GIOSEFFO ZARLINO (1517-1540), Italian musical theorist, surnamed from his birthplace Zarlinus Clodiensis, was born at Chioggia, Venetia, in 1517 (not 1540, as Burney and Hawkins say).
Willaert, dying in 1562, was succeeded by Cipriano di Rore, on whose removal to Parma in 1565 Zarlino was elected choirmaster.
Cf France passed through Venice on his return from Poland in 1574, Zarlino directed on board the "Bucentaur" the performance of an ode for which he himself had composed the music, to verses supplied by Rocco Benedetti and Cornelio Frangipani.
Finally, in a complete edition of his works published shortly before his death Zarlino reprinted these three treatises, accompanied by a Tract on Patience, a Discourse on the True date of the Crucifixion of Our Lord, an essay on The Origin of the Capuchins, and the Resolution of Some Doubts Concerning the Correction of the Julian Calendar (Venice, 1589).'
Of the Institutioni Zarlino boldly attacks the false system of tonality to which the proportions of the Pythagorean tetrachord, if strictly carried out in practice, must inevitably lead.
The point at issue was, that neither in the polyphonic school, in which Zarlino was educated, nor in the later monodic school, of which his recalcitrant pupil, Vincenzo Galilei, was the most redoubtable champion, could those proportions be tolerated in practice, however attractive they might be to the theorist in their mathematical aspect.
But Zarlino uncompromisingly declared that the syntonous or intense diatonic scale was the only form that could reasonably be sung; and in proof of its perfection he exhibited the exact arrangement of its various diatonic intervals, to the fifth inclusive, in every part of the diapason or octave.
To meet this exigency, Zarlino proposed that for the lute the octave should be divided into twelve equal semitones; and after centuries of discussion this system of "equal temperament" has, within the last thirty-five years, been universally adopted as the best attainable for keyed instruments of every description.3 Again, Zarlino was in advance of his age in his classification of the ecclesiastical modes.
Zarlino thought differently and made it the first mode, changing all the others to accord with it.
31 Discorso Intorno alle Opere di Messer Gioseffe Zarlino, and followed it up in his famous Dialogo, defending the Pythagorean system in very unmeasured language.
It was in answer to these strictures that Zarlino published his Sopplementi.