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The contribution of Geminiani's 'The art of playing on the violin' to "The improved state of the violin in England"

Stowell, Robin 2013. The contribution of Geminiani's 'The art of playing on the violin' to "The improved state of the violin in England". In: Hogwood, Christopher ed. Geminiani Studies, Ad Parnassum Studies, Bologna: Ut Orpheus Edizioni, pp. 257-300.

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Abstract

Violin playing in eighteenth-century England was dominated by foreign violinists, of whom Francesco Geminiani was one of the most significant, disseminating the technique and style of his master Arcangelo Corelli, through his compositions, teaching, performance and, above all, his The Art of Playing on the Violin (London, 1751). The latter treatise occupies an important historical position as the only advanced violin method to be published in England in the eighteenth century. It appeared in several editions, as well as translations into French (first edition, L’art de jouer le violon (Paris, 1752)) and German (first edition, Gründliche Anleitung oder Violinschule (Vienna, 1782)) and various abbreviated, ‘improved’ and plagiarised versions, some of which reflected changes in the instrument’s developing technical and expressive vocabulary. It also prompted the publication of various supposititious works in Geminiani’s name (some derived from Part V of Peter Prelleur’s The Modern Musick-Master (1731)) and influenced the content of several English treatises for the ‘amateur violinist’, notably those of, among others, Stephen Philpot ([1767]), Robert Bremner ([1777]), Jean Jousse (1805?] and [1811]), Thomas Goodban ([1810]), Robert William Keith ([1813]), John Paine ([c.1815]), John David Loder (1824), Neville Butler Challoner ([1825]), Thomas Howell (1825 and [1828]), Robert Hack ([1835]) and Andrew Thomson ([1840?]), some of which spawned numerous editions. Louis Spohr’s Violinschule (Vienna, 1832), which promptly appeared in English translations by C. Rudolphus ([1833]) and John Bishop ([1843] and later by Florence A. Marshall (1878, edited by Henry Holmes), eventually superseded Geminaini’s work as the overriding influence in England from the 1840s. The chapter discusses briefly the background and content of Geminiani’s The Art of Playing on the Violin and evaluates in detail the influence of its principles on the wide variety of pedagogical publications that succeeded it. Attention focuses on the technical and expressive aspects of violin playing which form the basis of Geminiani’s method, notably the manner of holding the instrument and bow, left-hand fingering, extensions and contractions, shifting and position-work, intonation, bow management, varied bowings, vibrato, ornamentation, scale usage, and aspects of style and good taste. Reasons for the eventual ascendancy of Spohr’s treatise are also discussed, along with the significance of Geminiani’s treatise as a seminal text in the modern period-instrument revival.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Publisher: Ut Orpheus Edizioni
ISBN: 9788881094790
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:59
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/15089

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