A Critical Edition of Giuseppe Tartini’s The Art of Bowing with Commentary
The Art of Bowing by Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770) may have been misrepresented since the early decades of the nineteenth century. This work, a theme and variations, is an important bowing study for violinists, but it is instructive in period articulation, left-hand technique, and ornamentation as well. Editions of the work from Tartini's time to the present are conflicting and no autograph manuscript has been found.
There were four different editions of The Art of Bowing in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century-most noteworthy among them being an edition by Le Clerc (1758) and editions in the three publications of Cartier's L'art du Violon (1798-1803). The Le Clerc edition is important because of its circulation during Tartini's lifetime. The Cartier edition claims that the source used to prepare the edition was given by Tartini to a friend and was, finally, passed on to Cartier. Most modern editions, however, are based on the 1786 edition by Luigi Marescalchi. The Le Clerc and Cartier editions resemble each other, while the Marescalchi differs widely. The differences among these three editions are significant, including the number and ordering of variations, slur markings, and articulations.
After careful study of these sources, a critical edition has been prepared. Tartini advocated the use of practicing passages starting both up-bow and down-bow in his Rules for Bowing, a two-page document not in print until 1961 when it appeared in the Jacobi edition of Tartini's Traité des Agréments. The Art of Bowing is structured in four-bar phrases, each of which is repeated; therefore, if the phrases are bowed a certain way, a performer who began with an up-bow would find herself on a down-bow for the repeat of the phrase. The Cartier edition exhibits bowings that follow this rule, making this edition particularly valuable, while both the Le Clerc or Marescalchi editions do not exhibit this bowing scheme.
It is hoped that this dissertation and critical edition will provide a closer look at how The Art of Bowing may have been conceived (in terms of the inherent bowing scheme found in the Cartier edition) and a more complete edition from which to study. Finally, a viola transcription has also been prepared so that a violist is provided with the same scholarly edition.
Linda Kline Lamar. 2004. "A Critical Edition of Giuseppe Tartini’s The Art of Bowing with Commentary" Ann Arbor : UMI Dissertation Services.
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