The structure is free and of character improvisatoire and virtuoso - arpeggios, milked, pedal, etc Initially intended to make it possible an instrumentalist to contact an instrument (as lets it guess its etymology), it derives then to become a demonstration of the talent of the interprets and to make it possible to make assess the qualities of the instrument.
The toccata was especially of use, in the Baroque music, in Italy - Frescobaldi - and in the Germanic countries - Sweelinck, Froberger, Buxtehude, Muffat, Bach, inter alia. It is in those that it takes its most important dimensions.
It can be a part isolated, or, mainly with the organ, associated in a more or less narrow way with the Fugue.
At Buxtehude, the two forms alternate in kinds of polyptic musical imposing which multiply the episodes - up to thirteen in the same part.
At Bach, the toccata is in general followed of a running away: she plays the same part then as the Prélude or the Fantaisie. Its ''' toccata and running away in minor D ''' (organ, BWV 565) is universally known. Bach also composed of the toccatas for the harpsichord, parts independent of high virtuosity.
Jean-Sebastien Bach: 5 toccatas and runnings away (major C, major F, minor, dorienne and semi D major)
- the toccata of Maurice Duruflé (of his Continuation opus 5 for organ)
- the toccata of Augustin Barié (in so minor, of the Collection of Three Parts for organ)
- the toccata of Louis Vierne (in his 24 Parts of Imagination)
- the toccata of Widor (final of its 5th Symphonie for organ opus 42)
- the toccata of Leon Boëllmann (final of its Gothic Continuation opus 25)
- The toccata of Eugene Gigout
And most famous toccatas for piano:
the toccata of Maurice Ravel (last movement of its continuation for piano the Tomb of Couperin )
- the toccata in major C opus 7 of Robert Schumann
- the toccata opus 11 of Serge Prokofiev
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