- This article refers to the father of Galileo Galilei. For Galileo’s son of the same name, see Vincenzo Gamba.
Vincenzo Galilei (ca. 1520 – 2 July 1591) was an Italian lutenist, composer, and music theorist, and the father of the famous astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei and of the lute virtuoso and composer Michelagnolo Galilei. He was a seminal figure in the musical life of the late Renaissance, and contributed significantly to the musical revolution which demarcates the beginning of the Baroque era.
Vincenzo, in his study of pitch and string tension, produced perhaps the first non-linear mathematical description of a natural phenomenon known to history. This was an extension of a Pythagorean tradition, but went beyond it. Many scholars credit him with directing the activity of his son away from pure, abstract mathematics and towards experimentation using mathematical quantitative description of the results – a direction which was of utmost importance for the history of physics, and natural science in general.