Francesco Geminiani, 1687-1762


Selected Recordings

6 Sonatas for Cello and Continuo Op.5

Concerto grosso n. 11 after Corelli, Op. 5

The Enchanted Forest

Selected Sheet Music

Violin Solo in B-flat major


Source: Sheetmusicfox

Showcase Piece

Sonata III for Violoncello and Basso Continuo in C Major

Notes and Commentary

“Francesco Geminiani took the torch of instrumental music from the hands of Corelli and kept the fires burning. He wrote concerti grossi and sonatas in which the structure, as previously used by Corelli, were enlarged and made more flexible; where the thematic material is more greatly varied; and where the orchestral colorations are enriched.”—David Ewen, The Complete Book of Classical Music

Francesco Saverio Geminiani was an Italian violinist, composer, music theorist, and student of Arcangelo Corelli. His most well-known compositions are three sets of concerti grossi: his Opus 2 (1732), Opus 3 (1733), and Opus 7 (1746). There are 42 concerti in all. His concerti introduce the viola as a member of the concertino group of soloists, making them essentially concerti for string quartet.

Geminiani’s significance today is largely due to his 1751 treatise Art of Playing on the Violin, published in London, which is the best known summation of the 18th century Italian method of violin playing and is an invaluable source for the study of late Baroque performance practice. The book is in the form of 24 exercises accompanied by a relatively short but extremely informative section of text, giving detailed instructions on articulation, trills, and other ornaments, shifting between positions, and other aspects of left- and right-hand violin technique. The instructions in this treatise are famously opposed to those expressed by Leopold Mozart in his Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing (1756) on several issues, including on bow hold, use of vibrato, and the so-called “rule of the down-bow,” which states that the first beat of every bar must be played with a down-stroke.

His Guida harmonica (c. 1752, with an addendum in 1756) is one of the most unusual harmony treatises of the late Baroque, serving as a sort of encyclopedia of basso continuo patterns and realizations. There are 2,236 patterns in all, and at the end of each pattern is a page number reference for a potential next pattern; thus a student composer studying the book would have an idea of all the subsequent possibilities available after any given short bass line.

Geminiani also published a number of solos for the violin, three sets of violin concerti, twelve violin trios, The Art of Accompaniment on the Harpsichord, Organ, etc. (1754), Lessons for the Harpsichord, Art of Playing the Guitar (1760) and some other works. He lived from December 5, 1687, to September 17, 1762.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Books and Music

Selected Books

The Art of Playing on the Violin
Travis and Emery, 2009
Francesco Geminiani
$10.50 on Amazon

Art Violin

“Facsimile of the 1751 edition. Containing all the rules necessary to attain to a perfection on that instrument, with great variety of compositions which will also be very useful to those who study the violoncello, Harpsichord etc. Contains 24 examples and 12 compositions.”

Guida Armonica O Dizionario Armonico
Ulan Press, 2012
Francesco Geminiani
$16.15 on Amazon


“Originally published prior to 1923. Represents a reproduction of an important historical work. It maintains the same format as the original work.”

Francesco Geminiani
Oxford Univ. Press, 1993
Enrico Careri
$109.50 on Amazon

Selected Music

Geminiani-1 12 Concerti Grossi (1994), 2-CD set

Geminiani-2 Concerti Grossi (After Corelli Op. 5) (2000), 2-CD set

Geminiani-3 Cello Sonatas, Op. 5 (2008), 1 CD

More Francesco Geminiani music

Complete Works

6 Cello Sonatas, Op.5
Concerti Grossi after Corelli’s Violin Sonatas, Op.5
6 Concertos, Op.2
6 Concertos, Op.3
6 Concertos, Op.7
4 Duos
Flute Sonata in E minor
3 Flute Sonatas
Violin Solo in B-flat major
Violin Sonata in C minor
12 Violin Sonatas, Op.1
12 Violin Sonatas, Op.4


Back to home page