Italian composer (1685-1757) who spent most of his adult life as a harpsichord teacher at the Spanish court.

He was very famous for his brilliant play and left to the world about 568 exercises (or 'sonatas') for harpsichord.

In a way these sonatas are more like birdsong than music; they consist mainly of one-sentence musical ideas, loosely knit together in a simple, standard structure to form a 3 to 7 page exercise. Some of these ideas are mind-blowing, many of them are very beautiful, and some of them are fun to play, so I spend a lot of time with Scarlatti.

I used to collect recordings of them, too. My first CGI script was a Scarlatti sonata database. It was to contain sheet music, MIDI files (by John Sankey), some sound samples, and a search interface by which you could find sonatas by musical characteristics. It was never finished. I still think the Web dearly needs something like this, a for music.