Luigi Rinaldo Legnani (7 November 1790 – 5 August 1877) was an Italian guitarist, singer, composer and luthier.
He is not to be confused with the sculptor Luigi Legnani (Ferrara, 29 December 1852 — 10 September 1910).
Born in Ferrara, Legnani was trained as a string player while very young but dedicated himself to guitar and voice. His debut was in Ravenna in 1807; in the 1820s he performed as a tenor in operas by Rossini, Pacini, and Donizetti. His career as a guitarist began with a concert in Milan in 1819; his 1822 concerts in Vienna were a great success, and he was hailed as a star when he returned there in 1833 and 1839.
He is perhaps best known for his 36 Caprices for the guitar, which cover all the major and minor keys, and which were probably inspired by Paganini's 24 Caprices for the violin. He and Paganini were friends from the 1830s; while it was once thought that he and Paganini performed together in public, this is no longer accepted. After the 1850s Legnani retired from active performance and became an instrument maker, concentrating on guitars and violins. The "Legnani model" guitar was popular in Central Europe through the middle of the nineteenth century.
Legnani composed some 250 works, which were published in his lifetime throughout many of the major publishing houses in Europe. He died in Ravenna.
Legnani knew Johann Georg Stauffer in Vienna; and Stauffer and his son Anton made guitars according to Legnani's design. Numerous luthiers made guitars according to Legnani's design, as can be seen from guitar labels mentioning the words "Nach dem Modell des Luigi Legnani". Later he began making his own guitars, and some of his instruments still exist:
There is some confusion regarding the luthierie of Legnani, as there seems to have been a second (earlier) Luigi Legnani who seems to have been an apprentice of Zosimo Bergonzi.
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- In morte di Luigi Legnani by Antonio Zanca (1861–1958); (Milano : Tip. Lit. Degli Ingegneri, 1887) (Information about publication is found in Bibliografia italiana)
- Luigi Legnani by Romolo Ferrari 1, 2 (E. Bassi e nipoti, 1932)
- Teatro Carignano 28 Inglio 1855
- Appunti su una chitarra di Luigi Legnani by Ciurlo, Ernesto Fausto (1895 - 1987); Strumenti e Musica, XXIV, 1971, No. 2, page 70
- Introduction to "36 Caprices" by Simon Wynberg (Chanterelle; 1986)
- "Luigi Legnani" by Giuseppe Gazzelloni; The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan, 2001.
- Sculptor Luigi Legnani (Ferrara, 1852 — 1910)
- Stauffer Label: Nach dem Modell des Luigi Legnani (ref)
- Nach dem Modell des Luigi Legnani
- Guitar by Legnani at the Wayback Machine (archived May 8, 2006)
- Guitar of Legnani (ca.1870) at the Wayback Machine (archived May 8, 2006)
- other Legnani (?): 1, 2, 3
- Luigi Legnani, Guitar Virtuoso and Composer by George C. Krick; ETUDE, May 1941, volume LIX, number 5, page 351-352 (alternative)
- Luigi Legnani by Philip James Bone (The guitar and mandolin : biographies of celebrated players and composers for these instruments (1914))
- (German)Luigi Rinaldo Legnani by Daniela Rossato (nova giulianiad 7/85, p. 154)
- Rischel & Birket-Smith's Collection of guitar music 1 Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Denmark
- Boije Collection The Music Library of Sweden (alternative)
- George C. Krick Collection of Guitar Music Washington University
- Free scores by Luigi Legnani at the International Music Score Library Project