In the Italian 'dramma per musica' 1600-40, the basic means of producing melodic contour was the recitative. It comprised about eighty percent of the musical course of the composition. From the beginning of the genre's existence, composers had been introducing fragments consisting of a few bars which, being contradictory to the premises of the genre of recitative, disturbed its course. In musicological literature such fragments are sometimes called 'arioso', although one does not encounter such a description used as a term in the Italian 'dramma per musica' in the seventeenth century. However, those fragments which disturb the course of the recitative contribute towards the formation of features of the future arioso. Additionally, they result in an enrichment of the effects of the musical language of comic heroes. The process comes to be initiated in the period under discussion. The present article (which is a fragment of a book in preparation about the beginnings of 'dramma per musica' in Italy) presents its features on the basis of a number of examples. The disturbances in the course of the recitative are not motivated by purely musical considerations and introduced in freely chosen fragments, but in places where this is justified by the dramatic action. Their melodics is often little different from the recitative proper (frequent repetitions of a sound); in consecutive decades they become more differentiated. In general they are treated syllabically, but both little grazie and gradually increasingly expanded coloraturas are being introduced. Repetition of words not required by the rhetoric but on purely musical grounds becomes admissible. At times melodics is linked with triple metre or mobile basso continuo. This last is treated in two ways; at the beginning of the century it moves in longer values, not being very different from the basso continuo of the recitative. However, more typical here is the mobile basso continuo, differentiated both in terms of rhythm and melody. Going beyond the norms of the recitative, the metre in the fragments under discussion may be both duple and triple. In the latter case, the basso continuo may rhythmically double the vocal part
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