The persistence of the modes in the seventeenth century, their significance in Baroque-era musical thought, and the impact of modal theory on composition are all exemplified in the work of Giovanni Maria Bononcini (1642––78), violinist, maestro di cappella, and energetic proponent of twelve-mode theory. He sought to incorporate modal technique in an unprecedented array of musical styles, and the realization of his modal principles in his duos, madrigals, and sonatas——motivated in part by professional circumstances and by the interests of his patrons——represents the most detailed demonstration of the modes in his time. As applied in his compositions, Bononcini's modal theory proves to be less a system of tonal organization than a musical symbol——of erudition, history, and Catholic tradition——whose meanings he could shape.
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