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Giuseppe Tartini

(Piran, 8.4.1692 – Padua, 26.2.1770)

Acclaimed as “the greatest composer of his time“, Tartini is often associated with the story told by astronomer Joseph Jérôme de Lalande, according to whom, in 1713, the devil appeared in a dream to the musician and put himself at his service, playing on his violin a melody of such charm that Tartini wanted to write the score. This would be the genesis of his perhaps best known work, the “Devil’s Sonata” or Violin sonata in G minor.

Born in 1692 in Piran, Giuseppe Tartini arrived in Padua in 1708 pushed by his family to study law and join the clergy. On his father’s death, he abandoned both the university and the ecclesiastical life. He left Padua for Assisi, where he began his musical training, in particular studying the violin to which until then he had only dedicated a few months at the age of 12. He later took up residence in Venice, he obtained his first engagements in the orchestra at the Teatro La Fenice in Ancona, at the Fortuna theatre in Fano and in Camerino. Also in Ancona he discovered what is still known as the ‘Tartini sound’, an acoustic phenomenon that he described in the Treatise on Music according to the true science of harmony in 1754. After a further period of improvement in the Marche region, in 1721 the musician was hired as lead violin and director of the orchestra of the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua, where he would remain for the rest of his life.

To his activity as musician and composer, having reached the peak of violin skills, Giuseppe Tartini added teaching and founded the School of Nations in Padua in 1728, where he taught students from all over Europe. The Art of the bow remains today a fundamental text in learning violin technique, together with the Treaty of embellishments, a work on improvised ornamentation.