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Bach Perspectives, Volume 11J. S. Bach and His Sons$
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Mary Oleskiewicz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041488

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041488.001.0001

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C. P. E. Bach’s Keyboard Music and the Question of Idiom

C. P. E. Bach’s Keyboard Music and the Question of Idiom

(p.83) C. P. E. Bach’s Keyboard Music and the Question of Idiom
Bach Perspectives, Volume 11

David Schulenberg

University of Illinois Press

The keyboard music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, commonly described as being for clavichord or generic “clavier,” reveals great variety of idiom, implying significant changes in players’ technical and interpretive approaches to performance of compositions from across the composer’s sixty-year career. This essay analyzes numerous sonatas, rondos, and fantasias, demonstrating the capabilities of both harpsichord and fortepiano for representing metaphoric speech in instances of instrumental recitative and in compositions that represent dialogues between opposing characters. Only the piano, however, can facilitate romantic effects appropriate to certain pieces through dynamics, legato articulation, and manipulation of dampers. Works that the composer described as “comic” actually juxtapose the serious and the farcical, as in the composer’s famous Empfindungen, a late work realizable only on a dynamic instrument.

Keywords:   Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, clavichord, Empfindungen, fantasia, fortepiano, harpsichord, instrumental recitative, performance, rondo, sonata

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