Q214970

List of Virtuoso : Vote for your favorites.

List of Virtuoso    : Vote for your favorites.

A virtuoso (from Italian virtuoso [virˈtwoːzo] or [virtuˈoːso], "virtuous", Late Latin virtuosus, Latin virtus, "virtue", "excellence", "skill", or "manliness") is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in a particular art or field such as fine arts, music, singing, playing a musical instrument, or composition. This word also refers to a person who has cultivated appreciation of artistic excellence, either as a connoisseur or collector. The plural form of virtuoso is either virtuosi or the Anglicisation, virtuosos, and the feminine forms are virtuosa and virtuose.

According to Music in the Western civilization by Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin:

...a virtuoso was, originally, a highly accomplished musician, but by the nineteenth century the term had become restricted to performers, both vocal and instrumental, whose technical accomplishments were so pronounced as to dazzle the public.

The defining element of virtuosity is the performance ability of the musician in question, who is capable of displaying feats of skill well above the average performer.

Especially in music, both critics and musicians have mixed opinions on virtuosity. While the skill implied is clearly positive, musicians focused on virtuosity have been criticized for overlooking substance and emotion in favor of raw technical prowess.

More commonly applied in the context of the fine arts, the term can also refer to a 'master' or 'ace' who excels technically within any particular field or area of human knowledge—anyone especially or dazzlingly skilled at what they do. For instance, Ken Jennings' initial success on Jeopardy was described as a "virtuoso performance."

The Italian term "virtuoso" was also once commonly used to describe the group of emerging ballistic experts, engineers, artillerists, and specialists in mechanics and dynamics that arose during the late 17th century in response to the spreading use of gunpowder in Europe.

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