toccata

toccata
/teuh kah"teuh/; It. /tawk kah"tah/, n. pl. toccatas, toccate /-tee/; It. /-te/. Music.
a composition in the style of an improvisation, for the piano, organ, or other keyboard instrument, intended to exhibit the player's technique.
[1715-25; < It: lit., touched, ptp. fem. of toccare to TOUCH]

* * *

music
      musical form for keyboard instruments, written in a free style that is characterized by full chords, rapid runs, high harmonies, and other virtuoso elements designed to show off the performer's “touch.” The earliest use of the term (about 1536) was associated with solo lute music of an improvisatory character.

      In the late 16th century in Venice such composers as Giovanni Gabrieli and Claudio Merulo wrote organ toccatas (many with such titles as Fantasia and Intonazione), often achieving a majestic virtuosity by means of florid scale passages, embellishments, unsteady rhythms and harmonies, changes of mood, and freedom of tempo. Merulo initiated the later common practice of alternating fugal sections (fugue) (using melodic imitation) with rapid toccata passages. In Rome, Girolamo Frescobaldi (Frescobaldi, Girolamo) (d. 1643) composed toccatas that consisted of highly improvisatory sections loosely strung together, marked by sudden changes in harmonies and figuration. They were intended to be played with a free tempo and could be performed in their entirety or in one or more sections. Frescobaldi's German pupil Johann Jakob Froberger (Froberger, Johann Jakob) was an important transmitter of the style to Germany. Like his teacher, Froberger delighted in the use of chromatic harmonies (using notes foreign to the mode of the piece); and, like Merulo, he characteristically placed a contrasting fugal section between introductory and closing passages in toccata style.

      The juxtaposition of improvisatory and fugal passages—which appealed to the Baroque fascination with the union of opposites—became a prominent feature of the toccatas of the organist-composers of north Germany, culminating in the works of Dietrich Buxtehude (Buxtehude, Dietrich) and, later, J.S. Bach (Bach, Johann Sebastian). Buxtehude's toccatas, in contrast to, for example, those of Frescobaldi, are shaped by an underlying formal structure. Two, even three, fugal sections often alternate with toccata passages, and the fugue subjects are frequently variations of a basic motif. In the late Baroque era, as in a number of works of J.S. Bach, the association of the two opposite styles often took the form of an improvisatory first movement (termed prelude, toccata, fantasia, etc.) followed by a fugue, as in Bach's well-known Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565, for organ. Toccatas were occasionally composed after the Baroque era, a notable example being the third section of Claude Debussy's suite Pour le piano (composed 1896–1901).

      The term also refers to a processional fanfare for trumpets and drums played at important state occasions from the late 14th through the late 18th century. The most famous example is the opening toccata from Claudio Monteverdi's opera Orfeo (1607).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • TOCCATA — Terme utilisé en musique, à partir de la fin du XVIe siècle, pour désigner une pièce destinée à être touchée (toccare ; de même cantare a donné cantata et sonare , sonata) sur instrument à clavier. Auparavant, toccata s’entend parfois de pages… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Toccata — (von italienisch toccare „berühren, betasten, anfühlen“) ist eine der ältesten Bezeichnungen für Instrumentalstücke, speziell für Tasteninstrumente, und ursprünglich von Sonata, Fantasia, Ricercar etc. nicht sehr verschieden, jedoch meist von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Toccata — (from Italian toccare , to touch ) is a virtuoso piece of music typically for a keyboard or plucked string instrument featuring fast moving, lightly fingered or otherwise virtuosic passages or sections, with or without imitative or fugal… …   Wikipedia

  • Toccata — Toccata, adagio y fuga BWV 564 Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Toccata, Adagio y Fuga BWV 564 es una composición para órgano de J.S.Bach, compuesta en Weimar en 1716, siendo una de las más destacadas del repertorio del instrumento y de los mayores… …   Wikipedia Español

  • toccata — (n.) 1724, from It. toccata, from toccare to touch. A composition for keyboard instrument, intended to exhibit the touch and technique of the performer, and having the air of an improvisation …   Etymology dictionary

  • Toccata — Toc*ca ta, n. [It., fr. toccare to touch. See {Touch}.] (Mus.) An old form of piece for the organ or harpsichord, somewhat in the free and brilliant style of the prelude, fantasia, or capriccio. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Toccāta — (ital., von toccar, mit den Fingern berühren), Tonstück für Tasteninstrumente (Orgel, Klavier). Die ältesten Tokkaten für Orgel sind die der beiden Gabrieli (1593) und des C. Merulo (1604). Dieselben haben keine feste Form, sondern wechseln bunt… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • toccata — s.f. [part. pass. femm. di toccare ]. 1. [il toccare una volta o leggermente] ▶◀ tastata, tocco. ‖ palpata. 2. (pop.) [lieve insulto cardiaco] ▶◀ attacco, (pop.) bottarella, (pop.) colpetto, colpo …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • toccata — (izg. tokàta) ž DEFINICIJA glazb. kraća skladba za klavir, orgulje ili drugi klasični instrument s tipkama, najčešće u brzom tempu ETIMOLOGIJA tal. toccare: dodirnuti …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • toccata — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 7}}[wym. tokata] {{/stl 7}}{{stl 8}}rz. ż Ia, CMc. toccataacie, muz. {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} kompozycja muzyczna o charakterze improwizacyjnym, wirtuozowskim, z zastosowaniem na przemian partii akordowych i szybkich pasaży,… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • toccata — ► NOUN ▪ a musical composition for a keyboard instrument designed to exhibit the performer s touch and technique. ORIGIN Italian, touched …   English terms dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”