Title

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: A Composer on the Fault Line of Ideological Change

Type of Submission

Podium Presentation

Keywords

C. P. E. Bach, Enlightenment, musical philosophy, Frederick the Great, Empfindsamer Stil

Proposal

There is relatively little scholarly research on musician and composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Of the research that exists, little thought is given to his musical philosophy. Through a synthesis of various journal articles, books, and musical scores, this paper will examine the background of Emanuel Bach in a way that highlights the impact of Enlightenment philosophy on his musical and theoretical writings. Emanuel’s father, J. S. Bach, taught him that the primary purpose of music was to highlight scripture. Through his education, Emanuel gained an appreciation for the secular philosophies of Humanism and the Enlightenment. In contrast to J. S.’s views, the philosophies of the Enlightenment asserted that the primary purpose of music was to highlight the essence of humanity through emotions. Emanuel’s position as a court musician for Frederick II of Prussia helped him to develop his musical style and philosophy. In addition to being a political leader, Frederick was a musician and composer who desired to be on the leading edge of Enlightenment philosophy and music. Through many years of working with Frederick, Emanuel developed his musical style while being influenced by many Enlightenment philosophers and musicians such as Rameau, and D’Alembert. Emanuel’s use of the Empfindsamer Stil in music highlighted Enlightenment musical philosophy by representing the unstable nature of human emotion. Emanuel’s Versuch über die wahre art das clavier zu spielen was not only his greatest work of theoretical writings but also displayed Enlightenment influences. His purpose for the book is to give its readers the ability to portray human emotion effectively through proper musical technique. Emanuel’s Enlightenment philosophy can be discovered by exploring his background, music, and Versuch.

Start Date

4-8-2020 1:00 PM

End Date

4-22-2020 6:00 PM

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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Apr 8th, 1:00 PM Apr 22nd, 6:00 PM

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: A Composer on the Fault Line of Ideological Change

There is relatively little scholarly research on musician and composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Of the research that exists, little thought is given to his musical philosophy. Through a synthesis of various journal articles, books, and musical scores, this paper will examine the background of Emanuel Bach in a way that highlights the impact of Enlightenment philosophy on his musical and theoretical writings. Emanuel’s father, J. S. Bach, taught him that the primary purpose of music was to highlight scripture. Through his education, Emanuel gained an appreciation for the secular philosophies of Humanism and the Enlightenment. In contrast to J. S.’s views, the philosophies of the Enlightenment asserted that the primary purpose of music was to highlight the essence of humanity through emotions. Emanuel’s position as a court musician for Frederick II of Prussia helped him to develop his musical style and philosophy. In addition to being a political leader, Frederick was a musician and composer who desired to be on the leading edge of Enlightenment philosophy and music. Through many years of working with Frederick, Emanuel developed his musical style while being influenced by many Enlightenment philosophers and musicians such as Rameau, and D’Alembert. Emanuel’s use of the Empfindsamer Stil in music highlighted Enlightenment musical philosophy by representing the unstable nature of human emotion. Emanuel’s Versuch über die wahre art das clavier zu spielen was not only his greatest work of theoretical writings but also displayed Enlightenment influences. His purpose for the book is to give its readers the ability to portray human emotion effectively through proper musical technique. Emanuel’s Enlightenment philosophy can be discovered by exploring his background, music, and Versuch.