Vittoria Aleotti: Notes and Commentary

Vittoria Aleotti is believed to be the same as Raffaella Aleotti, an Italian Augustinian nun, composer, and organist. She was born in Ferrara to the prominent architect Giovanni Battista Aleotti, and was mentioned in his will, written in 1631. According to her father, Vittoria became interested in music after listening to her older sister being taught music. Within a year, Vittoria had mastered instruments, mainly the harpsichord, and voice so well that she was sent to train with Alessandro Milleville and Ercole Pasquini. At the age of 6 or 7, after working with Pasquini, it was suggested that Vittoria be sent to Ferrara’s San Vito, a convent famous for fostering musical talents. By the age of 14, Vittoria chose to enter the convent and dedicate her life to service. Raffaella was renowned for her skills at the organ and also well known in playing other instruments such as the harpsichord, the trombone, and other wind instruments. She was relentlessly praised by Ercole Bottrigari as having the talent and the skills to lead an ensemble of twenty-three nuns; she was also the Maestra at the convent until her death. Raffaella enjoyed complex music and would often use harmony and dissonance to heighten the text. However, she was at times criticized because some thought that as the music became more complex by using more voices, the holiness of the music disappeared and gave way to pleasure. She lived from c. 1575 to sometime after 1620.—Excerpted from Wikipedia
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