Quote of the Day

The following was written in a madrigal in the 14th Century by Jacopo da Bologna.


Uselletto selvaggio per stagione

Dolci versetti canta con bel modo.

Tale che grida forte chi non lodo:

Per gridar forte non si canta bene

Ma con soave et dolce melodia

Si fa bel canto e cia vuol maestria.

Pochi l’hanno et tutti si fan maestri,

Fan ballate madriali e motteti;

Tutti infioran Filipi e Marchetti.

Si è piena la terra di maestroli

Che poco píù non trovano discepoli.


Wild birds in season sing

Sweet verses in good style.

Such as shout aloud I do not praise:

For shouting loudly is not singing well

But with suave and sweet melody

One makes bel canto and shows mastery.

Few have it and many make themselves masters,

They make ballads, madrigals and motets;

Everyone tries to outdo Filipo [de Vitry] and Marchetto [da Padua].

The world is so full of puffed-up masters,

That very few find disciples.

2 thoughts on “Quote of the Day

  1. Re: “Ma con soave et dolce melodia Si fa bel canto …” I *think* in this case (as part of the Italian verse) the translation would be ” … one makes [a] beautiful song” or ‘ … is made [a] beautiful song’ – or even ‘beautiful singing’ – the actual literal translation of ‘bel canto’, not necessarily the style of singing or opera genre. 😊

    1. Agreed. The words ‘bel canto’ have actually existed since the time of Dante. I’m sharing a post in several days on the exact ‘lure’ of this term in voice training. Stay tuned!

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