Essay about Johann Sebastian Bach, The French Suites, And The Partitas For Keyboard

Essay about Johann Sebastian Bach, The French Suites, And The Partitas For Keyboard

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Johann Sebastian Bach, born in 1685 in Germany, composed over 1100 musical works ranging from orchestral and chamber music to vocal and choral works. Although he was not appreciated during his life-time, he thoroughly enriched the sounds of his native country’s music as well as artists and composers after him. His keyboard masterpieces include The Well- Tempered Clavier, Inventions and Sinfonias, and three collections of dance suites: the English Suites, the French Suites, and the Partitas for keyboard. The three collections of suites are among the most prestigious piano pieces.
Musicians and musicologists have debated the name of these three keyboard works for years. The authenticity of the works’ titles is the initial controversy. There is no proof of Bach giving the suites or partias specific names. He simply called them, “Six Suites for Harpsichord”, “Six suites for the same [i.e. clavier]” (English) and “Six more of the same, somewhat shorter (French)”. Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg, a well-known German music critic, theorist and composer, gave the suites these titles. Because he was amicable with the Bach family and several other musicians, his accounts have been trusted through the years, although they cannot be verified.
The English Suites, the French Suites and the Partitias for keyboard assume a four-part framework: a German allemande, French courante, Spanish sarabande, and English or Irish gigue. Often, Bach included short dances, such as a loure or an air, after the sarabande and before the gigue. These movements generally follow a binary form with each section repeating. Binary form is composed of are two major main sections of music that are contrasting, but usually similar in length. The first section will begin in t...


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...through music, beginning with peaceful and joyous allemande and concluding with a hasty and eager gigue. Although Johann Sebastian Bach never traveled from the country of Germany, he was fully aware of the style of French musicians. For example, he followed the nation’s tendency toward grouping together several different movements reflecting the rhythms of popular ballroom dances. These dances offer a range of moods and in this case, various national spirits. The Key of G Major is said to be “insinuating and persuasive”, according to the Doctrine of Affections. The initial piece, the German allemande, essentially introduces the overall texture of the piece: simple and elegant. With a slower tempo, Bach entices the listener to hear the different melodic lines and create a story of his or her own choosing. Once again, he re-enforces his activity in the galant movement.

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