Geminiani’s scales: a portal to the past


Geminiani’s scale exercises in his seminal 1751 treatise The Art of Playing on the Violin may look puzzlingly random to modern eyes, but violinist Benjamin Shute argues that they can reveal useful insights into the thinking behind performance practice of the time

Francesco Geminiani was one of the most celebrated violinist–composers of the first half of the 18th century and, in 1751, authored one of the period’s most influential string treatises, The Art of Playing on the Violin (which is readily accessible on websites including IMSLP). Today, unfortunately, its wealth of information on historical performance practices is largely overshadowed by surprisingly long-burning controversies…

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