Charles Burney

The Present State of Music in France and Italy (2nd, corrected edition)

London: T. Becket and Co., 1773


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This city has been longer in possession
of music, if the poets and historians may
be credited, than any other in Europe.
Dante, who was a Florentine, born in
1265, speaks of the organ and lute as
instruments well known in his time;
and has taken an opportunity to celebrate
the talents of his friend Casella, the
musician, in the second canto of his

The historian Villani, cotemporary
with Petrarca, says that his canzoni were
universally sung in Florence, by the old
and the young of both sexes. And his-
torians relate that Lorenzo il Magnifico, in
Carnival time, used to go out in the even-
ing, followed by a numerous company
of persons on horseback, masked, and
richly dressed, amounting sometimes to
upwards of three hundred; and the same
number on foot, with wax tapers burn-
ing in their hands. In this manner