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Gioseffe Zarlino

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Italian musical theorist, born at Chioggia in 1517; died at Venice, 4 February, 1590. He studies for the Church and was ordained deacon in 1541, but became so devoted to music that he placed himself under the direction of Willaert at Venice. In 1564 he was elected successor to di Rore as first maestro di cappella at St. Mark's, Venice, a position he held till his death. One of his earliest compositions was an ode for the victory of Lepanto, 7 October, 1571. Between the years 1566 and 1578 he composed seven masses and madrigals. In 1582 he was made a canon of Chioggia, and in the following year was elected bishop of that see, but declined the honour. He was buried in San Lorenzo, Venice, and, though his monument has disappeared, his bust is in the doge's palace. A medal was struck in his honour while still alive. His principal title to fame is his work as a musical theorist. He published three remarkable treatises at Venice, between the years 1558 and 1589. He only admitted twelve modes, beginning with the Ionian, thus practically laying the foundation of our present major and minor scales. His theories were disputed by his pupil, Galilei; Zarlino was, however, right. He suggested the division of the octave into twelve semitones, and also equal temperament for keyed instruments.

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