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Domenico Alberti

Domenico Alberti (around 1710 - 1740) was an Italian singer, harpsichordist and composer of Baroque Music.

Alberti was born in Venice and studied music with Antonio Lotti[?]. He wrote operas, songs and sonatas for keyboard instruments, for which he is best known today. These sonatas frequently employ a particular kind of arpeggiated accompaniment in the left hand which is now known as Alberti bass. It consists of regular broken chords, with the lowest note sounding first, then the highest, then the middle and then the highest again. This pattern is repeated. Today, Alberti is seen as a very minor composer, and none of his works are played or recorded with any regularity, but Alberti bass was used by many later composers, and became an important element in much keyboard music of the Classical music era.

In his own lifetime, Alberti was known as a singer. He often used to accompany himself on the harpsichord. Little is known of his life, but he was Venetian ambassador to Spain in 1736, when the famous castrato singer Farinelli heard him sing there. Farinelli was said to be impressed, even though Alberti was an amateur.

Alberti's best known pieces are his keyboard sonatas, although even they are very rarely performed. It is thought he wrote around 36 sonatas, of which 14 have survived. They all have two movements, each in binary form.

It is probable that Mozart's first violin sonatas, written at the age of seven, were modelled on Alberti, although Mozart's examples are generally considered superior.

Alberti died in 1740 in Rome.



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