Corbetta, Francesco [Corbette, Francisque; Corbera, Franciscus]
- Richard Pinnell
[Corbette, FrancisqueCorbera, Franciscus]
(b Pavia, c1615; d Paris, 1681). Italian guitarist and composer. While establishing his own artistry and prestige on the instrument, Corbetta enhanced the guitar’s popularity, advanced its technique, and stylized the dance suite, simultaneously becoming an ambassador of its courtly acceptance.
When Corbetta was born, the Italian five-course chitarra spagnola was still in its infancy; its music was a new instrumental genre. He came to know it well; for in his first book (Bologna, 1639), he employed the latest variation techniques of strumming on the chaconne and passacaglia. In his notation Corbetta relied on the typical chord symbols of the alphabet for strummed chords (see Guitar §4). However, for a few pieces in 1639 he superimposed alfabeto chords over Italian tablature to generate ‘mixed tablature’, the notation of his middle period. After travelling several years in northern Italy, Corbetta left for the court of Madrid. He then spent a year or so at the courts of Brussels, Paris, and Hanover. In his last period, divided between Whitehall and Paris, he wrote only in French tablature....