This study explores music's place in the cultural, artistic and literary life of medieval Italian courts, paying particular attention to the influence of French culture on Italian artistic and musical traditions. In the first of three essays, Gallo examines the troubadours who travelled to northern Italian courts from Provence during the 13th century. He discusses their performance practices, the verbal and musical sophistication of their songs and their role in the daily life of courtiers at Genoa, Ferrara and Monferrato. The second essay concerns the now dispersed collection of the Visconti library at Pavia. Here, Gallo examines how this collection expressed the tastes of the 14th-century court of Giangaleazzo Visconti, how French arts were imported and imitated at Pavia, and the effects this had on music heard at the court. In the final essay, Gallo looks at the 15th-century tradition of improvized music, and especially the virtuoso lute player Pietrobono. Mythologized in literary circles of his day, Pietrobono becomes a point of departure for a discussion of the entire vision of music of Italian humanists, from Guarino Veronese to Aurelio Brandolini.