Scarlatti Sonata in C Major, K, 159

Feb. 25, 2019

(To all my students:: You should be continually checking here to see what is new.)

The first Scarlatti Sonata I heard….

Domenico Scarlatti lived at the same time as J. S. Bach, so he is one of the three really famous composers from the Baroque period: Bach, Handel and Scarlatti.

Scarlatti officially wrote 555 of these pieces. Most are shorter than five minutes. The “K” is for Kirkpatrick, who went to the immense trouble of attempting to put them all in order by when they were composed. The higher the “K number”, the later in his life they were written.

Some of these sonatas have been so incredibly popular that they have been played on other instruments. Here is the same thing, but it is transposed to D major.

Same thing on guitar, transposed…

Finally the same thing, on harpsichord, which was the instrument Scarlatti composed on. There was no piano in his day.

The pitch is lower, because harpsichord is tuned 1/2 step lower today, the idea being that “way back” the pitch standard was lower.

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7 thoughts on “Scarlatti Sonata in C Major, K, 159

    1. Interesting. In some cases I like this music on the harpsichord, but it has to be a very good performance. I assume you know that the piano, as we hear it today, did not exist back then!

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  1. I used to not quite “get” Scarlatti, because I was listening with the wrong ears. The left hand sort of plays off the right, and then I think I “got it”. It was interesting hearing it played on three different instruments. I liked the different colours that the guitarist brought in.

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