The Italian Keyboard Toccata c. 1615-1650: A Repository for Oral Compositional Practices

Barker, Naomi J. (2019). The Italian Keyboard Toccata c. 1615-1650: A Repository for Oral Compositional Practices. Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle, 50(1) pp. 1–28.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14723808.2018.1513973

Abstract

This research uses statistical analysis of a sample of keyboard toccatas including pieces by Frescobaldi, Rossi, Froberger and the anonymous composer of the manuscript R-Vat Mus Chigi Q.IV.25 to investigate the extent to which surviving written examples of the genre contain indicators of their unwritten compositional processes. The results of the analysis indicate that within the measurably formulaic textural disposition, there are clearly defined motivic patterns and melodic shapes that are present in the work of all three composers. The intertextuality thus implied is indicative of common unwritten procedures used in the process of composing toccatas at the keyboard and undermines common assumptions about the use of concordances between sources as indicative of authorship.

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