Arts & Culture | Empfindsamkeit | Classical Era | Classical
The term Empfindsamkeit (meaning ‘sensitivity’) is associated with a particular aesthetic outlook prevalent in north Germany in the mid-eighteenth century. It refers to an intimate, melancholic expression, the ideals of which are found in the music and writings of C. P. E. Bach. His style is often rhetorical, with sudden pauses and changes of key, and expressive leaning appoggiaturas and chromatic notes. One of his fantasias is said to represent Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. His keyboard sonatas are best played not on the harpsichord with its even dynamics (the strings are plucked), but on the clavichord or piano, which allows finer gradations of tone (the strings are struck).
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