Giovanni Camillo Maffei

(fl. 1562-73)


Italian physician, singer and lutenist. In 1562 and 1573 he was living in Naples, where he served Giovanni di Capua, count of Altavilla and music-1over, in both his professional capacities. He dedicated a long letter to his employer (printed in 1562 with the rest of his correspondence) that amounts to a treatise on embellished song such as was then practiced by Italian singers. He appears to have been the first physiologist-musician and first examined vocal physiology before explaining his actual method of cantar di garganta, which he illustrated with numerous music examples. He concluded with some therapeutic advice. This work, which helps to resolve difficult and ever controversial problems of interpretation, remains an excellent guide for the singer wishing to learn how to sing the sort of passaggii that performers then improvised freely.

IVD: Social Music In Italy