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The road to emulation: Francesco Geminiani and the 18th century English taste foundation

Grant number: 17/25714-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2018
Effective date (End): February 28, 2021
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Music
Principal researcher:Monica Isabel Lucas
Grantee:Marcus Vinícius Sant'Anna Held Neves
Home Institution: Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

In our master's dissertation, we translated and commented the complete treatises of the violinist and composer Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762), who had had prominent activity in the eighteenth century England. In that work, it was possible to verify that discussions upon taste are the central subject of his theoretical oeuvre. For eighteenth century authors, taste refers to the evaluation of an artistic work through the usage of the judgment. For these authors, its refinement comes from the obedience to the laws and from the practice of exercises based on imitation and surpassing (or emulation) of authoritative models. Geminiani reproduces this very same thought throughout his theoretical work. In the eighteenth century german preceptives, the rhetorical use of emulation justifies the selection of the best elements of musical referencial models of that time - French and Italian - to create an especifically german taste, to which those essays refer as "mixed tastes". Some of those treatises, as Mathesson (1713), mention English musical practice; however, neither they bestow it a high position nor do they consider it as a model for imitation. Despite of that, there are, in English literature, evidence that it is possible indeed do define a specifically English taste. A survey that proposes to identify the characteristics of eighteenth century English musical taste has necessarily to be made from the study of Geminiani's work, considering its importance to English musical theory and practice. Therefore, this project aims to identify, indicate and characterize the English taste of the 18th century, yet considering the figure of Francesco Geminiani as a model composer to that taste. (AU)

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