. 8a; it appears
in his Tratado de glosas sobre clausulas y otros generos de puntos en la mzisica de
violones (Rome, 1553), pp. 126-29; modern ed. by Max Schneider (Kassel: Baren-
reiter, 1967). I believe the E's in the IV chords should not be flatted, as suggested
by Schneider.

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are represented, beginning early in the seventeenth century, by the pas-

sacaglia, which is associated with the singing of a particular type of
Spanish, French or Italian verse.23 Its harmonic pattern assumes the form
of Ex. 8c, with the initial I chord occupying sometimes only two beats of
anacrusis. The guitar tablatures of the seventeenth century contain,
then, not only these passacaglie for certain songs, but also riprese and
ritornelli (the preferred term by this time) that often display the same
musical form. Throughout the history of the Italian dance style the
internal standard riprese, appearing almost always in pairs, exhibit a
fairly fixed harmonic and rhythmic design-usually as shown in the
opening phrase of Ex. 8a, but sometimes slightly modified in rhythm
(as in Ex. 7a), or in harmonic pattern (Ex. 7b).

Double riprese are attached, almost without exception, to composi-

tions based on Scheme IV: in Italy the passamezzo moderno and the
gagliarde or saltarelli paired with it, in England the quadran pavan and
its galliard. The basic structure shown in Ex. 6c represents chordal
variation on the most elemental level, with V, the primary variation
chord of I, substituting for half its duration. Ex. Io shows further
chordal variation of this framework, with the insertion into the second
half of variation chords (V and IV-V) that belong to the I chord, and
into the first of variation chords (II and I-II) that circle the V chord.
The application of this technique to the second half produces the results
shown in the last four measures of each line in Ex. io: in (a) the
whole notes show a pattern identical to the cadence progression of
framework chords 7 and 8 in Ex. 6; (c) shows a pattern much like the
standard riprese of Ex. 8a; (d) is the same as Ex. 6b. In the opening
half of the lines in Ex. Io, II (or sometimes I-II) may appear only in
the second measure (a), in the second and third (c), or in the first three

23Luis de Brigefio, in Metodo mui facilissimo (Paris, 1626) [copy in Paris,

Bibliotheque Nationale], states on fol. 14: "Regla para saver todas las entradas de
theatro como son pasacalles, los quales son negesarios para cantar toda suerte de
letrillas y Romanges graves, Espaiioles o Frangeses." On fol. 14v he presents Doze
pasacalles para comencar a cantar, and on fols. I5-24 a series of songs, showing for
each the guitar chords, text, and the name of the appropriate pasacalle. Florence,
Biblioteca Riccardiana MSS 2793 and 2804 include a large repertoire of both
Spanish and Italian songs, most of which are preceded by the abbreviation "Pass.,"
followed by the guitar chords for the progression I-IV-V-I. As far as I know, the
term pasacalle or passacaglia is not used in Spain or Italy outside of this special
category of song; I have never seen it used with dances. Elsewhere in his book
(fol. I2v) Brigefio includes two unlabeled standard riprese at the end of Una
gallarda liamada Las bacas. Although Montesardo (op. cit.) begins his book, as do
most of the guitar composers, with a long series of passacagli sopra tutte le lettere
dell'alfabeto, the term does not appear elsewhere among his dances, even though
La favorita on p. 42 concludes with two unmarked standard riprese. Carbonchi,
in Perugia, Biblioteca Comunale, MS 586 (H72), entitles his alphabet series Passacagli
Sritornelli. See Thomas Walker, "Ciaccona and Passacaglia: Remarks on Their
Origin and Early History," this JOURNAL, XXI (1968), 300-20.

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(b); in (d) I and II are both included. V thus becomes in this context a
structure chord on a secondary level; its effect is indicated in Ex. io
by dotted squares and parentheses. The I chord sometimes inserted
at the end of the fourth measure of (b) or (c) is an anticipation of the
structural I chord of the second half, acting in the same manner as the
tonic chord in the fourth full measure of Ex. 3, which precedes and an-
ticipates its structural appearance in the next measure.

Example o
Harmonic Variety within the Double Ripresa. [The notes are roots of triads; e= an alter-
nate chord; (e) = a chord that may be inserted.]
(a) Variations on the basic form.

(b) Further variations.

(c) The form used with the Quadran Pavan.


(d) The form associated with the Saltarello

(?V I (XI II V )
[IV v II

Ex. i shows a pair of internal d

tarello by Waissel;24 variation cho
24 A slightly different version of this
different edition, is printed by Egon
Lautenmusik des 16. Jahrhunderts (diss
Berlin & Bernau: Druck der Universit~
Musikbeilagen. Here the indication Le rep
spot in the edition I obtained from Mu
latter edition Le represe appears only bef
saltarelli on fols. G4, H2, H4, and 12.
saltarelli are not marked, nor are the d
well as its padoana and its saltarello, in
KI-K2v (Nos. 31 and 32). Occasionally,
riprese are mentioned in the table of c
research is Howard Mayer Brown's I
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
each book.

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Example ii
Waissel, Tabulatura (1 573), fol. 14,: excerpts from Saltarello.
Scheme IV
-- 2 3

( )(IV] ) (
2 unmarked double

)(v LV i u v
S1 ii V
I(v v II


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of Ex. Iob. The earliest internal double ripresa known to me appears

in Hans Newsidler's Ein newes Lautenbiichlein (Niirnberg, 1540); it
is almost identical to the whole notes in Ex. ioa.25 Two double riprese
conclude Julio Abondante's Pass'e mezo primo of 1563; each is like
Newsidler's, but with the substitution of IV in the fifth measure.26
Becchi's lute book of 1568, already mentioned in connection with stand-
ard riprese, contains four dance cycles, each with three passamezzi and
three saltarelli. All of the twenty-four dances end with two double riprese
of the general form of Ex. Ioa with the black notes substituted. Those
attached to the saltarelli employ the rhythm typical of the standard
riprese; this is shown, for comparison, in Ex. 8e."7 Marco Facoli has a
lengthy Pass'e mezzo moderno in which Scheme IV appears six times,
each time followed by two double riprese (marked separately Prima
and Seconda ripresa); they take the general shape of Ex. Iob.28 The
English composers display a remarkably consistent technique in their
quadran pavans and galliards. They alternate pairs of statements of
Scheme IV with pairs of double riprese that have the form shown in
Ex. Ioc, one of the variant structures indicated in Ex. Iob.29 This uni-
25 Passa mesa, printed in Denkmiler der Tonkunst in Osterreich, Jg. XVIII/2,
Bd. 37, p. 40 (see fn. i8 above).
261ntabolatura di liuto (Venice, I563), transcribed by Lefkoff, op. cit., p. Io5.
Abondante's book was first published in I546.
27 Becchi's pieces are transcribed by Lefkoff, op. cit., pp. I22-38. The opening
phrase of Ex. 8e, since it returns to I, might appear to be a complete ripresa in itself.
However, Becchi makes clear by the double bars in his tablature that his riprese
are of the double type; see the facsimile page in Lefkoff, p. 12i, which shows a
passamezzo in which each framework chord spans four measures. See also the two
pairs of double riprese in Julio Cesare Barbetta's II primo libro dell'intavolatura de
liuto (Venice, 1569), transcribed by Oscar Chilesotti in Lautenspieler des XVI.
Jahrhunderts (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Hiirtel, [189I]), pp. 8o-8i: Gagliarda del passo e
mezo detto il Moderno.
28 Corpus of Early Keyboard Music, II, 1-9 (see fn. 21 above).
20 For examples of English double riprese, see the following sources:
(I) William Byrd, Quadran paven and Galiard to the Quadran paven in T
Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, ed. J. A. Fuller Maitland and W. Barclay Squi
(Leipzig: Breitkopf & Hirtel, 1899; reprint, New York: Dover Publications, 196
II, Io3-15.
(2) John Bull, Quadran pavan, Variation of the Quadran pavan, and Galiard to the
Quadran pavan, in The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, ed. J. A. Fuller Maitland & W.
Barclay Squire, I, 99-123; also printed in John Bull, Keyboard Music, II, ed.
Thurston Dart (Musica Britannica, XIX [London: Stainer & Bell, 1963]), 153-76.
In the latter edition the same music appears differently arranged: both the pavan
and the galiard appear as three pieces, each marked in the manner shown in Fig. I
for the work of Holborne.
(3) Thomas Morley, Quadro pavan from the Forster Virginal Book, printed in
Thomas Morley, Keyboard Works, ed. Thurston Dart (London: Stainer & Bell,
1959), I, 8-13-
(4) Anthony Holborne, Quadro pavan from Cambridge, University Library, MS
Dd. 2. I I, fol. 70', printed in The Complete Works of Anthony Holborne, I:
Music for Lute and Bandora, ed. Masakata Kanazawa (Harvard Publications in
Music, I [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, i967]), 192-97. The editor
gives the harmonic scheme of the riprese on p. 225.

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formity of musical treatment is accompanied by inconsistency in mark-
ing the sections. Table I presents a comparison of the various systems
of numbering; the abbreviation "Rep." (which may have meant "re-
peat," "reprise," or even "reprisa") refers here to the varied repetition
of a section.


(A dash indicates that a section of music is both
unnumbered and untitled.)
Content of in Barley
the musical Byrd Byrd Fitzwm. Morley Holborne Allison pavan &
sections pavan galliard Book pavan pavan pavan galliard

Scheme IV -
Scheme IV 2 Rep. Rep. 2 - Rep. Rep.
Ripresa 3 small 2 3 2 2
Ripresa 4 Rep. Rep. 4 - Rep. Rep.
Scheme IV 5 large 2 5 3
Scheme IV 6 Rep. Rep. 6
Ripresa 7 small 2 7 4
Ripresa 8 Rep. Rep. 8
Scheme IV large 3 9
Scheme IV Rep. 10
Ripresa small 2 11
Ripresa Rep. 12

The riprese discussed so far h

cause they almost invariably occu
could depend on a constant period
the main piece. Concluding ripre
chains of unspecified number, an
dance of a pair. Concluding dou
Giorgio Mainerio provides a un
passamezzi, where, after five sta
four complete double riprese occu
however, in his saltarello riprese
(5) Quadron pavan and Quadron galliar
orpharion and bandora] (London: for
of Shakespeare's Time, ed. Wilburn W
State University Press, 1966), pp. 86-91.
(6) Richard Allison, Quadro pavan, p
Music (16th Century), ed. David Lum
pp. 25-27.
30 Mainerio is also the only composer,
with Scheme VII as well as Scheme IV. His Pass'e mezzo antico and Pass'e mezzo
moderno, each with its saltarello, are from II primo libro de balli (Venice, 1
transcribed by Manfred Schuler in Musikalische Denkmndler, V (Mainz: B. Sch
S6hne, I96i), pp. 4-9 and 26-31. Both works appear anonymously in Chorear
molliorum collectanea (Antwerp: Pierre Phalese and Jean Bellere, 1583) and f

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variable number of times (four or six in this case), and the second half
appears only once. Ex. Iod shows their structure, in which I and II,
the variation chords of V, act as both a prolongation of the preceding V,
as well as an anticipation of the V which begins each repeat or opens the
second half. A comparison of this form (Ex. 8d) with that of the stand-
ard riprese (Ex. 8a) reveals striking rhythmic and harmonic similarities.
Examples of such concluding double riprese occur also in the works of
Facoli, Radino, and Picchi.31 All except Picchi refer to this type with
the singular term ripresa. Since Facoli seems particularly careful with
his terminology, this must be a recognition that the word in its essen-
tial meaning indicates a structural repeat of the I chord from the main
scheme; hence, no amount of repetition of the first half of the double
ripresa (which is based structurally on V) will produce more than a
single structural return of I, which occurs in the second half.
A very rare type of double ripresa should also be mentioned. Since
the chord-rows usually end on a major tonic triad, riprese tend to take
their shape from the B quadro system, as depicted in Ex. 6. However,
Ex. 12 shows the construction of another type, based on the central
chords of the mode per B molle. Internal examples based on the struc-
this source are printed in Friedrich Blume, Studien zur Vorgeschichte der
Orchestersuite im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert (Berliner Beitrage zur Musikwissenschaft,
I [Leipzig: F. Kistner & C. F. W. Siegel, 1925]), Anhang B, Beispielen 25a (pp.
47-53) and 25b (pp. 53-58). The Pass'e mezzo antico by itself is also printed in A
Treasury of Early Music, ed. Carl Parrish (New York: W. W. Norton & Company,
Inc., 1958), pp. 197-201 (No. 35). In addition, the Pass'e mezzo antico and its sal-
tarello are arranged for keyboard in Jacob Paix, Ein schbin Nutz unnd gebreiichlich
Orgel Tabulaturbfich (Lauingen, 1583). However, there must have been two dif-
ferent editions of this work during the same year, since one version is included
by Schuler as an Anhang to his edition of Mainerio's work (pp. 50-57), and another
is printed in Wilhelm Merian, Der Tanz in den deutschen Tabulaturbiichern (Leip-
zig: Breitkopf & Hartel, 1927; reprint, Hildesheim: Olms, 1967), pp. i35-39. Con-
cerning Mainerio's riprese see, in addition to the Einleitung of Schuler's edition, his
article "Zur Friihgeschichte der Passacaglia," Die Musikforschung, XVI (1963),

31 Facoli's Pass'e mezzo moderno, already described, contains internal double

riprese following the passamezzo itself; but at the end of the saltarello is La sua
ripresa, which repeats its opening half eight times. See also the Gagliarda by Gio-
vanni Maria Radino, which appears for lute in Intavolatura di balli per sonar di liuto
(Venice, 1592), modern ed. by Giuseppe Gullino (Florence: Edizioni Musicali
Ditta R. Maurri di Ettore Stanta, 1949), pp. 6-9; and for keyboard in II prinmo libro
d'intavolatura di balli d'arpicordo (Venice, I592), facsimile and transcription by
Rosamond E. M. Harding (Cambridge: W. Heffer, and New York: Broude Bros.,
1949), PP. 42-51; also transcribed by Susan Ellingworth in Corpus of Early Keyboard
Music, XXXIII (American Institute of Musicology, 1968), 7-12. Concluding riprese
occur in a number of dances in Giovanni Picchi's Intavolatura di balli d'arpicordo
(Venice, 1621), pp. 20-23, 24-30, and 31-37; facsimile edition in Bibliotheca musica
bononiensis, Sezione IV, N. 36 (Bologna: Forni, 1968); modern ed. in Chilesotti's
Biblioteca di rarita musicali, II, 17-18, 19-21, and 23-25; also in Antologia di musica
antica e moderna per pianoforte, ed. G. Tagliapietra, V (Milan: G. Ricordi, 1931),
87-88, 90-92, and 93-95.

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Example i
Harmonic Variety within the Double B molle Ripresa
(a) Basic form.


(b) The f

(c) The fo

ture of
with pa
one to el
The dou
32 One u
sobre Las
I (Brookl
33The Pa
Toccate e
in Bologn
della rom
Pierre Pidoux in Girolamo Frescobaldi, Orgel- und Klavierwerke, III (Kassel:
Bairenreiter, 1954), PP- 46-54. Both pieces are discussed by Apel in Geschichte der
Orgel- und Klaviermusik, pp. 450-54 (note especially Fig. 473). In both sets some
of the variations have a double ripresa, others none; five in the 1637 edition have
riprese of the standard length.
34I want to express my thanks to Prof. H. Colin Slim of the University of
California, Irvine, who is preparing a transcription of these manuscripts for future
volumes of Corpus of Early Keyboard Music, and who kindly allowed me to
examine both his microfilm copies and his transcriptions. At his suggestion I will
use the fascicle numbering which he employed in his Ph.D. dissertation, "The Key-
board Ricercar and Fantasia in Italy ca. i5oo-I55o, with Reference to Parallel Forms
in European Lute Music of the Same Period" (unpublished, Harvard University,
1961). He lists the contents of the two fascicles containing riprese on pp. 87-91
(fasc. III) and 103 (fasc. VII). Double B molle riprese occur in fasc. III, fols. 1-3
(La coda), 12v-I4, 20'-22, and 22'-24V; and in fasc. VII, fols. I2v-13v. Three of the
ripresa groups are labeled La coda, two La ripresa, terms which appear to be inter-
changeable in these manuscripts, for they appear with both standard and double
riprese. La coda may be synonymous with my expression "concluding riprese."

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cluding standard riprese, however, show far greater diversity, even within
the same composition. Furthermore, because of their greater number
they create the effect of a set of ostinato variations. They usually fol-
low a saltarello or gagliarda paired with a passamezzo or pavana, and
hence tend to be in triple meter. Most often they are associated with
Scheme VII, but may appear with the other schemes.
Ex. 13 is an attempt to show as briefly as possible the extent of their
harmonic diversity. The basic pattern of V and I shown in Ex. 6b ap-
pears in whole notes in Ex. I3a; the whole notes in (b) through (g)
give other possible distributions of V and I.35 This is chordal variation
of the sustained I chord of Ex. 6a on the most elementary level. Once
these patterns are created, then a second level of chordal variation may
take place, whereby each of these two chords (V and I) may be varied

Example I 3
Harmonic Variety within the Standard Ripresa.

[ o = an alternate triad. i

(a) I


(e) ' I-

(f) ."I- - - "

(g) _Jr-- . -- ]
" Note that none of the struc
which is the common cadence p
7 and 8 in Ex. 6). It sometimes
ripresa (Exx. ioa and b).

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by the appropriate variation chords, shown in Ex. 13 by black notes. All

of the notes in Ex. 13 thus represent triads in root position. They are
usually major or without third, but sometimes, especially in the i7th
century, i or iv may be minor.
Ex. 14 shows, for example, four of the possible variants depicted by
Ex. I3a. For comparison I have marked the chords as in Ex. 3, with a
square around the structure chords and parentheses to indicate the
variation chords that belong to each. Exx. 3 and 14 both show variation
chords that circle a framework chord within its own time period (Ex.
14a or Ex. 3, last three measures), as well as those that anticipate the
next structure chord: Ex. 14b is somewhat like the fourth full measure
of Ex. 3, Ex. i4c like measure 6. Ex. 14 thus presents four repeats or ri-
prese of the final structural I chord from some preceding main scheme,
each time varying this framework chord according to the same principles
that would be applied to the main scheme itself.
Since, as Ex. 13 shows, a considerable variety of possibilities result
from the application of this chordal variation technique, the successive

Example 14
The Technique of Variation Chord Insertion in the Standard Concluding Riprese of Ex.
(a) (b)

(IV V ) (V ) (IV

(c) (d)

V ) (II V
[V 11

phrases of any particular chain of ripre

another. Usually a ripresa, as depicted i
each in a single measure of triple m
however, and the meter may be duple
last measure of Ex. i4c is replaced by a
an E in the bass. Occasionally the four
lished by passing or neighbor chords t
The procedures outlined in Exx. 13 an
concluding riprese of Ex. 9, where phr
(with IV substituted) alternate at ra
Within each of the phrases the structur
variation chords (V or IV-V). The sec
illustrate riprese in which the final IV
Ex. i4b) prepares for the structural I of

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15 both exhibit the characteristic trait of mixing, in an unpredictable

order, phrases of different harmonic structure.
The earliest standard concluding riprese appear in Casteliono's lute
book of 1536, where eleven different saltarelli are followed by chains of
three to eleven riprese.36 Other examples occur in the works of Jean Paul
Paladin,37 Pietro Paolo Borrono,38 Melchior Newsidler,39 Peter Philips,40
and in the Castell'Arquato manuscripts.4' Furthermore, a number of
independent sets exist that are not attached to any particular piece. Ber-
nardino Balletti published in 1554 an independent composition entitled
Represe, which consists of fifty-five standard phrases.42 In the next cen-
tury Praetorius presents "vier Reprinse, zum Beschluss der Galliarden,
Wie dieselbe von den Frantz.6sischen Dantzmeistern diminuiret und color-
iret werden;" the four sets contain seventeen, twenty-one, eleven and
ten riprese.43 Bellorofonte Castaldi has two independent sets of ritor-
36 Copies in Vienna, isterreichische Nationalbibliothek, and Florence, Conserva-
torio di Musica L. Cherubini. See Tobias Norlind, "Zur Geschichte der Suite,"
Sammelbdnde der internationalen Musikgesellschaft, VII (1905-o6), 172-203. In addi-
tion, three other groups consist of only one or two riprese; hence, I have considered
them of the internal variety. Three of the saltarelli appear also in Intabolatura de
lauto de diversi autori (Venice, 1563) and are printed in Lefkoff, op. cit., pp. 52-54
(Nos. 7 and 8) and 58-59 (No. 12).
37 Tablature de Lutz (Lyon: Jacques Moderne, n.d.), copy in Munich, Bayerische
Staatsbibliothek, pp. i8-2o and 21-22 (each a gaillarde with La reprinse or reprise).
Samuel F. Pogue, in Jacques Moderne, Lyons Music Printer of the 16th Century
(Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1969), pp. 199-200, gives evidence that the book was
probably published before 1547.
38 Intavolatura di lauto (Venice, 1548), copy in Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale
Marciana. A later edition (Venice, 1563) is transcribed by Lefkoff; ten of the
saltarelli (op. cit., pp. 85-95) possess up to ten concluding riprese. In addition, some
of the pieces in Casteliono's book bear Borrono's initials.
3o II primo libro intabolatura di liuto (Venice, 1566), copy in Munich, Bayerische
Staatsbibliothek. With both the Pass'e mezo antico and the Pass'e 7nezo la Milanese
appears Ii suo saltarello con la ripresa, pp. 25-26 and 28-30. The riprese of the first
saltarello are printed in T. Norlind, "Zur Geschichte der Suite," op. cit., pp. 179-
80, but they should commence in the third measure of his example.
40 Galiarda passamezzo in The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, ed. J. A. Fuller Mait-
land and W. Barclay Squire, I, 30o6-II. The sections of riprese are labeled, curiously,
saltarella. Two other sources seem to use this term to indicate riprese. Rome,
Biblioteca Musicale Governativa del Conservatorio di Musica S. Cecilia, A.Ms. 247,
which is a guitar tablature bearing the date 16i9 and the name Romanus, gives on
fol. 7v a single unattached phrase marked saltarello. Foriano Pico, in Nuova scelta di
sonate per la chitarra spagnola (Venice, [1628? ]), p. 24, marks the same word over a
pair of standard riprese that follow a piece called Girumetta.
41 Seven saltarelli end with twelve to twenty-seven riprese. They are in fasc. III
on fols. 4-6, 6-8, 8v-Io, 10-12, 16-17', 17'-19 and 19-20'. Apel discusses these work
in Geschichte der Orgel- und Klaviermusik, pp. 230-31. In his Fig. 230, which con
cerns fasc. III, fols. i6-17v (Apel uses the numbering system adopted by Jeppesen)
the first note of the ripresa should be G and not F. The riprese actually alternate at
random between V-V-I-I and V-V-I-IV.
42 Intabolatura de lauto (Venice), transcribed in Lefkoff, op. cit., pp. 76-7
43 Terpsichore (Wolfenbiittel, 1612), printed in Gesamtausgabe der niusik
Werke von Michael Praetorius, ed. Giinther Oberst (Wolfenbiittel-Berlin, 1
XV, 182-87. The French word reprinse or reprise appears here and in Paladin

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Example 15
Intabolatura de leuto (Milan: Casteliono, 15 36), fol. io,: the opening three standard con-
cluding riprese from the Saltarello paired with the Pavana chiamata la Milanesa bv Pietro
Paolo Borrono.

Le riprese

(V I )(IV

Of r. RW F

to indicate riprese. However, the te

basse danse; see Jehan Tabourot (Tho
Engl. transl. by Mary Stewart Evans
and 67-74; also F. Blume, Studien zur
and Io5. This meaning must apply i
musyck boexken (Antwerp, 1550). In a
a reprinse, and here the term seems t
ment of the same music to fit a new
variation meaning applies in the citt
quae cytbara pulsantur liber secundu
ische Nationalbibliothek) and other
works of Ammerbach (the one cited
published in Niirnberg, copy in Mun
uses the spelling reprisa, which appea
reprise. Only on the occasion ment
designate riprese of the type we are i
are attached immediately follows La
cludes the Passamezzo Itali auff den la
two different meanings within the sam

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nelli.44 During the I7th century, however, most of the independe

bear the name of either the passacaglia or of another form, the c
a dance whose musical scheme joins that of the passacaglia in a c
technique of variation.4'

In other articles I have described the special technique invo

passacaglia and ciaccona variations as an ostinato of derived and
formulae.46 I would like now to expand the concept suggested b
phrase so that it includes all the sets of riprese and ritornelli (b
ever name) throughout the entire period of the Italian dance sty
then to set the somewhat more specialized technique of the pass
and ciaccona in perspective within this larger concept. Ostinato
on a number of different levels. First of all, the obstinate repetit
short, constant phrase-length must have had a powerful and exhi
effect on those who had just completed a pair of dances in whic
attention was fastened, musically at least, on the slower progression o
eight chords of a row.47 The impact of this rhythmic ostinato w
strengthened by the parallel beginnings of succeeding riprese (c
for example, the first two concluding riprese of Ex. 9). Secondl
ostinato may be harmonic, but usually only to the extent that gr
phrases within a larger composition use the same chords (Ex.
three concluding riprese), or harmonic formulae are employed t
begin (Ex. 15) or all end (Ex. 9) with a common chord. A ha
ostinato seems often to be set beside the idea of diversity within
composition; thus, Balletti's fifty-five riprese (see fn. 42) begin
twelve exactly identical statements of I-IV-V-V, but then tu
ruptly to a new pattern. Thirdly, a melodic ostinato may somet
cur, especially in the Baroque period, in the double riprese attac

44 Capricci a due stromenti ciod tiorba e tiorbino (Modena, 1620), pp. 4

46-47. In 1967 Albi Rosenthal kindly sent me photographic copies of the
from the volume then in his possession.
45 During the first half of the 17th century the name ciaccona occasiona
cated a ritornello, meaning that the musical scheme from the dance was to b
A number of examples are cited by Helga Spohr in Studien zur italienisc
komposition umn 6oo (unpublished dissertation, Albert-Ludwigs-Universit
burg i. Br., 1956), pp. I41-42.
46 "The Passacaglia and Ciaccona in Italian Keyboard Music of the 17th Ce
The Diapason, Vol. LX, No. 12 (November, 1969), pp. 22-24, and Vol. LX
(December, 1969), pp. 6-7; and also the article cited in fn. 2 above.
47 It is sometimes difficult to determine where the riprese begin. The label
written a measure or so too late or too soon. When one of the Schemes is used and
its chords occur at equal intervals, the riprese simply begin when the scheme has
its full course. In a number of sources before I55o, such as the Casteliono, Paladin
Borrono lute books, the familiar schemes do not usually appear. In many cases, h
ever, the triple-meter dance to which the riprese are attached contains an alio m
or the preceding pavana uses the same harmonic progressions; one can then com
the section immediately preceding the riprese with one of its variant sections and t
reckon the point where it concludes and the riprese begin. Sometimes the sin
chord in the final measure of a group of riprese must actually be sustained for
measures, in order to complete the last phrase.

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saltarelli. The repetition of the opening half produces, as we have s

the harmonic ostinato shown in Ex. Iod. Picchi's Ballo detto "II S
fanin" provides an example of this harmonic progression supportin
melodic basso ostinato.4"
Although the rhythmic ostinato is powerful by itself, and an ha
monic or melodic ostinato may sometimes occur, the special sens
ostinato that characterizes these particular forms comes from the ran
recurrence of a group of familiar rhythmic and harmonic formulae
are related in the sense that they are all derived from the application
common constructive technique. We have already examined the harm
method of derivation in this ostinato of derived and selected formu
selection, then, occurs in several ways. Although Ex. 13 indicates
great diversity of formulae that might occur, a certain few are selec
far more often than the others-such formulae as the standard internal
ripresa (Exx. 8a and c) or those in Exx. 9, 14, and I5. Selection al
operates during the course of composition, for from phrase to phras
the composer is free to choose whichever formula he wishes. He may
strive for continual variety, or may unite a group by harmonic or melo
ostinato. He may utilize such groups as units in large-scale form.
For passacaglia variations, selection involves preference for a singl
harmonic structure: I . . . . IV-V-(I), as well as avoidance of patter
peculiar to the ciaccona, whose basic progression seems to be I-V-vi-V
(Ex. i6). The passacaglia tends, for example, to favor its B molle versi
(i-iv-V-i), in contrast to the B quadro modality of the ciaccona.
From these two formulae are derived others, first harmonically (iii a
IV are inserted in Ex. I6c), and then melodically (7 and 6, for example
in Ex. I6b). Although the formulae in I6th century dance music se
to be harmonic in nature, those in the passacaglia-ciaccona ostinato ap
Example 16
The Passacaglia and Ciaccona Formulae. [The notes in (b) and (c) are not necessarily
the roots of triads; -= an alternate chord; (o) - notes or chords that may be inserted.]

(a) The progression from Ex. 13f.

(b) Passacaglia forms.

(c) Ciaccona forms.

~ca----;- ~ ]Mini-
48 Printed in Biblioteca di raritd musicali, II, 23-25, and in the Antologia . . . of
Tagliapietra, V, 93-95.

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pear, except for the early examples in rasgueado guitar music, t

sentially melodic. They are shown in Ex. I6 without bar-lines, si
entire pattern fits, in various ways, into four triple-time groups.
formulae having been derived for each form, a composer then s
one for each phrase, in such a way that he establishes in a set o
tions, on the passacaglia, for example, one or more of the pa
formulae as its central musical idea.
In spite of derivation from a single original harmonic progression,
however, passacaglia variations, like those on the ciaccona, do not nece
sarily constitute a harmonic or melodic ostinato. Internal insertion of
new chords and tones alters the original patterns of both forms, so tha
sometimes only a harmonic framework remains in which successiv
phrases all begin on I or all end on IV-V-(I). The characteristic feature
of such sets of variations is the recurrence, in unpredictable succession,
of the various formulae that evolved from the original harmonic pat-
terns. The passacaglia-ciaccona ostinato is thus a special application of th
larger ostinato of derived and selected formulae from which it evolve
Having been derived from one basic harmonic structure, the passacagl
never utilizes, for example, those forms of Ex. 13 that include the
chord. Its harmonic pattern of I-IV-V-(I), however, links it with th
most common type of internal ripresa, whose history, as we have seen
extends back in a continuous line to at least 1530.
The ripresa, the ritornello, and the passacaglia originated, then, as
functional units in the Italian dance style. I would like to suggest, as in
dicated above, that the words ripresa and ritornello refer primarily to th
repeat or return of the final I chord from the main scheme of a compos
tion, with this chord varied by the same process used in the scheme i
self, that of chordal variation, but usually applied independently, so th
the music is harmonically and melodically different from that of the
main piece.4" Two such repeats or returns were usually used betwee
sections of a dance or song. Most common was the standard length
attached to any of the schemes. The regular double type developed for
use with Scheme IV, a rarer B molle type for Scheme III. Longer series
of standard riprese (usually associated with Scheme VII), along wit
some independent sets, led to the special ostinato of derived and
selected formulae. The various types of ripresa occurred throughou

49 The term ritornello existed also in the i4th century to designate a portion of
madrigal or caccia. Don Harran, in "Verse Types in the Early Madrigal" (this
JOURNAL, XXII [19691), describes the ritornello madrigal (pp. 37-38), which adds tw
or four lines after its two or three tercets. On p. 40 (fn. 52) he quotes Trissino
(Arte poetica, I529), who refers to these added lines as "one or two ritornelli." Thu
like the i6th and i7th century dance ritornello, the term does not refer to the enti
section but to some smaller element that may occur more than once in immedia
succession. This suggests, of course, that the term may also refer in the 14th centur
to some feature of the preceding piece (music or text) that "returns" once or twice

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most of the period from around I500 to 1650. The special ostinato te
nique, however, lived on, after the style that gave it birth had disappeared
in the passacaglia and ciaccona variations by Bach and other composer
of the late Baroque period. The musical ancestors of such works are t
riprese and ritornelli in the Italian dance style of the I6th and I7th ce

University of California, Los Angeles

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