18th-century Keyboard and Chamber Music Performance

Aims and content

This project will examine repertoire both from the ‘High Baroque’, especially with composers such as Bach, Handel and Telemann, and from the Enlightenment (CPE Bach, Quantz, Haydn) to the Classical period (Haydn, Mozart, early Beethoven). We will study primary and secondary sources for Performance Practise focusing on Rhetorical structures, figures and ornamentation; articulation; rhythmic alteration; tempo freedom; organology and instrumental techniques pitch and temperament

Students should enrol for project in ensembles of two or more members; ensemble members should be available for all project sessions for rehearsals and performances. Keyboards will be necessary for most groups; keyboards used will include harpsichord, fortepiano and modern piano. There will be group workshops as well as individual coaching.


Each ensemble will perform a 30’ programme either in week 10 of the Autumn Term 2013 or in week 1 of Spring Term 2014.

Reading and listening

  • Bach, CPE. Essay on the true art of playing Keyboard Instruments (1753) (trans. Mitchell,W.J.).  London: Cassell, 1941.
  • Couperin, F. L’Art de toucher le clavecin (1716/17) (trans./ed. Halford, M.). Port Washington, NY: Alfred Publishing, 1974.
  • Donington, R. The Interpretation of Early Music. London: Faber, 1963.
  • Dreyfus, L. ‘Early Music Defended against its Devotees: A Theory of Historical Performance in the Twentieth Century’, Musical Quarterly 49, 1983, pp.297–322
  • Harnoncourt, N. Baroque Music Today (transl. O'Neill, M.) London: Helm, 1982.
  • Keller, H. Phrasing and Articulation. London: Barrie & Rockliff, 1966.
  • Lawson, C. & Stowell,R., The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999  
  • Mattheson, G. Der Vollkommene Capellmeister (1739). Microfilm
  • Mozart, L. Violinschule (1756) (trans. Knocker,E). London: OUP, 1948.
  • Neumann, F. Performance practices of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries New York : Schirmer Books. 1993.
  • Quantz, J.J. On Playing the Flute (1752) (trans. Reilly, E.R.) London: Faber, 1966.
  • Saint-Lambert. Principles of the Harpsichord (1707) (trans.Harris-Warwick, R.) Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984.
  • Sadie, S. The New Grove Dictionary… (online) London: Macmillan, 2001. Articles on: Baroque interpretation; Dotted notes; Expression; Fingering (keyboard); Harpsichord; Inégales; Notation, Organ, Ornamentation; Phrasing; Pianoforte; Style
  • Türk, D.G. Klavierschule (1787). Microfiche

Learning outcomes

By the end of the taught part of the module all students should:

  • be familiar with the main chamber works of the principal composers under examination
  • have developed an understanding of the compositional techniques and performance expectations in the representative scores of each composer
  • have developed an awareness of the stylistic changes in the career of these composers
  • broadened their knowledge of issues concerning the stylistic individuality of each composer
  • have developed an enhanced understanding of communication of that emotion or idea

On completion of their independent work for this module, students should be able to:

  • devise a performance programme that demonstrates engagement with the musical material being performed
  • show knowledge and understanding of selected key ideas related to instrumental music of the 18th century
  • express and explain their own understanding in performance and thoughts about the chosen topics, advancing also some original idea
  • perform repertoire from the High Baroque to the Classical period accurately and with an understanding of style and performance practice.
  • work effectively as part of a group or performance ensemble

Second years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes B1, B2, B6, B8

Third years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes C1, C2, C6, C8