Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Music and Dance

First Advisor

Joel Schoenhals

Second Advisor

David Pierce


Joharm Sebastian Bach is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, giving musicians and listeners a wealth of music. He was a dedicated church musician in the traditional Lutheran church at Leipzig during the 18th century. He appears to have been a perfectionist where music was concerned. His son C.P.E. Bach had recalled his father saying, "Above all I must know whether the organ has good lungs", and to test this he would pull out all the stops--literately. While he played the richest and fullest texture possible, the organ maker would pale in fright hoping that his creation would withstand its own might.

Toccare is the Italian verb meaning to touch and play. Although this piece was written for the harpsichord, tonight's performance is on the piano. I believe it is most appropriate to explore dynamics through the sense of touch expounding upon the idea of toccare on a keyboard instrument that evolved from the harpsichord. This piece contains alternating sections in which you will hear free styles of improvisation against rigid fugal sections for a striking contrast.