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Investigations into C.P.E. Bach's concertos has generally focused on their possible agency in the emergence of the classical concerto while overlooking their relation to to his own contemporary theoretical landscape. In recent decades, however, as views seeing in Bach a “pre-classical” composer has faded away, a new assessment of his works has come within our reach. Rather than striving to anticipate later classical formal traits, it is now acknowledged that composers were rather playing with the expectations of their immediate audiences. Such an interpretation, much resembling James Hepokoski's recent theoretical construct of dialogic form, was not foreign to the eighteenth century and can be traced as far back as the works of Johann Nikolaus Forkel and even Bach's own theoretical work. Hence, it is from these and other eighteenth century sources that the “horizon of expectations” of Bach's audience can and ought to be extracted.

In this paper I propose a two-fold system for the analysis and re-evaluation of Bach's works along these lines. Drawing upon Heinrich Christoph Koch's theory of inter-punctuation and Robert O. Gjerdingen's recent study on eighteenth century schemata, I begin by delivering an overview of the inter-punctuating cadential plans employed in the expositions of Bach's Berlin concertos and then survey the disposition of various schemata on these cadential grids. With the result I intend to contradict earlier assumptions concerning Bach's formal design in these works and substitute them with a new, more historically informed model.

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