Definition and background:
A secular song that was popular in Italy in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and direct predecessor of the madrigal. The term frottola (plural frottole) can be considered a generic term with several distinct versions. The most typical frottola is a composition for three or four voices with the highest voice containing the melody. The number of voices increased at the end of its popularity and could be performed by unaccompanied voices or by a solo voice with instrumental accompaniment. The text comes from poetry with the poetic forms possibly coming from the 14th century ballata. Although there is a wide range of variations of the frottola, a typical rhyme scheme was abba for the refrain and cdcdda or cdcddeea for the stanza. Some of the versions of frottola included villanella, villotta, strambotto and barzelletta.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary