A very important figure in the history of music Gaffurius was born a member of the nobility and was accordingly afforded the opportunity of traveling to and working in such diverse places as Mantua, Verona, Genoa, Naples and Lodi where he was born. His travels were not just prompted by his station but also by his reputation for theoretical and compositional skills. Apparently he also maintained good company with friends like Leonardo da Vinci and musicians like Martini and Weerbeke. Gaffurius wrote a number of theoretical treatises of great historical import. These works were his "Theorica Musica," "Practica musica," and "De harmonia musicorum instrumentorum opus." In the telos of these discourses he offered a complete course of study concerning plainsong, mensural music, Ambrosian and Gregorian rlationships, and an historical approach to the development of measured techniques beginning with the Greeks. His music and theory demonstrate considerations for proportion, Boethian and Pythagorean principles in melody and harmonies, a penchant toward both the Ambrosian style and the Gregorian style, and an understanding of their mutual relationships. (One of his masses, "Missa montana," included only the Gloria, Credo, and Sanctus.) The body of his compositions can be characterized by their smooth strains, keen insight into counter point and vertical harmonies. Gaffurius was the first known theoretician to discuss temperament in tuning. He composed masses, magnificats, mass movements, motets, hymns and madrigals.
Franchinus Gaffurius Biography
by Keith Johnson