Introduction
The Conservatory Library's special collections include a large number of historically significant printed treatises from the 16th through the 19th centuries.

Drawn primarily from the Frederick R. Selch Collection of American Music History, the materials highlighted here include some of the most influential writing on keyboard performance practice in the history of Western music.
17th and 18th Century Keyboard Treatises
1605    Haiden, Hans, 1536-1613, Commentatio de musicali instrumento reformato [ML651 .H34 1605]
  • Originally published in German as Musicale instrumentum reformatum, this Latin translation dates from 1610.  In it Heiden describes his invention of the Geigenwerk, a bowed keyboard instrument.
1618    Colonna, Fabio, 1567-1650, La sambvca lincea overo dell'istromento mvsico perfetto lib. III [ML654 .C65 1618]
  • This work describes the Sambuca lincea, an eight-keyboard harpsichord (also known as a Pentecontachordon), invented by Colonna that divided the octave into seventeen parts.

1719    Maffei, Scipione, 1675-1755, Rime e prose del Sig. marchese Scipione Maffei [PQ4712 .M3 1719]
  • Originally printed in 1711, this work describes the newly invented fortepiano, illustrated with an engraving of the hammer mechanism that differentiated it from its predecessor, the harpsichord.
1730    Prelleur, Peter, 1705?-1741, The modern musick-master : or The universal musician [MT6.P744 M6 1730]
  • Includes a basic set of instruction manuals for voice, recorder [flute], flute [German flute], oboe, violin, and harpsichord.
1748    Geminiani, Francesco, 1687-1762, Rules for playing in a true taste on the violin, German flute, violoncello and harpsicord [MT262.P49 I6]
1753    Corrette, Michel, 1707-1795, Maître de clavecin pour l'accompagnement [MT68.C67 1753]
  • A short, didactic method book for the harpsichord.
1754    The Muses delight [M1619.M93 1754]
  • A reworking of Prelleur's Modern musick-master.
1756    Tans'ur, William, 1699?-1783, New musical grammar [MT6.T17 1756]
  • The work was first published in 1746, and Oberlin's copy is the third edition from 1756.  It includes instructions for organ, harpsichord, bass-viol, violin, oboe, flute, and bassoon.  It also includes instructions in music theory and a dictionary of important musical terms.
1758    Adlung, Jakob, 1699-1762, Anleitung zu der musikalischen Gelahrtheit [ML100.A35 1758]
  • This work highlights the design, construction, tuning, and musical function of many now-obscure stringed keyboard instruments and thus illuminates unfamiliar aspects of baroque instrumentation.
1778    Bedos de Celles, François, 1706-1779, Art du facteur d'orgues [786.6 B391A]
  • This work, a lavishly-illustrated four-volume book on musical instrument construction, includes a highly detailed description of French classical organ construction and performance practice.
1780    Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel, 1714-1788, Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen [MT224.B132 V41 1780]
  • This treatise on keyboard performance was one of the most significant theoretical works of the 18th century.  First published in 1753, Oberlin's copy dates from 1780.  It is accompanied by a volume of eighteen practical music examples, titled Exempel nebst achtzehn probe-stucken in sechs sonaten.
1786    Gehot, Joseph, 1756-ca. 1820, Treatise on the theory and practice of music [MT6.G44 1786]
  • Includes brief instructions for playing keyboard, organ, violoncello, guitar, flute, trumpet, and many other instruments.
1790    Panerai, Vincenzo, Principi di musica teorico-pratici [MT6.P26 P8 1790]
  • While focusing on the harpsichord and organ, this work also includes brief instructions for flute, oboe, and bowed strings, including the first printed instructions for the modern tuning of the double bass.
19th Century Keyboard Treatises
1802    Türk, Daniel Gottlob, 1750-1813, Klavierschule, oder Anweisung zum Klavierspielen für Lehrer und Lernende [MT222 .T8513 1802]
  • Apparently modelled after C.P.E. Bach's Versuch, this treatise remained popular throughout the 19th century.
1811    Pollini, Francesco, 1762-1846, Metodo pel clavicembalo [MT222 .P64 1811]
1815    Davis, Joseph, active 1811-1850, A new and complete system of music [MT222 .D39 1815]
1819    Starke, Friedrich, 1774-1835, Wiener Pianoforte [MT222.S72 W5 1819]
1821    Cramer, J. B. (Johann Baptist), 1771-1858, Instructions for the pianoforte [MT222 .C72 1821]
1828    Montgeroult, Hélène, 1764-1836, Cours complet pour l'enseignement du forté piano [MT222.M66 C6 1828]
1836    Montal, Claude, 1800-1865, Art d'accorder soi-même son piano [MT165 .M762 1836]
1841    Hall, Maximilian, 1790-1867, The American preceptor for the piano forte [MT222 .H335 1841]
1854    Burrowes, J. F. (John Freckleton), 1787-1852, New and improved edition of the piano-forte primer [786.3 B94]
1864    Baumbach, Adolph, 1830?-1880, Melodica; or, The art of playing the pianoforte made easy [786.3 B327]
1869    Burrowes, J. F. (John Freckleton), 1787-1852, Burrowes' piano-forte primer, rev. and enl., with additions and alterations by W.C. Peters [786.3 B94.3]
1871    Mason, William, 1829-1908, A system for beginners in the art of playing upon the piano-forte [MT222 .M63 1871]
1876    Kullak, Adolf, 1823-1862, Die Ästhetik des Klavierspiels, 2nd ed [786.3 K959A]
  • The most extensive of all piano methods written in the 19th century, this work went through ten publications between 1861 and 1922.  Oberlin's is a copy of the second edition from  1876.
1877    Lussy, Mathis, 1828-1910, Traité de l'expression musicale, 3rd ed [781.63 L976T]
1885    Palmer, H. R. (Horatio Richmond), 1834-1907, Palmer's piano primer [786.3 P182]
1886    Beyer, Ferdinand, 1803-1863, Vorschule im Klavierspiel [Beyer's Preliminary school for the piano-forte] [MT222.B59 V6 1886]
Subject Specialist
Picture: Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith
Special Collections Librarian
Tel: (440)775- 5181

Back to TOP