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The Monodie (from ancient Greek μόνος monos , German , alone, only ' and ὠδή ode , song', ie "single song") is a 1600 arisen in Italy new kind of music - nuove musiche , seconda pratica , the solo singing with chordal instrumental accompaniment means . Monodia was the name of a poem or solo song performed singing by the Greeks, in which the speaker accompanied himself with a plucked instrument ( kithara , lyre , lyre ).


According to Thrasybulos Georgiades , the word monody appears for the first time in ancient Greek literature in Aristophanes ' comedy The Frogs , where it means "solo song of the actors ". From verse 1325 onwards, Aeschylus said to Euripides :

"And now I want to sing your monody way."

Monodies were sung by the Greeks, for example, as lamentations for the dead in tragedies .

In Italy, the stile recitativo , a narrative song, the result of practical experiments and theoretical discussions of the Florentine Camerata about the practical execution of the ancient Greek monody , was formed in the late late Renaissance . The newly created genre of opera mainly benefited from this .

Florentine Camerata

The monody as an instrumental accompaniment (for example by plucked instruments) was the result of music-theoretical discussions of the artist and philosopher group Florentine Camerata , who dealt with the revival of Greek music. The principle of monody successfully competed with the polyphonic contrapuntal singing ( prima pratica ), which had become more and more complex . In addition to the formal aspects, the biggest innovation was that the singing made text comprehensibility and the sense of the text the main thing. This was accompanied by the compositional design of moods, the so-called affects and "images", in short the close interlinking between text and music. The singing voice follows the rhythm of the language , the flow of the melody follows the parts of the sentence, and words that are meaningful in terms of content often correspond to key points of the beat . The musical theory of figures developed with musical phrases and phrases that had an effect on the understanding of harmony in music, for example the use of dissonances . This concept had a lasting influence on the European musical language. This was done by unanimous final turns, which were regularly summarized in the cadence to form polyphonic ones.

Monodic pieces of music were initially only accompanied by the figured bass and were formally completely unbound. Different strands of the development of monody led to more specialized and partly orchestral forms such as recitative and aria and their larger compositions such as opera , oratorio and cantata .


  • Rudolf Flotzinger : Monody. In: Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon . Online edition, Vienna 2002 ff., ISBN 3-7001-3077-5 ; Print edition: Volume 3, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-7001-3045-7 .
  • Thrasybulos Georgiades : Music and Rhythm among the Greeks . To the origin of occidental music. Reinbek near Hamburg: Rowohlt 1958, rowohlts deutsche enzyklopädie, 61.
  • Michael Schneider: Basic knowledge of baroque music. Vol. 2: The baroque opera. Aspects of Approach . (Didactic series of publications by the Institute for Historical Interpretation Practice at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts). ConBrio Verlagsgesellschaft Regensburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-940768-25-4 , CB 1225.

See also


  1. Trasybulos Georgiades: Music and rhythm among the Greeks. To the origin of occidental music . Rowohlt Hamburg 1958, p. 86 ( Rowohlt's German Encyclopedia ).
  2. Cf. Nina Treadwell: Guitar Alfabeto in Italian Monody: The Publications of Alessandro Vincenti. In: The Lute. No. 33, 1993, pp. 12-22.
  3. See also James Tyler: The Role of the Guitar in the Rise of Monody: The Earliest Manuscripts. In: Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music. Volume 9, No. 1, 2004. Online: ( example from the 16th century ).
  4. Lars Ullrich Abraham, Homophonic Harmony.