Musical Form – Renaissance Era: Toccata

Opening sequence of Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV 565

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 interludes, generally emphasizing the dexterity of the performer’s fingers. Less frequently, the name is applied to works for multiple instruments (the opening of Claudio Monteverdi‘s opera L’Orfeo being a notable example).

“L’Orfeo” – Toccata by Monteverdi


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