Recreating Palestrina


My bass part for Palestrina’s Exultate Deo

On a wild hair today, I decided to try to create my own version of the bass part of Palestrina’s Exultate Deo (1584), emulating the style of the part books of Monteverdi’s second book of madrigals (1607), which are available on IMSLP. The printer of those part books, Ricciardo Amadino, used a clear, easy-to-learn style for his notation. One of the first things one will notice when looking at the above part is that there are no bar lines marked, which means that rehearsing the piece with no measure numbers to go by might be difficult. In any case, reading from parts like this for music that was first published like this helps me to think of this music the way it was conceived at that time. It is strangely liberating to get rid of the bar lines in this sort of music—text stress becomes a bit easier to execute.

For this short project, I used Adobe Illustrator, and the initial E is from a free ornate initials font. I used Minion Pro, and opted for the long s’s of Amadino’s part books.