The “Tricks of the Trade”: Working with Adriano Banchieri’s L'Organo Suonarino

Edoardo Bellotti

Tuesday, June 21, 10:30 AM

Adriano Banchieri (1568 – 1634) was one of the most influential Italian composers and theorists of his time, and published a large number of important texts on the theory and practice of music. Although l’Organo Suonarino (1605) is cited extensively in the scholarly literature on organ and liturgical practice in the 17th century – and has been the subject of several dissertations – the lack of a modern critical edition has prevented the knowledge and the practical use of this source of considerable historical and pedagogical importance. The new critical edition I published seeks to bring this remarkable book to a wider musical community. The original Italian text has been completely translated into English. Here we find not only an incredible amount of information about liturgical practice and organ playing in the early 17th century, together with a large collection of versetti and of pieces for the Catholic service, but also a powerful teaching tool delivering the “tricks of the trade” for the organist: how to accompany the plainchant, improvise verses and compose pieces with all the skills of the art of counterpoint.

Banchieri's book is aimed at beginners and experts alike, and presents a foolproof method to develop improvisation, extremely useful today. In the workshop I will explain the use of this book actively involving the participants: I will demonstrate the various possibilities of realizing the music examples and invite participants to try some of these techniques during the session.

Edoardo Bellottiis Associate Professor of Organ, Harpsichord and Improvisation at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. Internationally renown organist and harpsichordist, he has been invited to perform at major festivals in Europe, USA, Canada, Japan and Korea, and made more than 30 recordings on historical instruments, which obtained critical acclaim. He has given seminars and master classes all over the world and published articles, essays and critical editions of organ music.