Most of this scholarly volume is for musicologists and keyboard performers only: analysis of Frescobaldi's extant works--stressing his parallel development in two opposing traditions (abstract contrapuntalism, the toccata/song/dance forms) and his blending, in all genres, of Renaissance counterpoint with Baroque keyboard virtuosity; discussion of performance practice and interpretation; close-up examination of period harpsichords and organs; and an exhaustive catalogue of works. But Prof. Hammond (Music, UCLA) begins with a brief chronicle of Frescobaldi's career that, though highly specialized and necessarily sketchy in biographical texture, should interest devotees of early music and students of late-Renaissance cultural history. Hammond follows the keyboard virtuoso from his native Ferrara, just falling from its artistic peak circa 1600, to Rome--which, via an aggressive papacy, was on the cultural rise. As Frescobaldi finds his niche as one of the resident organists at St. Peter's, Hammond touches on the musical patronage-system in Rome and the rather backward state of the church's musical repertory (""still built around Palestrina"" as late as 1616). And, in later years, Frescobaldi--who seems to have been an unstable, insecure, somewhat avaricious character--is seen during ill-fated moves to Mantua and Florence (with discussion of those cities' musical traditions). . . before his final decade back in Rome, attached to the household of of the papacy-controlling Barberinis. An academic, special-interest study, then, but not without sidelights (stylishly delivered) for non-academic readers.