Getting started

Probstücke Digital is a digital edition that aims to edit the 24 so-called Probstücke of Johann Mattheson. Mattheson published these pieces for the first time in 1719 and in 1731 again in the Große Generalbass-Schule. These pieces are written for a keyboard instrument, but contain nothing more than just a single figured bass line. All the other voices required to turn them into a full piece need to be improvised by the player. They can be understood as sketches, that do not yet define how a final version might sound like.

Mattheson wrote a comment on every Probstück. These comments contain valuable hints on how the particular piece might be realized, which makes the Große Generalbass-Schule one of the most important German sources for thorough-bass playing in the 18th century. It is all the more surprising that these pieces and their comments were never published before in a modern critical edition.

Due to the nature of the material edited here, there are two perspectives that need to be taken into account: The perspective of the musicologist and of the performer.

Probstücke Digital provides diplomatic transcriptions of the original music and text encoded as in MEI and TEI. Many editorial notes help to understand which matters Mattheson is referring to. A bibliography and index of persons give an overview of the referenced works and other musicians and theoreticians that Mattheson is referring to.

For the performer’s needs, many tools are provided. For example, it is possible to have additional staves above or below Mattheson’s original bass line in order to easily work out different realizations.

At the same time, Probstücke Digital aims to create a platform that lets a performer view a Probstück from as many differents perspectives as possible. We include more and more material as for example exemplary realizations, recordings or lessons.

Overview on the features of Probstücke Digital.

Everything is centered around the score and and its linking with corresponding comment. Around this, many different tools are arranged.