ETYM Italian madrigale, OIt. madriale, mandriale (cf. Late Lat. matriale); of uncertain origin, possibly from It mandra flock, Latin mandra stall, herd of cattle, Greek mandra fold, stable; hence, madrigal, originally, a pastoral song.
An unaccompanied partsong for 2 or 3 voices; follows a strict poetic form.
Unaccompanied polyphonic part song, in five or six parts.
Form of secular song in four or five parts, usually sung without instrumental accompaniment. It originated in 14th-century Italy. Madrigal composers include Andrea Gabrieli, Monteverdi, Thomas Morley, and Orlando Gibbons.