CPE Bach in Pieces

New episode every other Thursday

In 1753, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1744-1788) published the first part of what would become one of the most famous books on keyboard playing: Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen, or in English, Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments.
Books like this contain often invaluable information on the way our 18th c. colleagues played their keyboards. However, when one dives into them, he or she will soon discover that those works are not written with the modern reader in mind. Not only is information 'hidden' in long sentences, but also there is a context that they had and we don't any more.
Since long I planned to reread this important book. And so.... why not doing this together with you?
This series will be published every (that is the ambition) other Thursday at 5 PM, for a longer period of time. It should lead to a book from my pen 'My take on C.P.E.Bach', accompanied with a analog recording of the Probe-Stücke. Similar to the release later this year of the Bach Partitas on Vinyl.
Hope to read you a lot in the comment sections, since we'll have this to do together (and I'll need your sharp eyes!)


  • How the "Seven Years War" delayed volume 2 because of lack of paper
  • What Emanuel in private had to say about plagiarism (...!)
  • Why Bach sold his book to Schwickert in 1780 and not to Breitkopf
  • How many copies were sold in the 18th century and the form in which customers could buy the book (not a book 🙂
  • How the invention of the 'Musical Typography' changed the look of volume 2 drastically
  • An overview of the editions I use

Episode 2: HIS LIFE IN 18 DATES

  • Brief Overview of CPE Bach's life
  • Born 8 March 1714, in Weimar
  • Moved to Leipzig, then Frankfurt-on-the-Oder
  • Starts working at Fredrick the Great's Berlin court in 1738
  • 1753/1762 Publication of the two parts of the Versuch
  • 1767: Director of music in Hamburg
  • 1772: visit by Burney
  • 1780: Rights to Versuch sold off
  • 1787: Die Auferstehung
  • 1788: Death

"Pilot episode" 1:

  • Introduction to this project
  • Reading the "Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen” (Essay on the true art of keyboard-playing) by C.Ph.E. Bach
  • Answering your questions through Google hangouts and livestreams?
  • Publication of an organized translation of the "Versuch" and analogue recordings of the "Probestücke"