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Title:The Emergence of a Pivotal Role for the Thumb in Keyboard Fingering During the Early Eighteenth Century and Its Subsequent Impact on Pianistic Idiom
Author(s):Shepherd, Richard Charles
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Temperley, Nicholas
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Education, Music
Abstract:This thesis investigates the underlying changes in the approach to fingering of keyboard music (mainly harpsichord and piano) between the late 1500s and the mid-nineteenth century. The main focus of the work centers around the years c.1700-1775, as fingered sources and treatises of that time establish it to be a period of considerable change in terms of approaches to fingering; specifically, the demise of the older method of strong and weak fingers with the longer turning over shorter ones, yielding to the new equalized use of all five fingers and the pivotal function of the thumb. Important sources which reflect the above changes are F. Couperin's L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin (1717), the three fingered keyboard works of J. S. Bach, F. A. Maichelbeck's Die auf dem Clavier lehrende Caecilia (1738), C. P. E. Bach's Versuch uber die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (1753) and Probestucke, and F. W. Marpurg's Die Kunst das Clavier zu spielen (1750/1762). Other materials providing further evidence include Couperin's Pieces de Clavecin, Scarlatti's sonatas and J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations.
By way of establishing a historical perspective, the early treatises of Santa Maria (1565), Ammerbach (1571) and Diruta (1593/1609) are initially considered, as well as works of the English Virginal School of composers, along with figures such as Frescobaldi. The last two chapters examine the influence of the new developments on the Classical works of J. C. Bach, Haydn and Mozart and on the pre-Romanticism of Beethoven and Clementi, while the Conclusion illustrates their farthest-reaching effects in the virtuosity of Chopin and Liszt. Numerous musical examples along with an appendix containing additional scores illustrate the two-way effect of fingering changes on musical texture and vice versa. The concluding argument is made that, although the developments evolved gradually, a major period of transition from the old to the new method is to be found in the lifetime of J. S. Bach, with his son C. P. E. Bach being instrumental in leading the musical world along this new path.
Issue Date:1995
Description:166 p.
Thesis (D.M.A.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1995.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9543720
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1995

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