Giuseppe Tartini was an Italian violinist, composer, and theorist who helped develop the modern style of violin bowing and developed principles of musical ornamentation and harmony. He was born in Istria, Republic of Venice [now Piran, Slovenia]—died February 26, 1770, Padua, Republic of Venice.
Tartini studied divinity and law at Padua while also establishing himself like a fencer. He secretly married a protégée of the archbishop of Padua before 20, which led to his arrest. He left Padua disguised as a monk and sought refuge in an Assisi monastery. His violin playing drew attention and persuaded the archbishop to let Tartini return to Padua with his wife. He moved to Venice in 1716, then to Ancona, and finally back to Padua in 1721, when he was appointed principal violinist at the Church of San Antonio. He conducted the orchestra of the chancellor of Bohemia in Prague (1723–26), then returned to Padua to found a school of violin playing and composition in 1728. In 1740, he went on a concert tour of Italy.
Tartini's bowing became a standard for later schools of violinists, and his playing was praised for its mixture of technical and poetic qualities. More than 100 violin concertos, various sonatas, including the Trillo del Diavolo (Devil's Trill), composed after 1735, quartets, trios, symphonies, and religious works, such as a five-part Miserere and a four-part Salve Regina, are among his works. Tartini's discovery of the difference tone, also known as the Tartini tone, a third note heard when two notes are played consistently and with force, contributed to the science of acoustics. In his Trattato di musica (1754; "Treatise on Music"), he developed a theory of harmony based on affinities with algebra and geometry, which he expanded into Dissertazione dei principi dell'armonia musicale (1767; "Dissertation on the Principles of Musical Harmony"). Traité des agréments de la musique (1771; "Treatise on Ornamentation of Music") is another of his theoretical works.
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