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Johann Sebastian Bach

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Multimedia Tools Appl. Liu, C. Lung Lo, Y. Meek, C. In short one can surmise that Bach probably started with some version of Werckmeister III, and then he moved towards something more evenly tempered. By the first book of the WTC in , he would have used something in which every key could be used equally as a tonic. By equal temperament was well established in musical society, though in practice was "humanised" a bit to retain a nuance of the old traditional key character.

So close that the debate of exactly which temperament he actually used is of less importance. My conclusion is that one can use the equal temperament without any feeling of making any serious mistake. The actual tuning of the instruments at use is more of a problem, as the quality of tuners varies a lot. More on that on the tuning pages. The 12 first Preludes and Fugues of book I.

Prelude and Fugue a 4 in C-major. The prelude is a succession of soft broken chords and no melody. The difference in tension between the chords forms the basis of the structure , as it at the same time forms the phrasing. A basic understanding of the harmonic system is an absolute necessity in order to play this piece properly. The player has to underscore certain chords and notes by means of subtle rubato. The prelude belongs to the group of 11 preludes written for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. There are three earlier versions of the prelude, all shorter than the piece as it exists in its final form.

The fugue subject, evolving from an organ fugue of the Weimar period — , consists of 14 notes that are of great significance. Bach, interested in numerology, regarded the figure 14 as representing his name. Numbering the alphabet, B is 2; A is 1; C is 3; and H is 8. The letters added together equal The theme is presented 24 times in only 27 bars, 18 of those entries in the middle section occupy only 19 bars!

Of the 24 entries of the subject, 22 run to completion. The fugue is a stretto fugue in four parts and divided into four sections with a coda. Stated in simpler terms it might read: the fugue lacks the normal counter subject and the theme is both subject and counter-subject at the same time. The Fugue has a very noble and distinguished character and is quite difficult to play. Students who begin their study of the WTC with the C-major Prelude — which is easy to play — can easily be discouraged from playing more Bach as they encounter the surprising difficulty of even just fingering the fugue — not to mention meeting the further challenges of clearly bringing out all four voices with a noble character and correct phrasing.

The playing can easily sound clumsy and unclear. Prelude and Fugue a 3 in c-minor. In this case, it's not broken chords, but a repeated motion that is heard on the surface. And likewise will the difference in tension between the chords form the basis of the structure, as well as it forms the phrasing. Bach increases the tension at the end of the prelude and inserts a little cadenza with a rare tempo indication in the text Presto. There are only six tempo markings by Bach in all of the 24 preludes and fugues of book I.

I this prelude he uses three of them presto—adagio—allegro! This is the chord structure of the second prelude in C minor with a proposed phrasing. The fugue has achieved great popularity and has become a must for both pianists and for theorists. It's easily the most written-about fugue in the entire WTC.

In spite of its minor key, it exhibits a streak of humour and is great fun to listen to and to play. The fugue has not one, but two, countersubjects! The second countersubject, containing mainly slow notes, is much more difficult to hear than the first countersubject, despite being just as consistent in its appearances. Prelude and Fugue a 2 in C-sharp Major.

This prelude , of which an earlier shorter version exists, is a two-part piece with the quality of a badinerie, a jocular dance that appeared in the suites of the 17 th and 18 th centuries. It's a very brilliant piece and should be played — in my opinion — brilliantly. Bach was known for his fantastic technique and to play him always seriously, as some pianists do, I think, is a mistake.

So this prelude and very brilliant fugue has to be played with great virtuosity and showmanship in the best sense of the word. The fugue is in three sections, including a recapitulation. This construction is similar to da capo design. I think that the music has an instrumental character. Witness its wide leaps and fast running figures.

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  • Bach: Prelude and Fugue No.24 in B minor, BWV 869 Analysis.

The fugue is one of the most difficult to play in the whole of Book I, as the unusual key of C-sharp Major forces to put the fingers in between the black keys in many of the fast passages. At full speed this is not comfortable thing to do Prelude and Fugue a 5 in C-sharp Minor. Bach rarely used the key of C-sharp minor; his best-known work in this key is the Adagio from the Violin Concerto in E major.

Subject and Counter-Subject Detection for Analysis of the Well-Tempered Clavier Fugues

The prelude stems from a shorter version in the Wilhelm Friedemann note book, and is an arioso of great expressiveness and beauty. The C-sharp minor fugue is one of only two five-voice fugues in both books of the WTC the other being the B-flat minor fugue, also in Book I. Baroque composers regarded it as the symbol of the cross ; if, on paper, one connects the B-sharp and D-sharp by a line, and C-sharp with E, the figure created is a diagonal, resting cross.

Bach later used the theme in the crucifixion choruses of the St. John and St. Matthew Passions. The very serious symbolism in the theme also sets the very dark atmosphere for the piece. This fugue is a triple fugue and it's very long. In fact with its measures, this fugue is the second longest in the Well-Tempered Clavier.

Glenn Gould - Bach Toccata in e minor BWV 914 - Fugue

I t is obvious that a discussion of keyboard Preludes and Fugues would be incomplete without mentioning the name Johann Sebastian Bach and giving due consideration to The Well-Tempered Clavier. It is also obvious that any composer who undertakes to write individual or collections of Preludes and Fugues for keyboard instruments will, eventually, have his or her work compared to Bach's justly famous "forty-eight.

This is especially likely to happen if the offending miscreant is still alive, has a local mailing address, and composes in musical idioms that fall hard upon the ears of the lazy-listening public. Thankfully, this is not the only way that comparisons to Bach and his truly magnificent contributions to the art of music have to be made. Composers can have Bach in mind when writing Preludes and Fugues for keyboard instruments, solo instrumental works, cantatas, concerti grossi, and so on. They can use him not only as a general inspiration but also as a creative guide by modeling their music directly on specific works of his.

If produced by a truly gifted composer, the new works are far more than pastiches; they are truly significant contributions to the art of music and are among the best ways to honor the memory and achievements of Bach or any other great composer living or dead. They are also golden opportunities for us to conduct comparative studies of them and the models on which they are based.

Such studies give us a chance to imagine and notate possible steps in the compositional process. Exactly that type of comparison of excerpts from Dmitry Shostakovich's Opp. I will begin with some introductory remarks and a brief summary of the literature on Shostakovich's Opp. Next I will comparatively analyze portions of the fore-mentioned works and The Well-Tempered Clavier , during the course of which general techniques of musical variation that can be used to compose out from Bach's source works and arriving at Shostakovich's finished pieces will be revealed.

Fugues BWV - Details

Evidence supporting the contention that the experience of writing the Op. Shostakovich's op. Dmitry Shostakovich wrote two sets of preludes for piano: a group of five in the early 's, and the Op. According to Richard Taruskin, Nikolayeva:. She won the prize. After returning to the Soviet Union, the understandably inspired composer "sat down in October [ Discussions of Shostakovich's Opp. Writers have also commented on connections between passages found in Opp. Ivor Keys, writing in for Music and Letters, for example, notes similarities between Shostakovich's Op. Only occasionally thereafter does the [Russian's] music actually allude to Bach.

Two thesis-length studies have noted inter-relationships between Op.

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Thomas' study 7 is the most extensive, discussing the influences of thirteen Bach model works on ten of Shostakovich's own compositions. In , R. Adams published a comparative study of the fugues in Shostakovich's Op. Limiting a comparison of the Op. Table 1 shows it is possible for a Bach fugue from either book of the Well-Tempered Clavier to have influenced the composition of a Shostakovich Op.

The scant literature on Shostakovich's Op. Thomas' study contains the most detailed look at the relationship between Shostakovich's Op. He notes that the fourth Op. Similarities between the accompanimental patterns of Op. He concludes, based on those "examples and other less specific similarities, Shostakovich drew much from this earlier set in composing his [Op. While Thomas' statements and comparisons are valid and helpful, they only begin to scratch the surface of the many subtle connections between Shostakovich's Op.

And no research of which I am aware has ever been conducted using the Op. But the Op. Why has the relationship of Shostakovich's Op. There are at least two possible reasons. First of all, research on Shostakovich's music in general is, apparently, very much in its beginning stages, and discussion has focused principally on his relationship with Russia's communist government and his "more important" works such as his symphonies, string quartets, and so on. The concept of a composer's "important works" and the belief that only they are worthy of serious study is too confining.

Rather we should be striving for as complete and thorough a knowledge as possible of the music of Dmitry Shostakovich or, for that matter, any other composer. Many composers besides myself, I am confident, feel that their "most important work" is the one being written at the moment, that all their works have an equal value in the long run. To get a sense of "their work" critics and scholars must see their life's output in music in as much of its totality as possible.

What we consider to be "minor" works may very well contain seeds of creative ideas that eventually get taken up and dealt with more fully in a composer's "major" works. Perhaps the working out of the idea in the so-called minor piece might be more easily grasped for the first time than if seen for the very first time in the major work. Looking at both "important" and "unimportant" pieces gives us a fuller and more complete perspective that we otherwise might have missed. Similar to this issue of a composer's "important work" is the problem of determining what piano preludes are or, what they are not.

The standard definition of preludes in general and piano preludes specifically allows for their being grouped in collections of more than one. For collections of preludes to exhibit signs of large-scale cohesion between movements, however, is impossible. This issue has been raised in at least three scholarly sources: Leonard's book and Aster and Lee's studies of Shostakovich's preludes have all emphasized this.

Case Studies in Interpretive Analysis. What, if this is really the case with Shostakovich's Op.

It is plain to see the rhythm of the head of Bach's fugue is prominent at the outset of each of Shostakovich's preludes. After a slightly closer look at the beginning of Op. By shrinking Bach's minor second C-B to the unison F -F that appears on the last half of beat one, expanding Bach's fourth to a seventh G -F and then inverting its direction, we arrive at Shostakovich's first measure. Using the same techniques in a slightly different way generates the opening materials of Shostakovich's prelude Op.

Expanding Bach's descending minor second to a major one and then inverting it gives the C-D that appears on the last half of Shostakovich's m. Thus the Op. I do not know which of the two Op. Seeing the Op. The following case studies will demonstrate that they are also connected to the Op. Case Study No. Case study no. Even brief passages such as these show how much chronology can help us interpret and deduce possible steps in Shostakovich's creative processes. Taruskin observed that the opening chord of the Op.

A look at the first figure in Shostakovich's Op. Excision, transposition, re-arpeggiation, and augmentation are creative devices similar to the intervallic expansion, contraction, and inversion that are at work in the F and C minor preludes Op. Chordal restoration, the opposite of excision, can be used to generate in part the beginning of Shostakovich's Op. Arpeggiation is not at work in Op. Instead the rhythm characteristic of the sarabande is masterfully appropriated, simultaneously providing the piece with a rhythmic life of its own and strengthening its connection to baroque music in general without further reference to any specific model piece.

Figures 1 and 2 illustrate the processes proposed in this first case study; in each, a few simple steps are taken to transform Bach's first chord from Well-Tempered Clavier to the opening material of either the Op. In Figure 1, we first excise the right hand of Bach's arpeggio figure and transpose it down an octave.

Then we dissociate the rhythmic element of Bach's figure from the harmonic element leaving a string of running sixteenth notes and two statements of a C major triad in six-four inversion. Next, augment the value of the "dissociated rhythmic element" to generate eighth notes and rearrange the last four pitches of the "dissociated pitch element" from E, G, C, and E to G, E, C, and E.