The essay is focused on the instrumental music culture that flourished in late eighteenth-century Naples. A critical context for the cultivation of instrumental genres is the understanding of the educational curriculum within the four local conservatories. Their well-established methods, especially the didactic system of partimenti, provided technical rubrics for rapid composition and also emphasized critical skills at the keyboard whether the student was a specialist on the instrument or not, placing a premium on its role within instruction and musicianship in general. The diverse contexts, especially social, political, or artistic that fostered the composition and performance of instrumental music, namely contemporary salon culture and patronage, are also examined. By this time, Naples hosted a thriving international community, where performances of instrumental music were highly valued. Finally, the analysis of representative works of music produced for keyboard by leading operatic maestri, in particular Paisiello and Guglielmi, will help situate Neapolitan practices within the panorama of Europe. The findings of this essay point toward a rich array of future inquiries for scholars. Specifically, the unexplored culture and repertoire of instrumental music in late eighteenth-century Naples and how compositional strategies and performance practices were the basis for the formation of a distinct regional style that had both national and transnational dissemination.


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pp. 56-77
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