Cover: Masters of the Keyboard: A Brief Survey of Pianoforte Music, from Harvard University PressCover: Masters of the Keyboard in E-DITION

Masters of the Keyboard

A Brief Survey of Pianoforte Music

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674729407

Publication Date: 01/01/1947

323 pages

140 music illustrations


Available from De Gruyter »

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

Willi Apel, world-famous musicologist, presents with freshness and vitality a succession of landmarks in the history of keyboard music. From the vast musical literature composed for organ, clavichord, harpsichord, and pianoforte from the Middle Ages to the present day, Apel has selected for reproduction one hundred and forty compositions—all but a few of them individually complete works, or independent sections of major works—which illustrate its entire development. His text forms a continuous commentary on the significance of these musical examples for the development of key-board music as a whole. His history is addressed mainly to the musical amateur, but based as it is on extensive musicological research it includes much material of interest to the student and scholar.

In his opening chapters Apel picks up the threads of the earliest forms of keyboard instruments and music before 1500. In succeeding chapters he surveys sixteenth-century organ and virginal music; the Baroque and Rococo periods; the Classical period; the Romantic school; and, finally, modern piano music.

Apel tells the story of this development in a readable manner, avoiding unnecessary technicalities, but fully and clearly explaining all technical terms used in the text. The distinguishing feature of his book is the inclusion, for the first time in any comparable work, of complete compositions rather than short musical illustrations: most of this valuable materials is not readily accessible to the amateur, nor even to many music students.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, by Peter Wilson, from Harvard University Press

A Lesson in German Military History with Peter Wilson

In his landmark book Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, acclaimed historian Peter H. Wilson offers a masterful reappraisal of German militarism and warfighting over the last five centuries, leading to the rise of Prussia and the world wars. Below, Wilson answers our questions about this complex history,