Quarrels on Harmonic Theories in the Venetian Enlightenment Visualizza ingrandito

Quarrels on Harmonic Theories in the Venetian Enlightenment

Autore Patrizio Barbieri
Collana Teorie Musicali
N. 5
Dimensioni 17×24, pp. XIV+372
Anno 2020
ISBN 9788855430227

In the second half of the 18th century the harmonic theories of the Venetian Enlightenment − its standard-bearers being Francesco Antonio Calegari, Francesco Antonio Vallotti and Giuseppe Tartini − aroused major quarrels at a European level, owing particularly to their inevitable collision with those of Jean-Baptiste Rameau, two of whose innovations in any case they had earlier discovered. These discoveries were unanimously judged as the pillars of modern harmony, i.e. that (1) any chord coincides harmonically with its inversion, and (2) the origin of the modern diatonic scale has to be identified in the consonant triads based on degrees I, IV, and V. Having fallen into oblivion starting from the very early 19th century, interest in the characters of this historical phase reawakened in the years 1945−1960, and this interest has developed and continued into the present century, with renewed attention to the contributions of Giordano Riccati, another important protagonist of the period, as well as of Alessandro Barca and Luigi Antonio Sabbatini. The present volume merges with this line of research, both by re-presenting − translated into English − some of the articles previously written by the author, and by presenting new studies and assessments in several critical sectors, as well as authors whose direct involvement in the harmonic debate at that time has so far been overlooked or undervalued, like that of Giuseppe Pizzati and Michele Stratico.
With regard to the overall organisation of the book, Part I, comprising six chapters, deals with theories on the basis of harmony and the generation of chords, i.e. those that best characterise the contribution of the Paduan School and Tartini. The five chapters of Part II, on the other hand, tackle the age-old problem of the theory of consonance, up to the innovative theory of Andrea Draghetti (1771) and, in his wake, that of Filippo Foderà (1831–37), a so-far-forgotten author who managed to calculate a continuous curve of consonances almost identical to the famous one produced in 1863 by Helmholtz.


Patrizio Barbieri has taught history of musical theory, musical acoustics and applied acoustics at the University of Lecce, and historical organs at the Gregorian University of Rome. He has also lectured at the Laboratorio di acustica musicale e architettonica of the Fondazione Scuola di San Giorgio – CNR in Venice. He has published four books and about 130 articles, and was awarded the 2008 Frances Densmore Prize by the American Musical Instrument Society for the best article in English on musical instruments published in 2006–7.