Tartini's Understanding of Music between "Logic" and Aesthetics

  • Marija Bergamo


The paper is concerned with Tartini's views on aesthetics from the standpoint that in his time it was easier to live with music than to ponder upon it. It is pointed out that his work is based on patterns and models at a time when views on music and on requirements to be met by music were constantly changing and when instrumental music strove to become independent, a process that was both difficult and occasionally dramatic. At first he followed the rules set by baroque vocal music that determined also the affections in instrumental music. Then he started to comply with Mattheson's belief that instrumental music is a special kind of "Klangrede". What he did not realize as yet was that music is equivalent to language as regards expressing feelings or conveying a message with its own autonomous means, for his life and work concluded before such a view could be clearly formulated. He was not involved in the difficulties to which eighteenth-century music thinking was subjected to because of a deep mistrust of instrumental music at that period. He was protected (i) by a special status Italian music had at that time and (ii) by an alive, confident and almost self-sufficient Italian musical practice, in which he himself participated. That is why he could transfer, quite freely and without having too many doubts, aesthetic models and compositional patterns in terms of technique, which had been designed for and used by vocal music, to the field of instrumental music. He changed and adapted them inventively to the nature of the new medium, increasingly emphasizing the emotional expressive element of music. He aestheticized the doctrine of figures, removing its rhetorical basis, and took up new views on harmony "free composition" and the "activation" of musical texture. In conclusion, the author suggests that Tartini was both hindered and stimulated by the musical context of his time. On the one hand, he was protected by tradition and, on the other, he experienced the adventure of discovery, taking advantage of tensions and contradictions of that time, naturally according to his own creative abilities.


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How to Cite
BergamoM. (1992). Tartini’s Understanding of Music between "Logic" and Aesthetics. Musicological Annual, 28(1), 11-14. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.28.1.11-14