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Giovanni Paolo Foscarini (fl. 1600 – 1647)

Giovanni Foscarini was an Italian composer, guitarist, and lutenist. Today, Foscarini stands as one of the major 17C guitar composers who spanned the gap between the strummed (battute) style of guitar playing and the more mature Italian mixed style of pizzacato (plucked) and strumming. In the preface to his final publication, Foascarini talks a bit about all three styles: strummed, plucked, and mixture of the two. Foscarini, in his last three books of guitar music, uses a predominantly mixed style.

Little is known of Foscarini’s life, but he did claim, in one of his anthologies, to be well known as a lutenist in Italy and abroad. You can check out an overview of the contents of Foscarini’s fifth book here. The work is currently held at Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venic, Italy. Extant copies or Foscarini’s earlier works are held at the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin, and the Library of Great Britain.