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Toccata for Harpsichord

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Hi! I introduce myself with a harpsichord Toccata written in neo-baroque style. Divided in two parts, the first is a free Prelude wandering from key to key and inspired by the Italian Renaissance manner of writing. The Prelude leads directly to the virtuosic Toccata itself, in A major and vaguely modeled like a Scarlatti Sonata.

Audio and score in the Youtube link below:



Greetings!  :happy:

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Amazing! I like harpsichord sound.

At first, when I saw you said it was written in neo-baroque style, I thought it was another piece imitating the ancient baroque. But I was wrong, this is truly a neo-baroque piece where you pick baroque forms and styles but you add other modern points, like dissonances.

Apart from that, the work is great.

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18 hours ago, johnbucket said:


Hi! Thanks for providing me many, many insights on this piece! A couple of them were already springing in my head during the writing process.

I'll try tomorrow to elaborate on a couple of your points: I can't this evening. I'll also put the .pdf fo this piece for you to try :D

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Hi! I'm back :happy: 

On 15/8/2016 at 0:57 AM, johnbucket said:

It does seem from the score that you may not be aware of some of the harpsichord's limitations.


The instruction of come crescendo was put to emphasize the rising shape of the figure with a light broadening of tempo, instead of a thickening of the texture. Regarding the manual changes, yes, they're not in stile (as, you've noted, the piece itself) but I think they are entirely doable on a double-manual harpsichord. Obviously, with little skips that are too difficult to fake in a digital performance without a DAW.


The Frescobaldian section is too 'start-and-stop' and meandering

Right. In fact the whole piece has a lot of moments that break the flow, partly because it was composed in two very short takes, one in 2015 and one a couple of days ago. Regarding the two ritmic variants, they are used in response one against the other, and the one in battere is at the core of the sequential phrase that closes the first section.

Yes, the Toccata section is Scarlattian only in some aspects and with developmental-reprisal charateristics more akin to a classical Sonatina form. I shouldn't have mentioned Frescobaldi and Scarlatti  :grin:


the STA is of near-perfect proportions, and the closing theme is priceless.

What do you mean with STA? Thanks anyway!

I can't find the references you said to Mozart and bars 114-15 :blush2:

On 15/8/2016 at 0:57 AM, johnbucket said:

a hint before a conclusive ending

the hint was the reprise, in cut time, in bars 140-150.

I thank you again for the detailed insight, and I post you the score here: 

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  • 1 month later...

This is an old topic, but just to reply to you John: getting the fast p and f effects is actually very common on harpsichords with two manuals. You simply have the lower manual playing two strings and the upper plays one. Thus when the performer plays the lower manual it is louder and vice versa. Two dynamics and switching between them fast is thus nothing challenging. 

Of course crescendo and decrescendo are impossible, as noted. Also bar 171 and so is really too fast too be possible. 


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Thanks for replying. I'm aware of that - I think I was having difficulties imagining the hands moving from one manual to the other at such a speed (hence my 'seamlessly' comment) - b. 171 et seq. being a very good case in point. I admit that that point wasn't worded as clearly as it should have been, which is why what I said is inaccurate, as you pointed out.

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