The Musical Reception of Torquato Tasso's “Rime,” 1572-1620


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Collectively known as “Rime,” Torquato Tasso's lyric poems enjoyed a remarkable musical fortune in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Indeed, they received more than 500 settings by composers operating in varied contexts, ranging from Sicily to Central Europe. By focusing on selected case studies, this dissertation shows that the musical fortune of the “Rime” originated from a complex interplay of cultural, political, and market forces, which varied from decade to decade and from region to region. Furthermore, it illustrates how composers reacted musically to the “Rime,” tracing influences and differences between compositional personalities and schools. In so doing, this project sheds light on Tasso's impact on the musical environment and offers a multifaceted examination of the relationship between poetry and music in the early modern period.