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Cor Donato Editions - Authoritative scores of the music of Barbara Strozzi

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Editorial Notes

Modernization while honoring the composer's legacy.

Our editions transcribe Barbara Strozzi's music into modern notation with a minimum of editorial intervention, providing scores that are easier for modern musicians and scholars to read than the originals, with convenient page turns for performance. Beams have been added according to modern practice, and C clefs on the bottom line have been replaced with G clefs on the second line. Modern Italian punctuation and accentuation have been added in the lyrics. Mensuration signs, note values, key signatures, accidentals, slur markings, and tempo indications have been transcribed as found in the original print, and inconsistencies are left unchanged except where they might hinder performance, in which cases editorial changes are identified in the scores with parentheses, brackets, or footnotes.

Seventeenth-century editors and printers attached less importance to rigorous consistency than is expected in modern editions. While inconsistencies can be disconcerting to musicians used to scores prepared according to modernist ideals, they are related to an important element of seventeenth-century musical thinking and taste, associated with the values of flexibility, elegance, and fashion. Without attempting to reproduce every inconsistency in the original scores, this edition seeks to preserve some of the flavor of the seventeenth-century original.


Accidentals in seventeenth-century scores normally apply only to a single note and immediate repetitions of the same note, or sometimes to the same note separated by one or a few notes within a standard melodic figure.

Although Strozzi's prints are unusually free from ambiguities by the standards of her time, notation of accidentals is often not as explicit as is the norm in modern editions, and divergent readings are possible in some situations. Musica ficta practices for mi and fa were largely out of practice by the mid-seventeenth century, but they remain occasionally appropriate, and performers must use their judgment in supplying accidentals they consider to be missing.

The following examples illustrate the kinds of ambiguities that are encountered:

7.02, Appresso ai molli argenti

  • P.18, m.58: The first D in the melody might be sung as D#.
  • ibid., p.23, m.156: F in the melody might be sung as F#.

7.14, Che v'ho fato

  • P.66, m.21: Both Cs in the melody might be sung as C#s, because of the F# major harmony in the second half of the measure, but C-natural is also possible as both are passing notes in a descending line.

Editorial accidentals have been added in parentheses in places where they seem clearly required by the harmony.


Uneven barring is commonplace in the original prints, sometimes responding to phrases in the music but usually serving no musical purpose, and exact repeats are often differently barred.

Passages in C mensuration, which in the original are randomly barred with four, eight, or twelve quarter notes, have in this edition been given added dashed barlines at whole-note intervals. Uneven barring in triple time is rarely confusing to the eye and has been left unchanged except in a few places, where extended measures that might hinder sight-reading have been divided with added dashed barlines. See for example 7.01, Sino alla morte, p.2, mm.9-10 and mm. 14-16 have dashed bar lines added, but m.17 was left as is.

Double bar lines have been added without comment at the ends of all sections preceding changes of mensuration, and at divisions between main sections of cantatas, whether or not present in the original. Normal barlines have been tacitly added for measures falling at the ends of systems in the original, where they are usually absent in the original prints.


The sign in seventeenth-century scores that resembles a modern repeat sign often simply marks divisions between sentences or sections in the text (divisions normally also reflected in the structure of the musical setting), and usually do not call for repeats. In order to avoid confusion with the modern repeat sign, an approximation of the one used in Magni's prints is used in this edition. See for example 7.04, Lagrime mie, p.35, m.23 and 7.05, Non volete ch'io mi dolga, p.42, m.20.


Punctuation has been added in the lyrics to clarify syntax, and the first word of each poetic line has been capitalized in order to clarify versification, whether or not the words are capitalized in the original. Capitalization of other words in the original, usually proper names and pronouns referring to important people or places, has also been retained. Accentuation has been added or altered according to modern Italian practice, but original spellings have otherwise been retained.

Slurs & Ties

Slurs in Strozzi's scores normally connect only two notes, sometimes three, and rarely four or five. In seventeenth-century vocal scores slurs are most often intended to clarify word underlay where two or three notes are to be sung on one syllable, rather than as articulation markings. The movable type used by Magni and other Venetian printers did not allow accurate placement of slurs in many places, and markings are often printed to the left or right of their intended notes, sometimes making it unclear how many notes are meant to be included.

In this edition, slurs have been transcribed to represent the originals as closely as possible, but those who need more precise information will have to consult the original print. Slurs occur with great inconsistency, and repeated passages are frequently marked differently for no apparent reason, but no markings have been added where their omission might seem to have been an oversight.

Ties are also transcribed as in the original, except where measures in C mensuration are divided between two systems, resulting in the division of a whole note in the bass into tied half notes. These have been tacitly converted to whole notes, so that they may be differentiated from tied repeated half notes that are not at the end of a line, which may suggest articulation in the continuo.


Signs for the trillo (t.) are placed as in the original, sometimes directly over a note and sometimes between two notes (for examples, see facsimile of 7.04, Lagrime mie opening, p.34).

By mid-century the old-style trillo described by Caccini was going out of fashion in Italy, displaced by the two-note trill, but the occasional presence of written-out single-note trilli in Strozzi's scores shows that it was still used at least occasionally (see 7.14, Che v'ho fato, p.66, m.22 and 23).

Basso Continuo

Strozzi's prints include only a few basso continuo figures, and none have been added in this edition. Spellings of figures have been made to conform to normal modern practice in the use of sharp, flat, and natural signs (for example, compare 7.04, Lagrime mie, p.35, m.17 with facsimile on p.34). Most of the figures are placed above the bass staff in the original, usually not accurately aligned with the notes to which they apply, and in some cases are placed in front of their notes in the position of accidentals. All have been moved underneath their bass notes in this edition.

In the copy of Diporti di Euterpe preserved in the Biblioteca della musica di Bologna, inner voices have been written by hand in the continuo parts of two arias: 7.11, Basta così v'ho inteso, and 7.12, Sete pur fastidioso. In both cases the added part imitates or precedes a motive in the vocal line, making an appropriate addition to the musical texture (see facsimiles of the opening page of both arias, p.54). Such additions are common in Roman manuscripts of the period but rare in printed sources, probably because of typesetting limitations. Those in the Bologna copy of the print were written into the score with care, apparently by a seventeenth-century scribe, and thus have been included in this edition transcribed in small notes.

The Bologna copy also includes several corrections of notes and misspelled words in 7.01, Sino alla morte (see p.5, m.84, 85, 86). While no definite connection can be made between the manuscript additions and the composer's intentions, they appear to be the work of a well-informed scribe with an interest in making the volume as accurate as possible. A further circumstance, however, suggests that there may be such a connection for the inner voice additions. The first seven measures of the bass line of 7.12, Sete pur fastidioso are printed in tenor clef rather than the normal bass clef, even though the notes would sit squarely in the middle of the staff in bass clef, and are at the bottom of the staff in tenor clef (see facsimile p.54, and p.58. mm.1-5). The composer may have specified the opening tenor clef because she had in mind the inner voice additions, which would have been less conveniently notated in bass clef; otherwise the tenor clef opening would serve no purpose.

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