Usually, a vocal piece based on a mournful text, often built over a descending tetrachord ostinato (see ground, 2) and common in cantatas and operas of the baroque period. Originating in ancient greek drama and further developed in latin poetry, the lament topos enjoyed a privileged status in european literature. Set apart as an exceptional moment of emotional climax or particularly intense expression, it provided an occasion for special formal development and for the display of expressive rhetoric and of affective imagery. Laments were most often associated with female characters and the female voice. Madrigals designated lamento" appeared occasionally during the 16th century; stefano rossetto"s lamento di. Nard "s lamento di fiordeligi (1571), for example, each set appropriately dramatic stanzas from ariosto"s orlando furioso. The genre assumed musical importance around the turn of the 17th century as a focus of the theoretical justifications of the new monodic style.