Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Cypess, Rebecca. “Keyboard-Duo Arrangements in Eighteenth-Century Musical Life.” Eighteenth-Century Music 14 (September 2017): 183-214.

Chamber pieces in the eighteenth century were often arranged for two keyboard instruments (whether two pianos, or a piano/harpsichord combination). These arrangements were prized for their ability to create sympathetic connections between family members or between teachers and students through mutual understanding, shared sentiment, and common experience. The concepts of “original” and “arrangement” were very flexible at this time, and it was common for a single piece to exist in different versions for different instrumental combinations. It was often easier in a domestic or teaching situation to find two keyboardists rather than a larger number of other players. The practice originated in players simply reading different parts from the original score, or writing out their own keyboard arrangements. Players also combined various keyboard instruments including forte-piano, harpsichord, clavichord, and others to create new timbres and contrasts. Sympathy was fostered between student and teacher and between family members playing keyboard duos by performing the same physical gestures, and by arranging the keyboards toward each other so that they could see each other’s facial expressions.

Works: Anonymous: Keyboard-duo arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach, Trio Sonata in E-flat Major, BWV 525 (189-92, 208), Keyboard-duo arrangement of Johann Christian Bach, Quintets, Op. 11 (192-99).

Sources: Johann Sebastian Bach: Trio Sonata in E-flat Major, BWV 525 (189-92); Johann Christian Bach: Quintets, Op. 11 (192-99).

Index Classifications: 1700s

Contributed by: Meredith Rigby

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