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Marco Uccellini

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Marco Uccellini (1603/1610-1680) was an Italian violinist and composer in the Baroque tradition.

Little is known about his life. Born at Forlimpopoli, Romagna, he studied in the Assisi seminary. He became musical director (Capo degl’ instrumentisti) of the Este court in Modena from 1641 to 1662, and was the musical director (maestro di cappella) of Modena cathedral from 1647 to 1665. Afterwards he served as maestro di cappella at the Farnese court in Parma until his death. At the Farnese court, he composed operas and ballets, but none of this music survives; thus, he is mainly known today for his instrumental music.

Uccellini was one of a long line of distinguished Italian violinist-composers in the first half of the seventeenth century. His sonatas for violin and continuo contributed to the development of an idiomatic style of writing for the violin (including virtuosic runs, leaps, and forays into high positions), expanding the instrument’s technical capabilities and expressive range. Like other seventeenthth-century Italian sonatas, Uccellini’s consist of short contrasting sections (frequently dances) that flow one into the other.

Uccellini contributed to the bow technique introducing the sixth position . He also was one of the first to use scordatura (also called cross-tuning: an alternative tuning used for the open strings of a string instrument. In the Western classical music tradition it is an extended technique to allow the playing of otherwise impossible note sequences or note combinations).

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