The earliest players of distinction were John Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750, and Domenico Scarlatti, 1683-1757. To these might properly be added the name of George Frederic Handel, 1685-1759. who, though mainly famous as organist, was also m superior player upon the harpsichord.
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About John Sebastian Bach and Domenico Scarlatti
The student must bear in mind the fact, that the instruments then in use were very limited in their capacity. Lack of space forbids us giving a description of them, suffice it to say that they were simply the precursors of the present square and grand piano. Bach was the greatest clavichord player of his time. His touch was clear and exact, his fingers formed almost a straight line and their motion was scarcely perceptible. He insisted upon the use and equal training of all the fingers.
He was m most remarkable improvisator and his powers of working out themes in the contrapuntal style, were simply astonishing. His many compositions are still object of admiration, and no pianist would consider his education complete without having thoroughly studied them.
Scarlatti was the greatest player of his country. His style was graceful and fluent. While upon the whole his works are simple, they, nevertheless, present here and there difficulties, which give even experienced players plenty of work to do. Though his Sonatas are not very extensively known, they are still played.