Hyperion Records

Canzon noni toni a 8, C173
At first sight, the harmonies created by the 9th mode, with their many semitones, may seem similar to those of the ‘tearful’ 4th. But here the effect is sad and wistful rather than tragic, as Zarlino implies: the mode has ‘a pleasing severity, mixed with a certain cheerfulness, and soft sweetness’. This description seems apt for the conflicting tensions created by Gabrieli’s opening harmonies, with its three semitones (between the 5th and 6th, 3rd and 4th, and also 1st and flattened 2nd degrees of the scale). The tripla, heard twice, features sequential harmony whose hypnotic effect complements well the melancholy of the duple-time music. (Transposed down a 4th.)

from notes by Timothy Roberts 1997

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