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Giuseppe Tartini - The marriage of form and function, mass and mathematics

Identifier

014159

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Giuseppe Tartini (8 April 1692 – 26 February 1770) was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist.  He was born in Piran, a town on the peninsula of Istria, in the Republic of Venice (now in Slovenia) to Gianantonio – native of Florence – and Caterina Zangrando, a descendant of one of the oldest aristocratic Piranian families.

It appears Tartini's parents intended him to become a Franciscan friar and, in this way, he received basic musical training. He studied law at the University of Padua. After his father's death in 1710, he married Elisabetta Premazone. Unfortunately, Elisabetta was a favorite of the powerful Cardinal Giorgio Cornaro, who promptly charged Tartini with abduction. Tartini fled Padua to go to the monastery of St. Francis in Assisi, where he could escape prosecution. While there, Tartini took up playing the violin.

Legend says when Tartini heard Francesco Maria Veracini's playing in 1716, he was impressed by it and dissatisfied with his own skill. He fled to Ancona and locked himself away in a room to practice, according to Charles Burney, "in order to study the use of the bow in more tranquility, and with more convenience than at Venice, as he had a place assigned him in the opera orchestra of that city."

Tartini's skill improved tremendously and, in 1721, he was appointed Maestro di Cappella at the Basilica di Sant'Antonio in Padua, with a contract that allowed him to play for other institutions if he wished. In Padua he met and befriended fellow composer and theorist Francesco Antonio Vallotti.

Tartini was the first known owner of a violin made by Antonio Stradivari in 1715, which Tartini bestowed upon his student Salvini, who in turn bestowed it to Karol Lipiński upon hearing him perform, from which it derives its moniker, the Lipinski Stradivarius. He also owned and played the Antonio Stradivarius violin ex-Vogelweith from 1711.

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

His home town, Piran, now has a statue of Tartini in the square, which was the old harbour, originally Roman, named the Tartini Square (Slovene: Tartinijev trg, Italian: Piazza Tartini). Silted up and obsolete, the port was cleared of debris, filled, and redeveloped. One of the old stone warehouses is now the Hotel Giuseppe Tartini. His birthday is celebrated by a concert in the main town cathedral.

A description of the experience

Guiseppe Tartini – Trattata di Musica secondo la vera scienze dell'armonia 1754 -  translated by Joscelyn Godwin

 when a system is to be established, it is necessary to unite the two realms, the physical and the mathematical in such a way that they are inseparable, and to form from them a single principal. 

Only thus will any system endure; and we will be convinced of this when we understand clearly what we mean by a 'single principle'. 

It means that the calculation used for the mathematics must be intrinsically deduced from the physical nature of the thing demonstrated. 

Thus and in no other way will the two realms, physical and mathematical, form a single principle between them.  The law is strict, but just; and in virtue of this law, which is the touchstone of any physico-mathematical system, very few systems will be found to which no exception can be taken.

The source of the experience

Musician other

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

References