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The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Leonardo Da Vinci: Musician

Someone searched today using the term: "Did Leonardo play a musical instrument?". Knowing the answer, I thought I would reply to them, lest they visit this site, again.

Leonardo da Vinci, 1452 - 1519, had many gifts, but one of them was for music. He composed music, spontaneously, improvising freely as he went - and presumably he recorded some of this. However, no written record of his music survives. So we may never know whether he was, in fact, a good composer, to add to all his other wonders.

We do know however that he had a great reputation for being able to play ANY stringed musical instrument, at first sight, even if he had never encountered the particular type of instrument before. Though, his official instrument was the lyre, he was able to play others, too. Presumably, he was physically dextrous and so comfortable with music as an art, that he could respond to the opportunities and constraints of a new instrument well enough to coax adequate music from it.

So, not only could Leonardo da Vinci play an instrument - he had shown himself able to play any stringed instrument of his time.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:53 AM 

4 Comments:

Blogger Shawn said...

I am helping my daughter with a paper on Da Vinci and came across you blog post while searching the internet about him as a musician... would you mind directing me to your source? Information about this part of his life is so limited. Thanks, in advance!

11:06 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Shawn,

Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, it is such a long time since I wrote this post, that I can't recall where I saw this information. I think though it was a book on Leonardo da Vinci I browsed in a book shop, one day. I remembered the entry on his musical gifts - and remarked on it here. I wish I could tell you more...but quite a few years have passed since I picked up this data. Sorry.

However, you might have luck with the Google search engines to see if you can find any other references. The reason that info is limited on his musical life is that NONE of his music (except I understand possibly the odd fragment) of his compositions survived to today. All his music was lost. Very sad.

Happy hunting.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Ashley X. said...

They were ALL lost? That really is sad.

Oh, I told my dad about this and his eyes literally popped out of his head. ;)

2:35 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, Ashley: Leonardo the composer, will be forever unknown. It is such a pity since it would be very interesting to hear the take of such a mind, on the musical opportunities (instrument wise) of his time. I am sure he would have made something interesting of it.

It is good that your Dad cares about this. We live in a world in which many people just wouldn't.

2:49 PM  

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