Domenico Scarlatti (1685–1757)

How to say the name:

‘Scarlatti’ is said like Scar-lat-tee. ‘Domenico’ is siad like ‘Dom-e-knee-co’.


26th October 1685 in Naples, Italy.


23rd July 1757 in Madrid, Spain.


Church of San Norberto in Naples.

Type of Music:

Strictly speaking, Scarlatti’s music is classical music from the baroque period. However, his music is often like that of the classical period.

His best pieces:
  • Many, many sonatas for the harpsichord! (See below for some video examples.)
Some interesting facts:
  • His father, Alessandro Scarlatti, is also a fairly well-known composer.
  • He was one of the main composers to create the classical period.
  • He wrote over 500 sonatas for the harpsichord! In fact, Scarlatti did much to invent the idea of the ‘sonata’ the became very popular with later composers.

Here is a video of a sonata by Scarlatti for the harpsichord. (I can’t believe the musician is standing up to play this!!)

Scarlatti’s Sonata K. 517 for the harpsichord

And here is a video of another sonata for the harpsichord. However this time it is played on a modern piano (such pianos didn’t exist in Scarlatti’s day).

Scarlatti’s Sonata K. 20 played on a modern piano.

Picture credits:
  1. Domenico Scarlatti. This is a painting by Domingo Antonio Velasco from 1738. The image is in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
Video credits:
  1. Harpsichord Performance: Comparone Plays Scarlatti. Harpsichordist Elaine plays Sonata in D minor, K. 517 by Domenico Scarlatti on her 2-manual harpsichord built in 1968 by William Dowd. For more information:;
  2. Pogorelich Plays Scarlatti. Scarlatti – Sonata K20.