Natura e alterità. Ancora sull'aria del Tasso di Giuseppe Tartini

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Abstract

A special feeling for folk music is recurrent in Giuseppe Tartini’s œuvre. In particular he based four movements of his violin sonatas on the well-known theme Aria del Tasso, which attracted the attention of J.-J. Rousseau and J. W. Goethe, during their stay in Venice. As a composer and theorist he rather aimed to be closer to nature than to transcribe the gondoliers songs, like a musicographer interested in ethnology. According to Tartini’s thought, together with the so-called musica naturalis of the ancient Greeks and the “music of the nations”, the term popolare is equivalent to simple, and simple is the main feature of nature. Frequently employed in his writings in opposition to the concept of artificioso, translatable as artificial i.e. unspontaneous, the concept of nature undergoes a remarkable change of meaning between 1754 and 1767. Follower of the scientific methods established by Descartes and Newton, Tartini relies on the rules of harmony connected to mathematics: on the one hand through the ancient numerical basis of acoustics, on the other hand through the empiric acoustics after Rameau (cf. Trattato di musica secondo la vera scienza dell’armonia, 1754). Therefore he defines harmony as a phenomenon of nature, surcharged of a universal value, on which are founded both traditional and “national music”. Even though musical cultures have different shapes in comparison to art music, he believes that the ratio of harmony dominates them at the same extent as a unique grammar can compound different languages (in this case ratio coincides with sensus). On the contrary, the Commercio di lettere sui Principj dell’armonia, a lot of letters addressed to the mathematician Giordano Riccati, testifies a crisis of the previous ideas as a result of the incompatibility between art and folk music, or between art and the so-called “music of the nations”. Tartini accepts the diversity of cultures involved within the frame of a “parallel second nature”, thus stating the otherness as an emerging category. In this sense the keyword harmony cannot embody two separate musical domains, or explain the alterity. Furthermore this dualism implies a clash between ratio and sensus, while the discourse shifts on the virtual opposition nature vs. nurture.This turning point, dating back to the 1760s, brought the Istrian composer to find a way to represent nature through the diatonic genus. Unable to renounce to a unifying quid, he recognizes in the diatonic genus of Greek music an archetype which appears as a common trait in folk songs, ancient tunes and art music. As testified by his treatise De’ principj dell’armonia musicale contenuta nel diatonico genere (1767), the diatonic is the pivotal genus that has significantly remained uncorrupted in time and space. Although he did not elaborate an aesthetic theory supporting his assertions, it is noteworthy the manner in which his anthropological point of view undermines the preceding concept of nature submitted to rationalism. In this sense the query anticipates the debate on folk and its meaning, which has developed since the seventies onward.
Lingua originaleItalian
pagine (da-a)77-94
Numero di pagine18
RivistaDe Musica Disserenda
VolumeX/1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Music

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