Music from bestiary of Italian Renaissance
Jacob Burckhardt, in his wonderful book, “Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien“, cites a description of “a great lord who, as part of his wealth, possessed horses, dogs, mules, falcons and other birds, as well as jesters, singers and wild beasts”. In this light, it does not seem out of place to imagine that a certain repertoire of frottolas (the musical genre typical of the renaissance court of this period) might have treated animal figures as cult objects. Deer, dogs, horses, salamanders, pelicans, wolves, bears and many other animals populated the texts of frottolas, canzonas, barzellette and canti carnascialeschi. These figures were employed to describe allegorically a situation or a state of mind, to provide a proverbial or moral message or, much more joyously, as a call to play and festivities.