A Schenkerian Analysis of Preludio from Bach

11 November 2017

The keyboard and lute suites deservedly have more published analyses than the string suites – considering there are simply more of them – leaving the cello ND violin suites pristine and practically untouched, and unjustifiably so. The most obscure are the violin suites, particularly the BOW 1006 in E major. With the exception of the well-known published analysis by Schooner of the Preludes, Carl Catheter’s analysis of the Gavotte en Roundhead, no other analysis can be found of this parity.

Building on Schooner and Chatters, I present my own Cankering analysis of the Preludes. With the help of David Beach’s book on unity in Bach suites and Joel Luster’s book on Bach’s solo violin works, I address mitotic and structural coherence In this artist with some observations that apply to all of Bach’s violin suites. Bach composed six unaccompanied works for the violin in the year 1720, three Sonatas ad Chelsea and three Parties.The “parity”, as understood during Bach’s time, was a set of variations; as one might infer, this definition implies that some or all movements of each parity are variations of each other. The 1006 has seven movements and the only violin parity that begins with a prelude. David Beach addresses the first two of three violin Parties in his book, observing the importance of the neighbor action as a mitotic pattern in the first and second Parties. I wish to call attention to the great significance of the neighbor motion that Is present In the third Parity as well.

A Schenkerian Analysis of Preludio from Bach Essay Example

The Preludes opens with a lower-neighbor figure E-D#-E, and the figure occurs within every modulation. It’s noteworthy that Reline itself, in fact, contains an Incomplete neighbor. The Gavotte en Roundhead Is the literal embodiment of the variation concept. Being the only violin parity with a Rondo movement, the notion that a parity is a set of variation is most evident through this parity. Regarding Gavotte en Roundhead. Carl Chatters suggests that as the episodes Increase In complexity, the retooling seems more and more parenthetical.In a sense the two episodes can be organically linked over the retooling, and thus the concept of the Rondo is realized even more so beyond its sacrificial sectionalism degrees Continuing with this notion, I suspect that as a whole, the movements of BOW 1006 can be linked together specifically because It is a set of variations, despite its superficial differences.

Structural coherence of the parity can be inferred from the Prelude_ The piece is typically heard as two sections that are quite similar, while this division seems insignificant, it suggests a subtle element of variety.Being a prelude, it would have similar two-part divisions, or other movements will also have varying sections. To facilitate an in-depth analysis of the Preludes, I have produced foreground and middle ground graphs. However, I made my graphs after consulting Schooner’s own analysis of the Preludes. As one of Schooner’s earlier analyses, it is noteworthy that he reads the Reline as an 8-line; this octave-line interpretation creates more problems Han a reading from 3. However, the basic, fundamental idea Schooner presented provides a blueprint for a reading, which, in my view, is more accurate.Schooner offered FIG.

I in conjunction with the 8-line Reline, without specifying exactly what the relationship is. I propose that Schooner intuited the significance of the neighbor motion in the Reline, and read 8 as a cover tone. From Schooner’s figure above I present my notion of the incomplete upper neighbor [FIG. 2]. The De- emphasis of the returning 3 as a passing tone from 4 to 2 lends importance to the incomplete upper neighbor A, supported by ‘V. This self-contained tonal area stretches over half of the Preludes.A reprise of an opening passage at the initiation of the A prolongation gestures its independence from its surrounding, indeed a smaller organism enveloped within the larger animal.

This is evident through the internal auxiliary cadence to A that accompanies the tonal area ‘V. In retrospect, the IV is already a long-term goal from the beginning. The first 58 measures properly set the stage for the emergence of ‘V. The first step on the path to IV is the movement to VI as a short-term goal. This is done by first moving to G# (m. 9) through F# (m. 37), creating a third progression E-F#-G# in the process.

The G# is employed first in the top voice as primary tone and then in the bass as pedal point, also the fifth to the incoming C# (m. 51) [FIG 4. EX. 1]. The C#, in a sense, is a midway stopping point from E major on its way to A major. A# in measure 53 leads to B, creating yet another third progression G#-A#-B. The B is to be read not as V of E but as II of A, unfolding to tonic through two consecutive fifths B-E-A [EX.

2]. As we shall see, the contour of the bass forecasts what is to come; additionally this prelude thin the Preludes presents the material for further elaboration and development.Now firmly in A, a memorable passage from measures-28 is restated in the new key, as though a second beginning. This reiteration casts upon listeners a sense of home, even though the music has strayed to a new tonal area. As I stated before, the 58-measures prelude will matured and grow in its new environment. The bass progression moves in the similar contour as the early 58 measures. The F# (VI) in the bass being a third below A, serves as a short-term goal as a midway stopping point on its way to D# (VIA).

The long-term relationship between A and D# results in a trim- tone which intensifies the arrival of V [E, 4].The midway F# is unfolded from G# the same manner as the unfolding of A from B, through two consecutive fifths F#-D#-G# [E, 3]. The internal Reline is initiated by C# over A in [E, 2], and falls upon an implied B above the D# as 2, the B is prolonged over the V in a 6-5 motion [E, 5]. The path between V on its way back to I is quite sophisticated. In the treble, a sequential circle of fifths is used to take the fifths (E-B) to the octaves (A-A) [E, 5. 5]. With an 8-7 motion, he A octave becomes a 87 chord.

The B acts as pedal point at this point in the bass [E, 6].As the seventh of B resolves to G#, B leaps a third to D#, which then is out a D#7 chord reaching a high A, thus the end of the internal Reline is reached. It should be noted that Schooner pointed out a large-scale voice exchange, consisting of B and D# between measure 120 and measure 128 [see foreground graph pig. 8]. The V in the bass refrigeration is now approached with utmost anticipation as the weight of the entire Preludes shifts upon its imminent arrival; with only a few measures left, en has to wonder in what magnificent way the V will be executed to counterbalance the monumental build to the ‘V?As the internal Reline is fulfilled in measure 131, two descending third progressions in parallel sixths [E, 7] bring forth the most dramatic, German style of violin execution: one dotted quarter 87 quadruple stop that brings the Preludes to a single halt, as the V is finally in place. The effective but swift gesture is sustained by A, the seventh, no longer an incomplete upper neighbor but supported by V. As the A moves through to a 7-6-5 motion is created over V as Reline scale degree 2 is reached [E, 8].

The bass returns home to its original tonic E in measure 137, and the Reline is satisfied as well with E in the treble.The last two measures are coda, finishing the piece in a similar manner as it opened, unfolding itself back into the high E through two octaves. Extended bow technique is demanded to perform the Preludes, perhaps more so than the other movements; but that is not to say the big shifts and the frequent adjusting to unconventional positions is any more comfortable for the left hand. The consistent stream of sixteenth notes in a fast % invokes immediate association to a keyboard prelude. Furthermore, the multiple voices created through exploiting the full range of the instrument allows for keyboard features such as pedal point, register shifts.Combined with multiple subject entries and modulations, this piece contains mature Baroque characters of a Bach keyboard prelude. Ironically, Bach wrote such a prelude for a most unsuitable instrument, perhaps with the knowledge that only with correct and virtuosic execution can its full intended effect be achieved.

As I begin to understand the purpose of each note, I play the piece better. Mindless playing and racketing is unfulfilled and futile, and can only produce the most stiff and lifeless imitations of music, if I may quote Schooner.

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