Alessandro Piccinini

Alessandro Piccinini (1566 - c1638) was a lutenist composer and writer on music who lived and worked in Bologna. His father, his two brothers and his son were lutenists too. He published a volume of Intavolatura di liuto, et di chitarrone in 1623 and a second volume of Intavolatura di liuto was published after his death by his son in 1639. The first volume has a preface that includes a short but detailed manual on lute technique and style. Part of this manual is reproduced in English, French and German in the modern edition of some of the pieces by Perret, Correa and Chatton. It is notable in describing what guitarists would now call the rest stroke with the thumb: When you play a string, move the thumb toward the belly so that it falls on the lower adjacent string and keep it there until it has to pluck again.
In addition it makes the following comments about the use of nails in plucking the strings: The other three fingers, that is, the index, middle and ring, ought to have somewhat longer fingernails…touch the string with the tip of the flesh and push it towards the belly, letting the nail glide over both strings [of the paired course]. There are also several comments about stylistic aspects of playing, such as emphasising the string that has the musical subject while keeping the accompaniment soft and this comment: Cleverly slowing the meter somewhat makes your playing even more effective - which appears to be a description of rubato an effect that is commonly thought to have developed somewhat later in musical history.

According to Grove Music Piccinini also claimed to have invented the archlute – the first extended-neck lute – in the 1590s, although the extended-neck chitarrone or theorbo (as a restrung and retuned bass lute) predated this invention. He also seems to have made modifications to the chitarrone .

The following three pieces are from the 1623 publication: 

Aria di Saravanda in Varie Partite [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Piccinini Grade 06
This piece is originally in C major (assuming an archlute tuned in G) and I have transposed it to D major. I have also made a number of octave transpositions - a more faithful transcription of the original can be seen on the Alterations page.

Chiaccona in Partite Variate [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Piccinini Grade 06  
A modern tablature and staff transcription of this piece can be found on the Acadia Early Music Archive at http://www.acadiau.ca/~gcallon/www/archive/PiccChia.pdf.

Corrente Prima [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Piccinini Grade 08
This was transcribed from a keyboard realisation by Perret, Correa and Chatton

The following three pieces are from the 1639 publication and are taken from the collection of Piccinini files at lute.musickshandmade.com/

Chiaccona Mariona alla vera Spagnola [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Piccinini Grade 08 

Corrente IX [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Piccinini Grade 07

Saravanda alla Francese [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Piccinini Grade 07



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