Music History is Thrilling!

Baroque Keyboard Music and Domenico Scarlatti

Terms

Organ
The organ was a popular instrument during the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque eras where it enjoyed an esteemed position in the church. Its sound was produced by pipes and each tone contrasted to enable the listener to identify lines of counterpoint. Multiple keyboards made it possible to produce terraced dynamics
Regal
A small Medieval reed organ.
Positive
A small Medieval organ with only a single set of pipes.
Portative
A small Medieval organ which could be carried or set on a table.
Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
An important collection of keyboard music containing dances and madrigals made from the manuscript which was donated by Viscount Fitzwilliam, whom the work is named after. It features the emergence of idiomatic keyboard music. John Bull and William Byrd were two composers whose works were published in this collection.
Clavier
A term which was applied to refer to any keyboard instrument including the organ and harpsichord.
Harpsichord
A keyboard instrument which produced its tones by quills plucking its strings, thus its tones could not be sustained.
Cembalo
A type of harpsichord in which there were two keyboards to achieve varying pitches.
Clavecin
was the French word for harpsichord.
Virginal
A Baroque keyboard instrument in which the strings ran parallel to the keyboard.
Clavichord
A keyboard instrument which produced unusual tones which could not be made using any other keyboard instrument. It produced its sound by a metal tangent exerting pressure on the strings.
Prelude
A keyboard piece which is based on the expansion of a melodic or rhythmic idea. It often precedes a fugue.
Passacaglia
is the most majestic keyboard music from the Baroque era. It was presented in a stately triple meter and opened with a motive in the bass then is repeated through the entire piece.
Toccata
A highly virtuosic keyboard piece which is fast paced and has an improvisatory style.
Fantasia
A keyboard piece which is presented in an improvisatory style and often precedes a fugue.
Chorale prelude
A piece of keyboard music based on the expansion of a Lutheran chorale tune.
Chorale variations
A keyboard piece in which the theme is derived from a Lutheran chorale tune followed by variations on that theme.
Sonata
A piece of music written for either a solo instrument or several instruments in either several movements which contrasted or in a single movement with contrasting sections.

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)

Domenico’s father, Alessandro, was known for writing opera. Domenico also wrote some Italian opera but today he is most remembered for his contribution to the solo sonata. His sonatas came to over 500 in total and were originally collected together in a publication called “Esercizi per gravicembalo” (Exercises for the harpsichord). His many sonatas were primarily written in single movement binary form. Two individuals have set out to catalogue his sonatas which is why we now have both L and K numbers preceding Scarlatti’s sonatas. His pieces feature the increasing idiomatic features for the keyboard such as ornamentation, syncopation, modulations, sequential writing, rapid passagework, arpeggio figuration, hand crossings, and pedal points.

“Sonata in D minor, L413 K9″

Tempo: Allegro Meter: 6/8 Key: D minor Form: Single movement, binary: A-B This piece was written in The idiomatic features such as trills and mordents make this piece traditional of Baroque harpsichord music as the harpsichord was unable to sustain tones thus trills were necessary to facilitate for sustenance. Section A. The first section opens in d minor but quickly shifts to F major which is firmly established by a descending scale near the end of the section. This section features the idiomatic techniques. A sequential passage is featured in parallel thirds presenting a challenge for the pianist. The music character of this section is refined. Rapid passage work is also featured in section A. Section B. This section presents many modulations including a brief visit to the unexpected key of A major before meandering back to d minor for the final cadence. Trills and mordents are featured in this section as well as another sequential passage.

All information on this article is derived from: Joseph Machlis and Kristine Forney. The Enjoyment of Music, Eight Edition, Standard Version, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1999. Personal Study derived from original score found at Petrucci Music Library: Shanon Palmowski
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10 comments (show) ▼

Anonymous

Can you please post either Sonata in F minor, L 187/K 481 OR Sonata in D major, L 463/K 430??

My exam is next friday, and I can’t seem to find any info on it in my textbook… ( I have the enjoyment of music, 10th edition, but the 2009 theory RCM syllabus has changed! :OOO HELP PLEASE

Anonymous

new syllabus – stuck with Sonata D Major, but no info in the text book… 10 edition here too…. help help help!

Anonymous

The august 2010 exam is the last overlap/transition exam, you can still use the old syllabus

the questions on the exam will be geared towards both syllabuses, and will feature an option to choose works from the old or new syllabus, so if they ask one of scarlatti’s sonatas

they would have to ask D minor, D major, and the newly added F major one

but honestly if you dont know one song it doesnt really make a difference

shanon

Hi there,

Very sorry about not getting back to you about your posting. For some reason I wasn’t getting emails from postings which I assumed that I was getting. How did the exam go? I really do hope that it went well and this particular piece didn’t get you hung up! I should get the updated syllabus and update the website.

Thanks!

shanon

Hi there,
Very sorry about not getting back to you about your posting. For some reason I wasn’t getting emails from postings which I assumed that I was getting. How did the exam go? I really do hope that it went well and this particular piece didn’t get you hung up! I should get the updated syllabus and update the website.

Thanks!

shanon

Hi there,

I didn’t realize that I wasn’t getting the comments posted here via email so I missed those two regarding Scarlatti’s pieces. Thanks for posting your comment. Really appreciate it!

anonymus

can you please still post the d major k430 l463 pleasepleaseplease ? your website has helped SO much, you have no idea!! thanks SOOO much

fani

“This piece was written in The idiomatic”

I think it’s written in 1738…I could be wrong :/

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