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A setting for many voices of a secular text, often in Italian, dealing with themes of love. Composers of late Renaissance music and early Baroque music were particularly ingenious with "madrigalisms" -- passages in which the music assigned to a particular word expresses its meaning, for example, setting "riso" (smile) to a passage of quick, running notes which imitate laughter, or "sospiro" (sigh) to a note which falls to the note below. A second school of madrigal writing, highly influenced by the first, flourished slightly later in England. Madrigals were generally sung in the Middle Ages.

Composers of Italian madrigals

Composers of English madrigals

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