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Bach and Tuning

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Johnny Reinhard

Bach and Tuning is strictly concerned with the identification of a historically accurate tuning paradigm that applies to the great majority of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music. Once Bach has his personal tuning aesthetic acknowledged, a new dimension of meaning is invoked in performance through the intended interplay of diverse musical intervals. This new narrative lays bare Bach’s mental calculations regarding his idealized intonation. Bach, the true chromatic composer of the Baroque, was the scion of a great music family. Likewise, Andreas Werckmeister was the bright star in a neighboring musical family, only a generation earlier. Bach and Tuning connects the valuable tuning contribution made by Werckmeister to Bach’s musical masterpieces.

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Chapter 8: Johann Philipp Kirnberger

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Johann Philipp Kirnberger



Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1721–1783) was an able musician, a violinist, keyboardist, composer, and pedagogue. He first worked for Frederick the Great, who passed him on to his sister, Princess Amalia of Prussia, Abbess of Quedlinburg. Spitta asserted that Kirnberger’s contributions “down to the present century were almost exclusively used as the final authority in teaching composition” (Spitta, III:245).

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