Documentary Sources in Music

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Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments (1753—1762)—This treatise was the most important works concerning performance practice on the keyboard instruments written during the eighteenth century. Emanuel Bach, a great performer and a composer in his own right, provides even now a wealth of information to music historians anxious to understand the music of the later Baroque.

Charles Burney, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Abate MetastasioPietro Metastasio, (1698–1782) was one of the greatest librettists of the eighteenth century. He composed the words for more than 25 operas as well as for a huge number of other sacred and secular works. Burney's edition helped to spread knowledge of the poet's achievements throughout Europe, Scandinavia, and Russia. Since then, more than 400 different composers have set Metastasio's texts to music.

Charles Burney, Musical Tours in Europe (1771–1773)—The great English music historian compiled this collection of observations on two tours undertaken through the Continent during 1771 and 1773. They provide an unparalleled insight into the ways in which music and its performers entered into the society of late eighteenth-century Europe.

Sir John Hawkins, A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (1776)—Hawkins wrote his music history after more than sixteen years of research in the British Museum in London. While warmly received at its publication, the work soon attracted controversy and intrigue. Supporters of Charles Burney, England's other ranking musicologist, subjected Hawkins' work to attacks in the British press. Over time, its erudition and importance has raised the work to one of the great monuments of music history and theory.

Franz Joseph Haydn, Collected Correspondence and London Notebooks (c. 1765(?)–1792)—This compilation of the composer's letters also includes selections from his London journals, kept while Haydn was writing his famous London Symphonies, one of the milestones in orchestral composition.

Johann Georg Leopold Mozart, A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing (1756)—Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's father, this little book offers a window on the performance styles and techniques in which the young prodigy would have been trained in his childhood.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Letters (1756–1791)—The correspondence of the greatest musician of the eighteenth century inform us not only about the nature of musical society at the time but about the character of this undeniable genius.

Johann Joachim Quantz, On Playing the Flute (1752)—Written by one of the greatest German court musicians of the eighteenth century, this book's eighteen chapters treat far more than the art of playing the flute. Quantz's work is, in fact, a treasure trove concerning all the performance practices of the time and was widely read by all amateur musicians who hoped to improve their skills.

Jean-Philippe Rameau, Theoretical Writings (1722–1764)—Inspired by the principles of the Scientific Revolution, this French theorist hoped to grant a "scientific" foundation to music. Rameau's ideas provided one of the most influential theoretical foundations for the development of the eighteenth-century art, even as they contributed to a discussion of music's intellectual underpinning that had been occurring in Europe since the Renaissance.

Heinrich Schütz, Letters and Documents (c. 1670)—This collection catalogues the life of the first great Baroque composer of Germany. Schütz's career was long and illustrious and much of it coincided with a time of great trial, the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), in German history. Despite these tribulations the composer placed his stamp on the formation of Baroque style in Central Europe.