noun \ˈma-dri-gəl\

: a type of song for several singers without instruments that was popular in the 16th and 17th centuries

Full Definition of MADRIGAL

:  a medieval short lyrical poem in a strict poetic form
a :  a complex polyphonic unaccompanied vocal piece on a secular text developed especially in the 16th and 17th centuries
b :  part-song; especially :  glee
mad·ri·gal·ian \ˌma-drə-ˈga-lē-ən, -ˈgā-\ adjective
mad·ri·gal·ist \ˈma-dri-gə-list\ noun

Origin of MADRIGAL

Italian madrigale, probably from Medieval Latin matricale, from neuter of *matricalis simple, from Late Latin, of the womb, from Latin matric-, matrix womb, from mater mother
First Known Use: 1588

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, obbligato, presto, presto, refrain, riff, segue


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Form of vocal chamber music, usually polyphonic and unaccompanied, of the 16th–17th centuries. It originated and developed in Italy, under the influence of the French chanson and the Italian frottola. Usually written for three to six voices, madrigals came to be sung widely as a social activity by cultivated amateurs, male and female. The texts were almost always about love; most prominent among the poets whose works were set to music are Petrarch, Torquato Tasso, and Battista Guarini. In Italy, Orlande de Lassus, Luca Marenzio, Don Carlo Gesualdo, and Claudio Monteverdi were among the greatest of the madrigalists; Thomas Morley, Thomas Weelkes, and John Wilbye created a distinguished body of English madrigals.


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