Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/308

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292

��VIOLIN-PLAYING.

��Whether Tartini himself did anything to perfect the bow, we are not aware, but the fact that old writers on musical matters frequently speak of ' Tartini's bow,' seems to point that way. At any rate, we know that in his time the bow gained considerably in elasticity, and in some letters and other writings of Tartini's we have direct evidence that he made a more systematic study of bowing than any one before him. The task of the violinist's left hand is a purely mechanical one : all power of expression rests with the bow. If we consider the character of Tartini's compositions, we cannot but see what great and new claims on expression, and conse- quently on bowing, are made in them. That these claims were fulfilled by Tartini iu an extraordinary degree, is the unanimous opinion cf his contemporaries : in the production of a fine tone in all its gradations, as well as in perfect management of a great variety of bowing, he had no rival. As regards the technique of the left hand he excelled particularly in the execution of shakes and double-shakes, than which there is no better test for those fundamental conditions of all execution, firmness and lightness of finger- movement. At the same time, to judge from his compositions, his technique was limited even in comparison to that of some of his contempo- raries he does not exceed the 3rd position, his double-stops are on the whole simple and easy. He appears to have adhered to the holding of the violin on the right side of the string-holder, a method which was a barrier to further develop- ment of the technique of the left hand. With him the exclusive classical Italian school of vio- lin-playing reached its culminating point, and the pupils of Corelli and Tartini form the connecting links between that school and the schools of France and Germany. In this respect the Piedmontese SOMIS (about 1700-1763) must be considered the most important of Corelli's pupils. We do not know much of him as a player or composer, but as the teacher of GIAB- DINI (1716-1796), and of PUGNANI (1727-1803), the teacher of VIOTTI (1753-1824), his influence reaches down to Spohr and our own days. The most brilliant representatives of Italian violin- playing after Tartini were GEMINIANI and NAB- DINI. [Seevol.i.p.587;vol.ii.p.446.] The former was a pupil of Corelli, the latter of Tartini. Their style is decidedly more modern and more brilliant than that of their great master's. Nardini's influ- ence in Germany where he passed many years contributed much towards the progress of violin- playing in that country. Geminiani (i 680-1 761 ), who for a long time resided in London, was the first to publish a Violin-School of any import- ance. Compared with that of Leopold Mozart (see vol. ii. p. 379), which appeared a few years later, and on the whole is a work of much higher merit, Geminiani's ' school ' shows an advance in some important points of technique. Here for the first time the holding of the violin on the left side of the string-holder is recommended an innovation of the greatest importance, by which alone the high development of modern

��VIOLIN-PLAYING.

technique was made possible. He goes up to the 7th position. As affording the only direct evidence of Corelli's method and principles (which in all main respects have remained ever since the basis of all legitimate and correct treatment of the instrument), Geminiani's book is still of the greatest interest. In LOCATELLI (1693-1764), another pupil of Tartini, a curious instance is afforded, how, in spite of the strongest school- influence, a powerful individuality will now and then, for better or worse, strike out a path for itself. While some of Locatelli's compositions afford clear evidence of his sound musicianship and genuine musical feeling, he shows himself in others, especially in a set of Caprices, to have been, to say the least, an experimentalist of the boldest type. In overstepping to an astonishing degree the natural resources and limits of the instrument, these caprices afford one of the earliest instances of charlatanism in violin- playing. [See LOCATELLI, vol. ii. p. 155.]

The beginnings of violin-playing in France date from a very early period. We have already seen that the very first known maker of vio- lins, Duiffoprugcar, was called to France by Francis I., and that there is some evidence of the violin having very quickly gained consider- able popularity there. Musical guilds spread throughout the country as early as the i4th cen- tury. The most important was the 'Confre'rie de St. Julien,' headed by ' Le Roy des Me'ne'triers du Koyaume de France.' [See KOI DES VIOLONS, vol. iii. p. 145.] Whatever historical or anti- quarian interest may attach to these guilds, they did little to further musical art in general or the art of violin-playing in particular. We have no means of forming an estimate of the proficiency as violinists of these me'ne' triers, but, to judge from the extreme simplicity of the violin-parts in the scores of Lulli, who in 1652 was appointed Director of the Royal Chapel (Les vingtquatre violons du Roy), it cannot have been great. [See vol. iv. p. 266.] As late as 1 75 3 a certain Paris musician, Corrette, writes that when Corelli's Violin Sonatas- came to Paris, no violinist was to be found who could have played them. The violin compositions Frenchmen of the same period, among which of the Suites of RBEL (about 1700), a pupil of Lulli, were counted the best, are in every re- spect inferior to the average of Italian and even of German productions of the same period : the setting is as poor and even incorrect as the treat- ment of the instrument is primitive. FRA^OIS FBANCCEUB, in his Sonatas (1715), shows decided progress in both respects. (As a curiosity it may be noticed that Francoaur, in order to pro- duce certain chords, adopted the strange expedient of placing the thumb on the strings.) As was the case in Germany, it was owing to the influ- ence of the Italian school, that violin-playing in France was raised to real excellence. The first French violinist of note who made his studies in Italy under Corelli was BAPTISTE ANET (about 1700). Of much greater importance however was JEAN MARIE LKCL AIR (1697-1 764), a pupil of Semis, who again was a direct pupil of Corelli's.

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