logo website

Vincenzo Capirola (1474 - 1548)

Ricercar I and XIII

for renaissance-lute

edition for guitar by Oriol Espinal

Born in Brescia in 1474 into a noble family, Vincenzo Capirola was a renowned composer and lute player. His music was preserved in a manuscript thanks to a disciple of his called Vidal, who, driven by the purpose of ensuring the posterity of the work of his master, not only wrote the tablature of his pieces for lute, but also ordered that they be decorated with beautiful marginal drawings, perhaps thinking that the beauty of the images would make it easier for future generations to consider it an object worthy of being preserved. Dated around 1517, the so-called Capirola Lute Book is today considered one of the most important sources of lute music in the early 16th century. In its pages Vidal had the wisdom to include valuable technical instructions and indications of musical dynamics, the oldest known to date.

The Vincenzo Capirola Lutebook

compiled by Vitale in 1520

The Newberry Library

Newberry VAULT Case MS minus VM 140 .C25

me:mo #episode 20

  • The Vincenzo Capirola lute manuscript.
  • Methods of preserving music for eternity.
  • The first »piano« sign and ornament indications in music history.
  • What Renaissance men thought of music from the 70s.
  • About illuminated manuscripts.


Vincenzo Capirola

Ricercar XIII

played on the guitar by Oriol Espinal (1999 home recording )

Vincenzo Capirola

Ricercar I

played on the lute by Federico Marincola