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Did Bach Really Mean That?

Deceptive Notation in Baroque Keyboard Music

A new book by harpsichordist and scholar
Colin Booth.

For all keyboard players who love Bach

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Did Bach Really Mean That? by Colin BoothDid Bach Really Mean That? is an entertaining and practical guide – not a dry work of scholarship. Scholarship is its basis, certainly, but the aim is to help all those who love Baroque music – particularly those who play it…. and even more so (but not exclusively) those who play a keyboard instrument – to a deeper understanding of the music they play, and the mindset of the composers who wrote it.

The subject is notation: the way the music is written down. Baroque music depended for its appropriate realisation on a mutual understanding between composer and performer, of certain features of the score which might in many cases mean something different today. Recovering this understanding can make the music more alive and meaningful for today’s players, and, paradoxically, give them greater freedom than they had when their performance was based just on a literal reading of the notes.

For all keyboard players - 349 pages, 7 appendices, a comprehensive index, and no fewer than 281 musical examples.

“The author’s research is overwhelming. Provided the reader is prepared to roll up his or her sleeves, this book gives the performer a wealth of information in a practical and non-didactic way, which will benefit all keyboard-players — pianists included.” Stephen Kovacevich

“This book is a ‘must read’ for all musicians. Booth writes with a rare combination of learning and intuitiveness, practical insight and a clarity of reasoned argument that can only inspire. His elegant prose and apposite illustration make it a joy to read.” David Titterington

“Colin Booth’s guide to deceptive notation will be invaluable. The book’s countless musical examples, drawn from an unexpectedly wide range of sources, are examined step by step for any vital message they may hide beneath their bland surface. This is a book that will tidily fill an almost unnoticed gap between ordinary, moderately informed teaching of Baroque music, and those studies aimed at the already expert.” Colin Tilney


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