Gaffurius (also Gafurius, Gaffurio, Gafori, etc.), Franchinus (also Franchino)

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Gaffurius (also Gafurius, Gaffurio, Gafori, etc.), Franchinus (also Franchino)

Gaffurius (also Gafurius, Gaffurio, Gafori, etc.), Franchinus (also Franchino), important Italian music theorist and composer; b. Lodi, Jan. 14, 1451; d. Milan, June 25, 1522. He entered the Benedictine monastery of St. Peter in his youth, and also was a singer at Lodi Cathedral, where he studied mensural music with Johannes Bonadies (also known as Godendach). In 1474 he was ordained a secular priest. After living in Mantua and Verona, he was called by the Doge Prospero Adorno of Genoa in 1477 to work as a music teacher and composer. The two became friends, and following a major uprising in 1478, they fled together to the court in Naples, where Gaffurius was befriended by Tinctoris, Ycart, and Guarnerius. In 1480 he returned to Lodi as a teacher of the singers at the castle of Monticelli d’ Ongina. After serving as director of music at Bergamo Cathedral (1483–84), he was made maestro di cappella at Milan Cathedral in 1484, a position he held with great distinction until his death. He also was active at the court of Duke Lodovico Sforza, and taught music at the ducal school from 1492. In addition to his cathedral and court duties, Gaffurius composed and wrote his most significant treatises. His last years were marked by a controversy with Spataro. His sacred music, mainly masses and motets, display a mastery of the Franco-Netherlands and Italian styles. The MSS of these works, as well as those by other composers, are extant and are known as the Gaffurius Codices. His works have been ed. by A. Bortone, F. Fano, and L. Migliavacca in the Archivium musices metropolitantum mediolanense series (5 vols., Milan, 1958–60).


PUBL. Theoricum opus (Naples, 1480); Theorica musica (Milan, 1492; Eng. tr., 1993); Practica musicae (Milan, 1496; rev. ed., 1508, as Angelicum ac divinum opus musicae; Eng. tr., 1968); De harmonia musicorum instrumentorum opus (Milan, 1518); Apologia adversum loannem Spatarium (Turin, 1520); Epistula prima in solutiones obiectorum lo. Vaginarii Bononien. (Milan, 1521); Epistula secunda apologetica (Milan, 1521). MSS: Extractus parvus musicae (c. 1474; ed. by F. Gallo, Bologna, 1969); Tractatus brevis cantus plani (c. 1474); Theoriae musicae tractatus (c. 1479); Micrologus vulgaris cantus plani (c. 1482).


A. Cretta, L. Cremascoli, and L. Salamina, Francino Gaffurio (Lodi, 1951).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire