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Date of this Version



The American Organist (January 1988) 22


Copyright © 1988, American Guild of Organists. Used by permission


Although he was not a professional musician, the German scholar and teacher Friedrich Konrad Griepenkerl (1782-1849) studied music theory, organ and piano with Johann N. Forkel, J.S. Bach's first biographer. Throughout his life Griepenkerl actively promoted the performance and study of Bach's keyboard works, and in 1844 he began to issue the first critically corrected complete edition of Bach's organ works, which organists know today as the Peters edition. In the preface to Vol. I of this edition (p. II), Griepenkerl briefly discussed Bach's manner of keyboard performance, and in this regard referred to three sources, each one more detailed than the preceding:

1. C.P.E. Bach's Versuch iiber die wahre Art, das Clavier zu spielen (1753), Part I, p. 104.

2. J.N. Forkel's Uber Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke (1802), pp. 11-14.

3. Griepenkerl's own account, found in his edition of Bach's Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue (1819).

Griepenkerl, then, considered his own account to be the most complete and accurate description of J.S. Bach's keyboard technique. He suggested that, although his remarks refer to performance on the pianoforte, the touch he described is far more advantageous for performance on the organ.

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