Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Keyboard Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Naoko Takao

Second Committee Member

Santiago Rodriguez

Third Committee Member

Tian Ying

Fourth Committee Member

Lansing McLoskey


Jiří Antonín Benda’s solo keyboard works, and his thirty-five keyboard sonatinas in particular, remain largely unexplored by modern scholars, pianists, and pedagogues. This essay aims to draw closer attention to these sonatinas, focusing on the applicability of two essential eighteenth-century performance practices—extemporaneous embellishment and variation of reprises—in these works. The first three chapters provide the historical background of Benda’s sonatinas, the purpose of the study, a biographical sketch of the composer, a review of the literature pertinent to Benda’s life and his keyboard works, as well as the structure and method of research employed in the subsequent chapters. A survey of C.P.E. Bach and Türk’s treatises, highlighted in chapter 4, yielded (1) a classification of extempore embellishments and types of variation of repeated material, as well as (2) a set of aesthetic criteria determining the appropriate context for such embellishments. A crucial preliminary step in devising ornamentation, identifying the melodic outline of the original melody, is discussed in chapter 5 along with the extracts from Bach’s Six Sonatas with Varied Reprises, Wq. 50, which illustrate various types of embellishments and variation. The sixth chapter establishes the appropriate context and type of embellishment or variation, and offers variants of such embellishments in selected sonatinas by Benda, all based on the principles and examples found in the previous chapters. The conclusion of the essay highlights the process of devising extemporaneous embellishments in Benda’s sonatinas, which can be applied to other eighteenth-century keyboard works.


Benda; Keyboard; C.P.E. Bach; Varied Reprises; Embellishments