Gaffurius, Franchinus

, an eminent musical writer, a native of Lodi, born Jan. 14, 1451, of obscure parents, was first intended for priest’s orders, but after studying music for two years under John Goodenach, a carmelite, he manifested so much genius for that science, that it was thought expedient to make it his profession. After learning the rudiments of music at Lodi, he went to Mantua, where he was patronized by the marquis Lodovico Gonzago; and where, during two years, he pursued his studies with unwearied assiduity night and day, and acquired great reputation, both in the speculative and practical part of his profession. From this city he went to Verona, | where he read public lectures on music for two years more, and published several works; after which he removed to Genoa, whither he was invited by the doge Prospero; there he entered into priest’s orders. From Genoa he was invited to Milan by the duke and duchess Galeazzo, but they being soon after expelled that city, he returned to Naples, where Philip of Bologna, professor- royal, received him as his colleague; and he became so eminent in the theory of music, that he was thought superior to many celebrated and learned musicians, his contemporaries, with whom he now conversed and disputed. He there published his profound <“Treatise on the Theory of Harmony,1480 which was afterwards enlarged and re- published at Milan, 1492; but the plague raging in Naples, and that kingdom being likewise much incommoded by a war with the Turks, he retreated to Otranto, whence, after a short residence, he returned to Lodi, where he was protected and favoured by Pallavicino, the bishop, and opened a public school, in which, during three years, he formed many excellent scholars. He was offered great encouragement at Bergamo, if he would settle there; but the war being over, and the duke of Milan, his old patron, restored, he preferred the residence of that city to any others It was here that he composed and polished most of his works; that he was caressed by the first persons of his time for rank and learning; and that he read lectures by public authority to crowded audiences, for which he had a faculty granted him by the archbishop and chief magistrates of the city in 1483, which exalted him far above all his contemporaries; and how much he improved the science by his instructions, his lectures, and his writings, was testified by the approbation of the whole city; to which may be added the many disciples he formed, and the almost infinite number of volumes he wrote, among which several will live as long as music and the Latin tongue are understood. He likewise first collected, revised, commented, and translated into Latin the ancient Greek writers on music, Bacchius senior, Aristides, Quintilianus, Ptolemy’s Harmonics, and Manuel Briennius. The works which he published are, 1. “Theoricum Opus Harmonicae Disciplinse,” mentioned above, Neapolis, 1480, Milan, 1492. This was the first book on the subject of music that issued from the press after the invention of printing, if we except the “| Deftnitiones Term. Musicae,” of John Tinctor. 2. “Practica Musicse utriusque Cantus,Milan, 1496; Brescia, 1497, 1502; and Venice, 1512. 3. “Angelicum ac Divinum Opus Musicae Materna Lingua Scrip.Milan, 1508. 4. “De Harmonica Musicor. Instrumentorum,Milan, 1518. This work, we are told by Pantaleoue Melegulo, his countryman and biographer, was written when Gaffurius was forty years of age; and though the subject is dark and difficult, it was absolutely necessary for understanding the ancient authors. With these abilities, however, Gaft’urius did not escape the superstitions of his time. He was not only addicted to astrology, but taught that art at Padua, in 1522. He was then seventy-one years of age, and is supposed to have died soon after, although Dr. Burney fixes his death two years before. 1


By Dr. Burney, in his Hist of Music, and in Rees’s Cyclopædia. —Tiraboschi. Ginguene Hist. Lit. d’Italie.