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About Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

(1714-1788) Classical Period – Germany

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the second surviving son of Johann Sebastian and Maria Barbara Bach. He never had any music teacher beside his father. Unlike Sebastian who studied several instruments, Emanuel only played keyboard. He attended law school because his father wanted him to have the university education that he lacked. However, it was clear that Emanuel’s passions lied in music. He was the court harpsichordist for Frederick II of Prussia for nearly 30 years, eventually leaving to take over Telemann’s post in Hamburg, Germany.

Emanuel was the foremost composer in the empfindsamer Stil, a style largely associated with solo keyboard works and characterized by abrupt changes of mood. He is the author of the "Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments", which is still one of the most important writings on the subject. He was the most prolific of Sebastian’s sons, composing symphonies, concerti, chamber music, songs, and solo keyboard music.

Learn more about Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in our blog, Take Note.

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