Legato is an italian term meaning played smoothly or connectedly (literally “tied together” in italian) so there is no break in the sound between the notes. Legato notes are marked by a slur (a curved line joining two or more notes).
Past participle of legare (“to tie together/bind”), from Latin ligō (“tie, bind”).
The circle of fifths organises the 12 pitches of the chromatic scales into a sequence of perfect fifths. Starting on a C, the next note is G (counting C as 1, G is 5), then D, A, E, B, E, F# (Gb), Db, Ab, Eb, Bb, F (returning to C).
Each key has it’s own key signiture showing which combination of notes are to be played in each key.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) was born in Salzburg (modern day Austria), to a composer, Leopold Mozart.
Taking early instruction from his father, Wolfgang was an accomplished keyboardist by the age of 5, and also composed music (although his compositions were almost certainly corrected and improved by his father, Leopold).
Mozart wrote 18 Piano Sonatas, and although they are not as popular as Beethoven’s set, they are still held in high esteem amongst pianists and musicians.
Some of Mozart’s most popular Sonata movements include:
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) was a composer from the late Boroque period of classical music.
Born into a family of musicians, Bach was first instructed by his father, Ambrosius, and later at the age of 10 by his eldest brother, Johann Christoph.
Counterpoint and Harmony
A contemporary George Frederic Handel, Bach is also renouned for his conterpount and harmony, which can be found, for example, in his fugue writing and his harmonisations of contemporary hymn melodies.
Some of Bach’s most well known keyboard works include:
The Well Tempered Clavier Books I and II
Each of these books include 24 preludes and fugues of varying difficulty.
The Goldberg Variations
Each variation of this lengthy keyboard work employs the same underlying bassline.
Two and three part inventions
As with the fugues, these works are highly contrapuntal.