Accompanied keyboard music
- Michelle Fillion
A term used to describe 18th-century chamber music with a substantially or fully written-out keyboard part and one or more accompanying instrumental parts. 18th-century sources most often designated these works by such terms as sonata, trio, terzetto, or divertimento for harpsichord or, simply, keyboard (later with the option of fortepiano), ‘with the accompaniment of’ or ‘that can be played with’ a violin (or flute), with or without cello. The accompanying parts could also be optional (ad libitum), resulting in the popular commercial practice of arranging solo sonatas as accompanied works. Larger ensemble scorings, especially the concerto-inspired grouping for keyboard instrument, two violins and bass, were also possible. Accompanied keyboard music is the direct ancestor of 19th-century chamber music with keyboard, especially the sonata for piano and violin and the piano trio.
To limit the genre to sonatas for fully written-out keyboard (without patches of continuo) and subsidiary or optional accompaniment is to capture only a segment of this vast and heterogeneous repertory. The genre appears concurrently with and as a manifestation of the rise of the harpsichord as a solo instrument, in a sense as a corrective to its purely supportive role in the Baroque sonata for melody instrument and continuo. As the small-ensemble counterpart to the emerging keyboard suite, sonata and solo concerto, accompanied keyboard music bore the stylistic marks of these three genres for decades. The solo sonata with continuo accompaniment, however, played virtually no role in its development; both genres were cultivated independently into the second half of the century, often by the same composer (e.g. C.P.E. Bach), before the continuo sonata disappeared with the demise of the thoroughbass tradition....