Wednesday, January 7, 8325

Gherardello da Firenze (c. 1325-1363) - Caccia

Gherardello da Firenze (also Niccolò di Francesco) (c. 1320-1325 c. Florence - 1362 or 1363) was a member of a compositional family, which included both his brother Jacopo and his son Giovanni.

In 1343 he appears in the records of the cathedral of Florence, Santa Reparata (this was before the building of the main cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore) as a clerk. Later he became a priest, and then served as chaplainfrom 1345 until 1351 — during the years of the Black Death.

Although renowned for his sacred music, little of it has survived beyond A Gloria and an Agnus Dei, in a style similar to Gherardello's exclusively two-voiced madrigals, with their occasional call-and-response.

The secular tally is

10 Madrigals,

5 single-voiced Ballatas,

and the very famous three-part Caccia, Tosto Che l'Alba (Soon as the Dawn),

with its upper two canonic "chasing" voices and freely-composed longer-note instrumental bass.

Probably around 1351 he joined a Benedictine order with an abbey about 30 km from the city. His death date is inferred from a sonnet (1362 or 1363), probably by Simone Peruzzi, mourning his passing, which occurred in Florence.

Most of Gherardello's surviving music is in the 1400's Squarcialupi Codex (which features a portrait of every featured composer) although several Tuscan manuscripts include his works.


Caccia (Italian: “hunt” or “chase”), one of the principal Italian musical forms of the 14th century. It consisted of two voices in strict canon at the unison (i.e., in strict melodic imitation at the same pitch), and often of a non-canonic third part, composed of long notes that underlay the canonic voices, followed by a ritornello. Caccia texts were typically realistic, animated scenes such as literal hunts.

[8325 Landini / 8325 Gherardello da Firenze / 8325 Jacopo da Bologna]