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Robert de Visée

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Robert de Visée (c.1650 - 1725) was a lutenist, guitarist, theorbist and viol player at the court of Louis the XIV, as well as a singer, and composer for lute, theorbo and guitar.

Robert de Visée’s origin is unknown, although a Portuguese origin of his surname had been suggested. He was likely to have studied with Francesco Corbetta. About 1680 he became a chamber musician to Louis XIV, in which capacity he often performed at court. He is also mentioned (in 1709) as a singer in the royal chamber, and in 1719 he was named “Guitar Master of the King” (maître de guitare du Roy). Rousseau reported that he also played the viol at court. Visée wrote two books of guitar music which contained twelve suites between them: Livre de guitare dédié au roy (Paris, 1682) and Livre de piéces pour la guitare (Paris 1686). He composed many suites of pieces for theorbo and Baroque lute (the bulk of which are preserved in the Saizenay Ms.), as well as a collection of ensemble pieces.

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