Alessandro Piccinini

Alessandro Piccinini


• 1566 c.1638


Alessandro Piccinini was a lutenist and composer who came from a family of lute players. His father, his two brothers, and his son all played the lute. Note that the Piccinini family lived in the late Renaissance, that the Piccinini family were Italian and French Baroque- and Classical-era opera composers, and that the Puccini family were Italian musicians who flourished from the Classical era into the twentieth century and culminated in the great opera composer Giacomo Puccini.

Alessandro became famous enough that Guglielmo Gonzaga asked him to come to the court of Mantua when he was 16, but he stayed with his family because his father had made commitments to Duke Alfonso II at the Este court in Ferrara.

Duke Alfonso died in October, 1597. At that time he went into the service of the papal legate in Bologna and Ferrara, Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini. He was a member of the Accademia dei Filomusici of Bologna.

He published two volumes of lute music which show him to be a composer of talents greater than those of the usual performer/composer. His melodies are distinctive and inventive, and his rhythms are supple and varied.

In addition, the first of his volumes contains a lengthy prelude in which he discusses modifications he made to the chitarrone, and certain aspects of playing technique and ornamentation.