Playing from open score 2: Kerll’s Ricercata for a barrel organ.

Charlston, T. (2017) Playing from open score 2: Kerll’s Ricercata for a barrel organ. The British Clavichord Society Newsletter (67). pp. 3-8. ISSN 1359-5105 (print)


This second, companion article to ‘Playing from open score 1: Froberger’s Fantasia, FbWV 206’, British Clavichord Society Newsletter, no. 66 (October 2016), pp. 3–9 considers the Ricercata by Johann Caspar Kerll (1627–1693) in the context of other seventeenth-century keyboard music, and as an exemplar of the fugal organisation, motivic construction and the performance practice of partitura scores. Reading music from open score was a prerequisite of seventeenth-century keyboard fugue performance. This tradition began in Naples with Rocco Rodio's Libro di ricercate, a 4 (1575), and was widely adopted across Europe until beyond the time of J.S. Bach. While today the practice of playing fugues from open score is generally unknown and no modern edition of Kerll’s Ricercata has been published in open score. This article includes an open score transcription the ‘Ricercata in Cylindrum phonotacticum transferenda … à Gasparo Kerl’ printed in the fifth part of Book 9 of Athanasius Kircher’s Musurgia universalis (1650). The article includes a full commentary and critical analysis of this fantasia and ricercar style fugue on three subjects. The transcription is typeset with modern treble and bass clefs to assist players who wish to perform this music from a visual presentation similar to that of the original but which does not require fluency in C-clefs.

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