GABRIELI Canzona per Sonare No. 2

Renaissance Art


Giovanni Gabrieli (1554 – Aug 1612)

Composed In



3 minutes


Brass Ensemble (Trumpets, French Horns, Trombones, Tubas)


Italian composer Giovanni Gabrieli was among the most important composers and musicians in bridging the shift from the Baroque to Renaissance period. Gabrieli’s Canzona per Sonare No.2 is one of four canzoni (pieces composed for various instrumentation) included in Canzona per Sonare (songs to play), a collection of works by different composers.


About the Composition

Canzona per Sonare was one of the earliest pieces intended for performance specifically by instruments rather than voices. The piece helped to pave way for what would be soon known as the Baroque concerto style or concerto grosso. One thing worth noting is that the antiphonal technique, where a phrase played by one group of instruments on one end would be answered by the group on the other end, was widely used by Gabrieli, making full use of the acoustics of the church, for which these pieces were mostly played.


Fun Facts about the Composer

  • One of the first composers who specified dynamics and instrumentation in music
  • Composed mostly church and sacred music
  • Experimented with acoustics and sounds, a truly “surround sound” experience
  • Advocated for the prestigious Vatican School of Music
  • Died in 1612 due to kidney stone complications

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