The Solo Repertoire

The Late 16th and Early 17th Centuries

Music in this section is suited for virginal, spinet, or an Italian or Flemish style harpsichord. It requires a minimum of a single 8' register with a 4 octave compass C-c3. The music rarely extends above a2.

England The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book - over 400 pieces (variations and dances)
Parthenia - a collection of music by Byrd, Bull and Gibbons
Matthew Locke - Melothesia, pieces by Locke and others, including possibly the earliest figured bass tutor
Spain Antonio de Cabezon - tientos (preludes), dances, ricercare and variations
Italy Picchi - dances and variations
Frescobaldi - dances, variations, canzonas, toccatas
Netherlands Sweelinck - variations
Germany Scheidt - dances and variations

The Mid 17th Century

Much of this music is suitable for a spinet with a single 8' register though the contrast of a second 8' on a Flemish-style harpsichord, particularly for the French music, would be useful. The range A1-c3 or d3 is adequate. A + here and in the following sections indicates that this music is particularly suitable for the clavichord, though much of the music except for the idiomatic French style works well on that instrument.

England Purcell - suites and miscellaneous keyboard music
Germany Froberger - suites, toccatas, canzonas, capriccios +
Pachelbel - variations and suites +
Fischer - preludes and fugues +
France Suites by Chambonnières, d'Anglebert, Louis Couperin, La Guerre
Italy Music by Pasquini, Alessandro Scarlatti, Rossi

The Late 17th Century and the High Baroque

Here the individuality of the styles can dictate the type of instrument best suited to the music - an Italian style instrument for Domenico Scarlatti and his school, a Flemish or French instrument for French music. Most can be satisfactorily performed on a single manual. Certain music marked * needs the second manual. The ranges vary, but much of the music works with a compass of G1-d3.

England Handel - the 16 Suites
Handel - miscellaneous pieces +
Arne - 8 Sonatas
Germany Bach -
French and English Suites (C-c3) +
Partitas and Toccatas
Goldberg Variations *
Italian Concerto and French Overture *
Anna Magdalena Notebook +
Little Preludes and Fugues +
Well-tempered Clavier (the 48) +
Inventions and Sinfonias +
France The four books of Ordres by François Couperin
Preludes from "L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin"
Rameau - Pièces de Clavecin *
Dandrieu and Daquin - Pièces de Clavecin
Spain and Portugal Domenico Scarlatti - over 600 sonatas (few up to f3 or g3)
Soler - sonatas (up to g3)
Seixas - toccatas

The Mid 18th Century

Here one finds much music which is suitable for either harpsichord or fortepiano - in fact, apart from C.P.E. Bach's music, some of which was designed for clavichord, the expressive qualities and grace of the music sounds better on an early fortepiano. The range often extends to the full 5 octave F1-f3; all can be played on a single manual instrument.

C.P.E. Bach - sonatas, fantasias +
Haydn - early keyboard sonatas
Benda - sonatinas
Mozart - early keyboard sonatas