The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers

By Arthur Elson | Go to book overview

LVI
VIOLINISTS AND VIOLIN MUSIC

THE monodic, or harmonic, style made its appearance in opera by about A.D. 1600. If melody had not been formally recognized in opera, it would have forced itself to notice in violin music. Indeed, the violin works began to show themselves before the Florentines strove for melodic opera. Gasparo da Salo and the first Amati had perfected the violin in the last half of the sixteenth century. It was essentially a solo instrument, and composers naturally began to write music for it. Giovanni Gabrieli composed the earliest violin pieces that are now known.

About 1626, Carlo Farina published five sets of chamber works, containing little tone-pictures. Uccellini, Neri, and Legrenzi improved the . repertoire, the latter writing chamber-sonatas. The chamber-sonata was a dance-suite, in which stately sarabands and allemandes alternated with the more rapid gavottes and gigues. Somewhat in contrast was the church sonata, which grew to consist of a prelude (often fugato), an allegro, a slow movement, and a brilliant finale. The violist Giovanni Vitali raised the standard still more, while his son Tommaso became a famous violinist, and composed striking sonatas for various combinations.

The first really great violinist, however, was Arcangelo Corelli. Before 1685 he won immense renown as player, composer, and teacher. His few known works show real feeling, and an accurate comprehension of his instrument. He was an artist of marked expressive power.

It is said that the German violinist Strungk once visited Corelli to hear him play. When the Italian had finished, he politely asked his guest to perform in turn. Strungk hesitated, and then played a short piece in a careless manner, which caused Corelli to give him some friendly advice and say that he might become a good player in time. This was evidently what Strungk had planned for. He then proceeded to astonish his host by putting the strings out of tune,

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The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Part I - The Evolution of Music 1
  • Part I the Evolution of Music 2
  • I - Primitive and Savage Music 3
  • II - Greece and Rome 13
  • III - Early Christian Music 23
  • IV - The Minstrel Knights 31
  • V - The Schools of Counterpoint 42
  • VI - The Harmonic Style 58
  • Part II - The Great Composers 67
  • Part II the Great Composers 68
  • VII - Bach 69
  • VIII - Handel 77
  • IX - Gluck 85
  • X - Haydn 91
  • XI - Mozart 98
  • XII - Beethoven 108
  • XIII - Schubert 120
  • XIV - Weber and Romanticism 128
  • XV - Mendelssohn 135
  • XVI - Schumman 143
  • XVII - Chopin 151
  • XVIII - Italian Opera 158
  • XIX - Cherubini and French Opera 170
  • XX - Berlioz and Other Frenchmen 179
  • XXI - Liszt and His Circle 188
  • Part III - Musical Form 307
  • XXXI - Melody and Appreciation 309
  • XXXII - Figures and Phrases 317
  • XXXIII - The Song-Forms 324
  • XXXIV - The Rondos 331
  • XXXV - The Sonata-Allegro Form 336
  • XXXVI - Other Sonata Movements 341
  • XXXVII - The Orchestral Forms 345
  • XXXVIII Dances and Piano Styles - Dances and Piano Styles 351
  • XXXIX - The Vocal Forms 360
  • XL - The Contrapuntal Forms 366
  • Part IV - The Instruments 376
  • XLI - The Piano and Its Predecessors 377
  • XLII - The Organ 384
  • XLIII - The Voice 391
  • XLIV - The Violin 398
  • XLV - Other Bowed Instruments *
  • XLVI - Plucked-String Instruments 413
  • XLVII - Flute and Piccolo 420
  • XLVIII - Oboe and English Horn *
  • XLIX - The Bassoons 433
  • L the Clarinets 438
  • Li Horns, Trumpets, and Cornets 444
  • Lii Trombones and Tubas 450
  • Liii Instruments of Percussion 456
  • Part V - Special Topics 463
  • LIV - Some Famous Pianists 465
  • LV - Some Famous Singers 474
  • LVI - Violinists and Violin Music 483
  • LVII - Orchestration 491
  • LVIII - Conducting 496
  • Lix Acoustics 503
  • LX - How to Read Music 515
  • LXI - Modern Music 538
  • Appendix 569
  • Index 581
  • Index to Supplementary Chapter 606
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