Cruda Amarilli-1

Cruda Amarilli-1


 Cruda Amarilli is the first Madrigal from the Fifth book of Madrigals of 1605 that Claudio Monteverdi wrote. This fifth book of madrigals and the 6th was strongly criticized by Artusi in “L’Artusi, overo delle imperfettioni della moderna musica” in which he argued about the unprepared sevenths, the introduction of new “rules” and modes and turns of phrase that were “harsh and little pleasing to hear.” Around this time period Monteverdi finished his seconda prattica opening a transcendental controversy with Artusi who did not want these innovations in the compositional technique of Monteverdi.


“Cruda Amarilli” comes from “Il Pastor Fido” by Giambattista Guarini. This madrigal is in the mode G (mixolydian) qualified as ‘improper’ by Artusi. It has free use of the form but it is easy to identify 3 sections: the first one from the measures 1-25, the second one from the measures 26-43 and the third one from the measure 44 till the end.

In the 1st section there is the presence of the new treatment to the harmony that he uses through the unprepared dissonances, for example: (m13-14), (m19-20), (m21-22). The texture is changing through this madrigal for example: from measure 1 to 18 there is a predomination of Homophonic texture with all the 5 voices singing together in a tutti, inside this section there is an utilization of the counterpoint (m9-10) having the harmony: IV-vii; then florid counterpoint (m11-12) VII-IV which came again in from the measure 17 to the measure18. The polyphonic texture comes from measures 18 to 30.

The second section is mainly in polyphonic texture until the measure 38 and then it turns into homophonic for the last time until the end of this section in measure 43. Under this section there is the most use of the unprepared dissonances, for example: measures 35, 37, 38, 41, 42, 43. An example of the utilization of the word painting is explicit in the measure 42-43 in which the text: “e piu fugace” is set and the melody allude to the ‘fugace’ perception. Or when the words: ‘lamenti, ‘morire’ that always have musical correspondences. 

The third part has polyphony texture with the use of the imitative counterpoint till the end. There is two moments of unprepared dissonances: measures 53 and 54.


  “Cruda Amarilli” and “Questi Vaghi” are part of the 5th book of madrigals written by Monteverdi, representing the first one

"Questi vaghi concenti", Monteverdi, Book V-0

"Questi vaghi concenti", Monteverdi, Book V-0

and the last one. “Questi Vaghi” is more elaborated than Cruda Amarilli because Monteverdi uses a sinfonia for 9 voices, alternating with two choirs of five voices each, which are making variations of the sinfonia part or for instances are singing together giving a fuller sound to this madrigal and the utilization of the basso continuo while Cruda Amarilli only have 6 voices without any accompaniment or even the sinfonia. Monteverdi with “Questi Vaghi” demonstrates all his innovations together such as unprepared dissonances, incorporation of the sinfonia, two choirs and a basso continuo in the madrigal.


I choose this “Cruda Amarilli” Because I like the meaning of the text and how the music fit that in a spectacular way. I choose the “Questi Vaghi” to see how Monteverdi was developing his new style of composition thorough this book of madrigals and this last one specifically have lots of innovations with the incorporation of the sinfonia and the choirs with the basso continuo, the melodies of soloist parts are beautiful.  With these examples of madrigals I could observe how the structure of the madrigal was changing through the book adding instrumental sections, duets, trios or simply acapella works, the basso continuo.

Works citedEdit

Chater, James. “Cruda Amarilli': A Cross-Section of the Italian Madrigal.” The Musical Times, Vol. 116,            No. 1585 (1975): 231-234.

Denis Arnold. "Seconda Pratica": A Background to Monteverdi's Madrigals.” Music & Letters, Vol. 38,  No. 4 (1957): 341-352.

“Cruda Amarilli.” Youtube Video, Posted by “umlmusichistory,” Uploaded Nov 4 2012.

“Questi Vaghi concerti,” Monteverdi, Book V.” Youtube, Posted by “amarantaviera,” Uploaded Jul 26, 2012.

“Madrigals, Book 5, SV 94-106 (Monteverdi, Claudio)