“One Should Not Make a Rule”

Bernard D. Sherman

in Inside Early Music

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195169454
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865017 | DOI:
“One Should Not Make a Rule”

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In the 1950s and 1960s, a group of Dutch musicians created one of the world centers of what we now call the early music movement. Through the work of the Kuijken brothers, the recorder virtuoso Frans Brueggen, as well as Gustav Leonhardt and Anner Bylsma, the Netherlands became to Baroque performance what Switzerland is to chocolate, watches, and banks. Just as young musicians had long flocked to the Schola Cantorum in Basel for instruction, they now came from all over the world to Amsterdam. Leonhardt and his associates raised their instrumental technique to new heights. More significantly, they developed a new approach to playing Baroque music. In contrast to the motor-like “sewing machine” style prevalent in preceding decades, these players emphasized the metrical hierarchy that John Butt explains in the last chapter; and their playing, says Laurence Dreyfus, sounded “strikingly speech-like by mimicking ever-shifting patterns of thought”. This chapter presents an interview with Gustav Leonhardt on the use of keyboard instruments in Baroque music, early fingerings, and registration. He also discusses the interchangeability of harpsichord, clavichord, and portative organ.

Keywords: Gustav Leonhardt; Baroque music; keyboard instruments; early fingerings; registration; early music movement; metrical hierarchy; harpsichord; portative organ; clavichord

Chapter.  6713 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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