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Roncalli, Conte Ludovicolocked

  • Robert Strizich


(fl late 17th century). Italian guitarist and composer. The often-encountered spellings ‘Roncelli’ and ‘Rancalli’ are erroneous. Roncalli is known only through his Capricci armonici sopra la chitarra spagnola (Bergamo, 1692/R; facs. in BMB, iv, 1969), dedicated to Cardinal Panfilio of Bologna. Roncalli's book, one of the last for the Baroque guitar published in Italy, contains nine ‘sonatas’ or suites for five-course Baroque guitar notated in Italian guitar tablature; each one comprises from five to seven movements. Each suite begins with a preludio and alemanda, which are followed by other typical late 17th-century Italian dance forms such as the corrente, giga, sarabanda and gavotta. His alemande provide the essential motive of the other movements, and he spins out each motive in more intricately subdivided rhythm than any other guitarist of the century. One of his favorite devices is a melodic sequence built upon a chain of inverted chords, always balancing virtuosity and content. Despite their Italian titles the movements show some` French influence. Roncalli gave no indication of the tuning for his pieces, but their style and textures seem to indicate the ‘French’ tuning ...

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Journal of the Lute Society of America