Italian secular song popular in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Usually the frottola was a composition for four voice parts with the melody in the top line. Frottole could be performed by unaccompanied voices or by a solo voice with instrumental accompaniment. The frottola had chordal texture and clear-cut rhythm, usually in 34 or 44 metre. The voice parts had narrow ranges and frequently repeated voices. Its musical style was simple, in deliberate contrast to the complexity of more sophisticated vocal music of the period. The frottola, as it developed by 1530, was the direct antecedent of the 16th-century madrigal.
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