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Wilhelm Busch : Scene 12 and 13 from the comic The Virtuoso

A virtuoso is someone who has mastered a certain skill to perfection or with the help of a particular musicality and technique .

Word origin and further details

The word, which is primarily used today for instrumental or vocal soloists who have an extraordinary technical mastery, came from Latin ( virtus = virtue, ability) via Italian ( virtuoso = capable) into German . It generally describes the particularly skillful or masterful execution of certain activities, which, however, is usually associated with a certain risk and thus arouses the admiration of the audience. The musicologist Günter Oesterle describes virtuosity as the “permanent surpassing” of what has been learned through imitation. Music is usually described as virtuoso if it places high demands on the player's technical skills, e.g. B. high playing speed, difficult chords, large jumps, full use of the range.

Niccolò Paganini was a virtuoso on the violin , Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin were virtuosos on the piano . Johann Sebastian Bach was also a virtuoso on the organ. Examples of virtuosos on the classical guitar are Narciso Yepes or the musicians around Pepe Romero . For many, the viola da gamba is the Catalan gambist Jordi Savall . In popular music, a high level of playing and singing skills is valued , especially in jazz , progressive rock and hard rock / metal (see also shredding ). Musicians such as Charlie Parker (saxophone, jazz), Jordan Rudess (keyboard, progressive rock) or z. B. Yngwie Malmsteen (electric guitar, hard rock / heavy metal).

In the recent development of language, the term was transferred from music to various other areas of life and work: One can speak of "virtuoso cooks" as well as "virtuosos at the computer keyboard" . A virtuoso has developed his skills to mastery.

The adjective "virtuoso" is also used pejoratively as the context to describe a musical performance practice, especially the player's technical skills are put on display in the musical quality but only plays a minor role.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: virtuoso  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Virtuoso  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Günter Oesterle: Imitation and surpassing. Three attempts at the relationship between virtuosity and art. In: Hans-Georg von Arburg (Ed.): Virtuosity. Cult and crisis of the artistry in literature and art of the modern age. Wallstein, Göttingen 2006, p. 47.