Harmonising the Soul: Singing Laude for the Devotional Ascent

Katherine Powers


This essay discusses the work of Dominican Fra Serafino Razzi (1531–1611) as an advocate for singing for the devotions. While historians recognize Razzi’s critical contribution to the lauda (devotional songs in Italian) in the publication of his Libro primo delle laudi spirituali of 1563, less known are Razzi’s ideas on the integration of singing within the devotional ascent, in particular, the intention of laude singing as preparation for the mystic visio dei. Razzi was among the ‘most illustrious Dominicans’ in sixteenth-century Italy: a learned theologian with a humanist education, a confessor and preacher with a pastoral approach, and a prolific published author, including sermons and devotional manuals. Music occupied him throughout his long, industrious life: Razzi wrote about music, collected laude, and created new laude via the contrafact process, compiling six books of laude. His ideas echo Augustine, Boethius, Aquinas, and mystic Johannes Tauler. Sources for the paper include Razzi’s devotional works, sermons, and annotations to various laude within his lauda collections.

Parole chiave

lauda (laude); Serafino Razzi; devotional music; devotional manuals; sermons

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15162/2240-760X/1869


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