I've been tasked by a textbook I'm going through to make a harmonic analysis of the G major "Gavotte" from BWV816, "The French Suite" specifically minding a handful of questions regarding how the piece modulates. Arriving at bar 17, the B section — having charted some fairly standard common-chord-modulations either to the relative E minor or D Major — I halt at the introduction of F natural, wondering how to view its significance.
As I see it, bar 17 begins on a G chord, seemingly establishing the key of G instead of Em again, which the prior phrase cadences on. What of the F naturals though, first the one that the bass line skirts by, and then the first note of the upper line, bar 18?
Would one consider this a secondary dominant harmony: G7 to a very brief C major decorated with a "sus - 4 - sus 2 - 3"-pattern? (I.e. a very short-lived modulation, I suppose?). Or is it better viewed just as the key of G taking a "mixolydian"-like F natural in order to fulfill some contrapuntal/linear concerns that have been developing in the piece? I realize this is probably a matter open to interpretation, I'm just interested in what may perhaps be learned from the weighting of various interpretations.
(I should add that, with how quickly this piece progresses in a typical recording, I find it quite hard hearing a "G dominant to C" moment being borne out, in the heat of the moment — even with intent repeat listening. But that might just be par for the course with this kind of contrapuntal texture and tempo.)
Audio with notation (timed to Gavotte m. 9 -- start of B section):