18th Century texts on performance


The three most important theoretical german texts of mid of 18th Century, are:

  • CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH; Versuch über die wahre Art das Klavier zu spielen, published in Berlin, 1753.

  • JOHANN JOACHIM QUANTZ; Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen, published simultaneously in german and in french languages (as Essai d'une methode pour apprendre à jouer de la flute traversiere), Berlin, 1752.

  • LEOPOLD MOZART; Gründliche Violinschule, published in Augsburg, 1756.

  • All three are of great value as guides for music performance, however they should not be taken as all time rules, because, to which style are they really applicable? late baroque, or galant style, or "empfindsamer", or maybe already the first classical style? and, are they useful for all european music, or only the german one, or the italian, or the french?



    C.P.E. Bach:
    Versuch über die wahre Art das Klavier zu spielen

    Here is the complete text of the first part of the book by CPE Bach, in a french translation by Jean-Pierre Coulon.

    Nota.- This is a Webpage sometimes not reachable. If you face this problem, you can access the document directly from here.



    On the other side, you will find my comments to this Versuch by CPE Bach in my report about the Pedagogy of the harpsichord which you can reach from here: look at pages 13 to 16 of the report, and to the Attachment no. 7.



    Johann Joachim Quantz:
    Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen

    Here you will find a short information about the Quantz' book, (basically, the table of contents) on the Web site of Agostino Cirillo.



    Another information about the Quantz's book, in this case, the catalan/spanish translations of the Chapter XVI of the book, chapter titled Del que un flautista ha tenir en compte en la música pública, is to be found on the Web site of Joan Vives.



    Leopold Mozart: Gründliche Violinschule

    Click to get an entry at Wikipedia (in german) containing a short information about the book by Leopold Mozart, (basically, the table of contents).



    Here, there is another short information about the L Mozart's book, referring to the convention of playing at the keyboard with piano and forte dynamics according to the context, even if this is not specified in the score.



    And here, the facsimile reprint of some of the pages of the book Gründliche Violinschule.





    Other texts of the 18th Century

    This will direct you to the text L’art de toucher le Clavecin (1717), by François Couperin.



    Spanish translation of the first two chapters of the book by Hotteterre Principes de la flûte traversière ou flûte d'Allemagne" (1707), made by Agostino Cirillo.



    A catalan/spanish translation of some chapters of the Hotteterre's book, made by Joan Vives.



    Finally, a translation into French of some fragments of the book by Daniel Gottlob Türk, Méthode de clavicorde pour élèves et professeurs, 1789.