Meet the Composer: Claudio Monteverdi

CN thumbnail Claudio Monteverdi

Age Range: Elementary

Introduction: Composers write music, just like authors write books. In the Class Notes “Meet the Composer” series, we will learn a little bit about the achievements, backstory, and influences of a variety of composers. Get ready to learn about these influential composers and listen to some of their music.

Free Download: Printable Lesson Plan and Visual Aids: Claudio Monteverdi


Claudio Monteverdi was born in 1567 in Italy. Not much is known about Monteverdi’s early musical training, but he published his first work at the age of 15 years old.  

During that time in Europe, professional musicians usually wrote music for the courts or the churches. Monteverdi wrote music for both settings. Monteverdi was also a key figure in the development of opera, an art form that took shape during that time. His opera L’Orfeo is the earliest opera to still be regularly performed.  

In addition to composing, he also conducted choirs and was known as a skilled string player. He died in 1643 at the age of 76.


  1. Claudio Monteverdi wrote a lot of vocal music, including several motets. A motet is a piece of vocal music, usually written for church or worship. As you listen, notice the overlapping melodies of each voice part.  

  2. L’Orfeo was a famous opera composed by Claudio Monteverdi. The opera begins with percussion and a brass fanfare. Notice that the melody moves from the brass to strings and other instruments.

  3. There are some instruments that were popular during Monteverdi’s life that we don’t see much anymore. This next piece features one of those instruments- called the theorbo. As you listen and watch, think of what instruments might be related to the theorbo.


  1. Claudio Monteverdi wrote a lot of vocal music. Learn or review the different types of singing voices in the What are VOICE TYPES? lesson.  

  2. Claudio Monteverdi played an important role in developing opera, a type of music introduced in our What is OPERA? Part One lesson. 

  3. Older students might enjoy this short episode of YourClassical’s Composers Datebook episode featuring Claudio Monteverdi. 

Related Lesson Plans

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