Bach and the Pedal Clavichord: An Organist's Guide

Overview

Friederich Griepenkerl, in his 1844 introduction to Volume 1 of the first complete edition of J. S. Bach's organ works, wrote: "Actually the six Sonatas and the Passacaglia were written for a clavichord with two manuals and pedal, an instrument that, in those days, every beginning organist possessed, which they used beforehand, to practice playing with hands and feet in order to make effective use of them at the organ. It would be a good thing to let such instruments be made again, because actually no one who ...

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Overview

Friederich Griepenkerl, in his 1844 introduction to Volume 1 of the first complete edition of J. S. Bach's organ works, wrote: "Actually the six Sonatas and the Passacaglia were written for a clavichord with two manuals and pedal, an instrument that, in those days, every beginning organist possessed, which they used beforehand, to practice playing with hands and feet in order to make effective use of them at the organ. It would be a good thing to let such instruments be made again, because actually no one who wants to study to be an organist can really do without one." What was the role of the pedal clavichord in music history? Was it a cheap practice instrument for organists or was Griepenkerl right? Was it a teaching tool that helped contribute to the quality of organ playing in its golden age? Most twentieth-century commentary on the pedal clavichord as an historical phenomenon was written in a kind of vacuum, since there were no playable historical models with which to experiment and from which to make an informed judgment. At the heart of Bach and the Pedal Clavichord: An Organist's Guide are some extraordinary recent experiments from the Göteborg Organ Art Center (GOArt) at Göteborg University. The Johan David Gerstenberg pedal clavichord from 1766, now in the Leipzig University museum, was documented and reconstructed; the new copy was then used for several years as a living instrument for organ students and teachers to experience. On the basis of these experiments and experiences, the book explores, in new and artful ways, Bach's keyboard technique, a technique preserved by his first biographer, J. N. Forkel (1802), and by Forkel's own student, Griepenkerl.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580461351
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/3/2005
  • Series: Eastman Studies in Music , #26
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Table of Contents

Lists of figures, tables, and music examples
Acknowledgments
Foreword
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Source studies
Prelude to part one 13
1 The historical pedal clavichord 17
2 J. S. Bach's trio sonatas: a reception history of a rumor 32
3 Reconstructing the Gerstenberg pedal clavichord 52
4 J. S. Bach and the clavichord: a reception history of a technique 69
Pt. 2 Performance practice studies
Prelude to part two 91
5 Performance practice at the pedal clavichord 95
6 Musica poetica and figural notation 114
7 J. S. Bach's Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582: a case study 129
8 The pedal clavichord and the organ in dialogue 149
App Friedrich Conrad Griepenkerl's preface to J. S. Bach's Chromatic fantasy and fugue (1819) 161
Notes 172
Bibliography 187
Index 199
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    Outstanding Resource on the Pedal Clavichord

    Joel Speerstra has done his homework. Not only is his information on the pedal clavichord well documented, but the accompanying information on the probable historic use of the instrument is invaluable. This book will interest early music performers, teachers, and builders of early keyboard instruments. The discussion of keyboard technique appropriate for organ, harpsichord, and clavichord is excellent. Piano teachers and students would gain great insights into their technique from reading this book. Because Speerstra did close investigations of existing pedal clavichords, and then built his own instrument, he provides information with authority and clarity. Speerstra writes in an accessible, interesting style, which is not at all dry and pedantic. This book was delightfully entertaining at the same time it was most informative.

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