Tastar de corde (It.: ‘testing of the strings’)
- Dinko Fabris
A term used in the 16th century for a short introductory composition corresponding to the contemporary Toccata or Tiento. Its history seems to be limited to a single collection of lute music published in Venice in 1508, J.A. Dalza’s Intabolatura de lauto libro quarto, whose title-page lists among the contents ‘tastar de corde con li soi recercar drietro’. Its function, as the name implies, was both to check the tuning and the ‘tastatura’ of the instrument (the temperament between the movable frets) and to loosen the player’s fingers before a more complex contrapuntal piece such as a ricercare. Dalza’s collection contains five pieces with the title ‘tastar de corde’, four of them followed by a ricercare. The first and fifth are in G, the second in C, the third in D (with F♮) and the fourth in C (with E♭). The first ...