The Unaccompanied String Works of Bach - Article 2steemCreated with Sketch.

in #classical-music3 months ago

Hello everyone! This article has my notes from today's class. Today, we discussed several things in class. This article will be divided into three different sections:

The challenges of interpreting a hand written manuscript
Analyzing Phrases
An Analysis of Menuets 1 and 2 from Bach's first Cello suite

The challenges of interpreting a hand written manuscript

Today we discussed the different recordings that we had listened to, and how virtually every recording had different interpretations of articulations. The professor then showed us a photo of Anna Magdalena Bach's handwritten score for the menuets. We discussed how easy it is to see one marking in several different ways. I had learned this the hard way on my own the day before while trying to copy it so that the edition I used for my analysis here on Steem would be accurate. I doubt it was. . .

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Notice how sloppy the markings are, and how many of them can be viewed in so many different ways. I guess it isn't all that surprising that they couldn't print out their music back then. . .

Analyzing Phrases

Next, we went over our harmonic analyses for the first menuet. First of all, the nature of the piece means that many of us had different analyses which are technically correct. The professor made the point that sometimes just analyzing sections as T (tonic) PD (predominant) or D (Dominant) is enough. We then discussed the phrasing, and learned several new terminologies.

First, for a group of 2 phrases, there are several different things to label.

First of all, the phrase length. If both phrases are the same length, then they are symmetrical.

Second of all, is the way the phrases begin. If the phrases begin the same, they are parallel. If the phrases begin differently, they are contrasting. A problem arises here because what is labeled the same or different is subjective. For instance, in the Bach Menuet, the phrases begin with the same rhythmic figure, but different pitches. This means the unit could be labeled as parallel or contrasting, and be technically correct from one perspective.

Last of all, is how the phrases end. If both endings are equal in conclusiveness, they are labeled a phrase group. If the second (or third in some cases) is more conclusive than the first, they are labeled a period.

An Analysis of Menuets 1 and 2 from Bach's first Cello suite

Below you can see my analysis of meneuts 1 and 2.

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As you can see, both A sections consist of 4 measure phrases which can be labeled as Symmetrical Parallel Periods. Similarly, both B sections consist of 8 measure phrases which can be labeled as Symmetrical Contrasting Periods. These 8 measure phrases can also be divided into 4 measure sub-phrases. These create Symmetrical Contrasting Periods as well.

Again in regards to harmonics, please do not consider my analysis to be 100 percent correct. Harmonic analysis of this music is subjective, and I am still a student.

Here is a recording of Yo Yo Ma playing both menuets:

Thanks for reading this! I hope to continue posting my class notes. I hope that you have learned something reading it. Please ask questions if there is something you do not understand! Thanks again! See you later!

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