Annata N.5 (2012)

Loukia Drosopoulou
Articulation Markings in Manuscript Sources of
Luigi Boccherini's String Quintets

English abstract

Unlike many eighteenth-century virtuoso violoncellists, Luigi Boccherini did not write a string treatise. His influence and contribution to historical performance practice is widely studied today through his solo works, his violoncello sonatas and concertos, which best reflect his virtuosic techniques and overall use of the instrument. Yet, his chamber works present a remarkable detail and variety in the notation of dynamic, articulation and special-effect markings, constituting them an equally important source for the study of performance practice in his works, and arguably also of eighteenth-century repertoire in general. The present paper focuses on articulation markings in Boccherini’s string quintets, citing examples from autograph as well as manuscript copies of these works. Markings that are discussed include terms and signs used to denote a detached execution, different types of portato articulation, as well as certain aspects concerning the use of slurs in these works. Terms and signs that are addressed include rare ones, which are often not discussed in contemporary string treatises, such as stracinato and sciolto, as well as common ones, such as staccato, dots and strokes, and their distinct meaning and use from today.

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