Structure and technique of the variation genre in selected violin sonatas of Corelli, Locatelli and Tartini
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The genre of the variation has been developed a great deal since the first one was published in the sixteenth century. Because a variation’s theme is not typically long, and because it is repeated in different guises many times, it is most important for the composer to create as rich as possible a work by fully exploiting a passage’s potential for rhythmic and melodic variation, as well as the capabilities of the instrument for which it is written. The variation process and form became important in European music in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, especially in the violin repertory, with the greatly improved quality of violin-making at that time. In Italy, composers who were also violinists wrote many variations for strings from the later seventeenth to the eighteenth century. Arcangelo Corelli’s pieces are representative of variation sets, and his pupils, Pietro Antonio Locatelli and Giuseppe Tartini, also composed variations. This treatise compares variations by these seventeenth and early eighteenth century composers. In comparing these examples, the character of each composer’s style of variation can be analyzed and discussed. This treatise also focuses on the technical challenges of the violin variation of Corelli’s La Folia, Locatelli’s Op.6 and 8, and Tartini’s Op.1 and 5.