Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC Berkeley

Repertory Migration in the Czech Crown Lands, 1570-1630


This dissertation studies the production and transmission of musical repertories in the Czech Crown Lands between 1570 and 1630. The region had long been closely linked to bordering lands, but immigration from other countries to the region escalated in the final decades of the sixteenth century with the arrival of the imperial court in Prague, particularly from Spain, Italy, and the Low Lands. The period I have chosen for study thus encompasses this time of unusually intensive travel, migration, and cultural exchange, with the reign of Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol as King of Bohemia at the beginning, and the start of the Thirty Years War at its end.

My object has been to track cultural movement and the mobility of musicians, performance styles, and genres that accompanied and even precipitated it. I treat music at the court of the Habsburgs and the tastes we can presume reigned there among the international group of nobles that made up court society. But as a work of cultural history, this study also reaches out beyond the Rudolfine court to take stock of the broader cultural terrain of the Czech Crown Lands.

Chapter 1, "The Music Book Market in Bohemia and Moravia," gives a broad account of the transmission of musical texts in manuscript and print, including studies of local printers, the distribution of music books printed in Germany and Venice, booksellers in Prague and beyond, and what we can discern of the collecting of music by literary brotherhoods, Latin schools, churches, monasteries, and private individuals not directly associated with the court.

Chapter 2, "Italians in Bohemia," circles in closer to the court and its strikingly Italianate tastes in music (since many nobles studied abroad in Italy). I begin with a brief history of Prague's substantial Italian community, which included stonemasons, architects, and merchants in addition to the Italian musicians at court, among whom Italian trumpeters held a particular monopoly. The core of the chapter studies the Italianate output of court composers, both Italians and northerners, with detailed studies of madrigals by Alessandro Orologio and the canzoni napolitane of Giovannni Battista Pinello. Their local production for the court at Prague shows how they modified their approach to this Italian genre to better suit the tastes of their central European audiences, which included courtiers and consumers of print.

Chapter 3, "The Reception of Italian Music in Bohemia and Moravia," takes in six decades of Italian music reception in Bohemia and Moravia with specific concentration on court culture. Beginning with the wedding of Maximilian II's daughter Anna to Philipp II, King of Spain, in 1570 and ending with the coronation of Ferdinand II's wife Eleonora Gonzaga and his son Ferdinand as King and Queen of Bohemia in 1627, I show the essential role played by monarchs and the Austrian and Czech nobility in instilling a local taste among aristocrats for Italian music and theater, including the commedia dell'arte.

Chapter 4, "The Quodlibet," closes the dissertation with a study of the genre that represents the multiethnic nature of Prague and the Czech Crown Lands most vividly--the polylingual quodlibet, in which quotes from tunes popular with audiences are woven together in polyphonic settings by composers. Thus, they record not only the great variety of music that was enjoyed by consumers of polyphony--German lied, sacred songs in German and Czech, Italian villanelle and napolitane, and Latin drinking songs--but also bear witness to the convergence of these languages, musics, and the cultures they reference in what was truly one of the most densely international regions of early modern Europe.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View