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Giuseppe Tartini

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Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770) was an Italian composer and violinist of the baroque period.

Tartini was born on the 8th April 1692 in Pirano, a town on the peninsula of Istria in the Republic of Venice (now Piran, Slovenia). It appears that Tartini’s parents intended that he should become a Franciscan priest, and in this way he received his basic musical training. He went on to study law at the University of Padua, where he became very good at fencing. After his father’s death in 1710, he married Elisabetta Premazone. Unfortunately, Elisabetta was a favorite of the powerful Cardinal Cornaro, who promptly charged Tartini with abduction. Tartini fled Padua to go to the convent of St Francis in Assisi, where he could escape prosecution; while there he took up playing the violin.

Tartini’s playing improved tremendously, and in 1721 he was appointed Kapellmeister at Il Santo in Padua, with a contract that allowed him to play for other institutions if he wanted to. In Padua he met and befriended fellow composer and theorist Francesco Antonio Vallotti.

In 1726 Tartini started a violin school which attracted students from all over Europe. Gradually he became more interested in the theory of harmony and acoustics, and from 1750 to the end of his life he published various treatises. He died on the 26th February 1770.

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