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Questions tagged [j-s-bach]

For questions about the composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Do not use the tag for just his works.

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Appreciating the music of J. S. Bach

I have been learning piano for many years and am able to really enjoy the music of Beethoven and Chopin. However, when it comes to Bach, I must shamefully admit, I can't see why he is held in such ...
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Learning the musical concepts in the book “Gödel, Escher, Bach”

I am reading the book "Gödel, Escher, Bach", in which the author tries to present concepts in mathematics, drawings and music as instances of a certain "pattern", that he calls "strange loops". He ...
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4answers
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Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier Order

I have played a few pairs of pieces from this collection, however it was some time ago. I have the ambitious goal to work my way through the entire collection. It will obviously take me some time to ...
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J. S. Bach's place in musical history

Was there any reason Bach didn't follow the trends of the times? He was surely very much in touch with contemporary composers, and knew of Handel's and Scarlatti's works specifically. Amazingly, he ...
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Was Bach the first to use thumbs on a keyboard?

This question reminded me of a claim that I've heard before, namely, that J. S. Bach was the first keyboardist to utilize the thumbs in his playing technique. I'm not sure where I've heard this, but ...
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2answers
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Why does Brahms stand next to Bach and Beethoven?

I've often heard the expression, "Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms" as sort of a summary of classical music, or something. I feel that I understand why Bach and Beethoven should serve as pillars of ...
15
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1answer
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J.S.Bach's organ tablature notation

Is anyone familiar with some freely available guide explaining in detail how to read Bach's organ tablature notation? Apparently, Bach was very comfortable in using the tablature notation, ...
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4answers
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A♭ major 9th chord in Bach is unexpectedly dissonant/jazzy

Measures 21-24 in Prelude VII from Bach's Well Tempered Clavier I I was looking at the Prelude VII by Bach and noticed that on the measure 23 Bach ended that phrase with a A♭ maj9 chord. I was ...
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Chord in the Bach d-minor prelude

I'm playing the prelude in Bach's d-minor suite. My teacher and I were wondering what the third to last chord is. We didn't find that A, E and D form a chord, but do they? Is the D maybe a "queuing" ...
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3answers
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Trill in Bach fugue WTC 1 BWV 851

In the second bar of the J.S. Bach d-minor Fugue in WTC 1 (BWV 851), we have How should this trill be played?
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2answers
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Training and Influences of J. S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach is undoubtedly among the most celebrated of Baroque composers, and to many the great composer in all history. The era of the late 17th and early 18th centuries in which he lived, ...
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1answer
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How were tuning/temperaments indicated on scores (if they ever were)?

Bradley Lehman claims that the details of the intended tuning for the Well-Tempered Claivier are encoded in the squiggle at the top of the manuscript (related wikipedia link). Are there other (...
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5answers
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What does a mordent written to the left of a note mean?

In this arrangement of Wachet Auf, there are quite a few mordents sprinkled around, as well as trills and grace notes. I understand most of them, but in the middle of this excerpt, right before the ...
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3answers
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Triplets against twos in Bach's music

I was reading up on tuplets and polyrhythms because I was having trouble playing some of Bach's keyboard works containing three-against-two rhythms. Then I found something interesting: (...) It is ...
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2answers
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Notation of triplets in Bach’s *Orgelbüchlein*

In the following piece from J.S. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein, the nearly constant triplet line seems to be incorrect: The time signature is 3/2, but there are 9 eighth-note triplets per measure rather than ...
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Switching from piano to harpsichord

I have been playing the piano for the most part of my life, but I am becoming increasingly interested in the harpsichord. Has anyone made this "transition" before? Are there some pitfalls which one ...
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Authorship of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565

An earlier question mentions the disputed authorship of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565. Several musicologists allege that the work has stylistic elements that are problematic for the ...
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1answer
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Are instructions on organ stop settings included in the notation of Baroque organ music?

I am currently listening to a collection of Bach's complete organ works for the organ. I love Baroque music and Bach in particular, but I am not very familiar with the organ from the performer's ...
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1answer
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What kind of edition and tuning to use to study Bach's fifth cello suite ?

As is well known, this suite was composed for a cello with a scordatura tuning C-G-d-g instead of the classical C-G-d-a. I have seen almost every possible combination: edition for specially-tuned ...
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6answers
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Is it orthodox to use the pedal when playing Bach on the piano?

It is my understanding that Bach's keyboard works were written for the harpsichord, and thus no (damper) pedal is used while playing Bach on the harpsichord. On the piano however, I have heard ...
8
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1answer
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Why did Anna Magdalena Bach write funny accidentals sometimes?

I'm checking BWV 1004 for a project I'm working on. I sometimes see that Anna Magdalena Bach wrote some veeeery strange flats. For example... Bars 113 and 114 from Chanonne. Bar 113 has on the bass ...
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Were the Goldbergs meant to be played in one go?

See, in this very interesting interview (http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2012/03/16/148769794/why-i-hate-the-goldberg-variations) Jeremy Denk has the following to say: The piece is eighty ...
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3answers
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Did J.S. Bach write the figured bass in scores or continuo parts?

This full score for Bach's St. Matthew Passion helpfully has the figured bass written below the continuo part. I found this particularly illuminating, as it helped me to see the harmonic movement ...
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What is the relation between the preludes and the fugues in wtc of js bach?

So I have been studying Bach's famous WTC on piano. Even though I really enjoy the preludes and fugues, and I have found some nice preludes to warm up and exercise my touch and fingers, why did Bach ...
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1answer
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Which Bach chorale preludes are appropriate for different times of the liturgical year?

Is there a guide available that assigns all of Bach's organ chorale preludes to appropriate times in the liturgical year? Bach himself began such a catalog in the Orgelbüchlein. That's the sort of ...
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2answers
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J.S. Bach: Prelude #1 for well tempered clavier: mordent

In a book with this piece given to me there is a mordent in tact 34: on the other hand when I downloaded the piece from the Internet, the mordent at this place was missing: So, did it exist in the ...
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2answers
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What musical instruments JS Bach owned and had purchased during his career? [closed]

What musical instruments JS Bach owned and had purchased during his career? Is there any historical information on Handel, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Scarlatti, Corelli, Tartini?
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Bach: How is this mordent to be realized? Why do people play it like a trill?

So, the old Invention No. 1 by JSB: http://javanese.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/7/72/IMSLP63611-PMLP03267-Bach_Oeves_Complets_Peters_Liv_7_BWV_772-786_2748.pdf The B on the 4th beat of the 1st ...
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4answers
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iii9 - I progression in Bach?

In the last of his 15 Sinfonias (aka Three-Part Inventions), Bach uses quite a daring approach to the tonic chord. Occurring in a sequential progression by downward thirds, it can be described most ...
6
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1answer
426 views

What instrument is this and why is it held so strangely and played?

Looking at this orchestral performance of sinfonia from Bach's 29th Cantata (BWV 29), it is really curious to see the trombonists (?) holding the horn/trombone with one hand and the way they are ...
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1answer
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Is 2 measures sufficient for a fugue subject?

I know what a fugue is. I also have been reading up on the form of the fugue and how to write in counterpoint. I wrote a canon and I have written a sonatina using sonata form. So theoretically a fugue ...
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5answers
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Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor breaks the “no parallel octaves” rule?

I notice in his BWV 565, more well known as Toccata and Fugue in D minor, what looks like a lot of parallel octaves in the fugue. I have studied counterpoint before and every counterpoint resource I ...
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4answers
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Having significant difficulty with Bach's two part inventions for piano

I'm wondering if there are any pieces I could look at before attempting the inventions. Im working through invention 1 in c major and it's quite challenging for me. I suspect the problem is that I ...
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3answers
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Why are the Goldberg Variations considered a demanding work?

In print, the Goldbergs (Goldberg Variations) have a quasi-legendary status, a hallmark of technical difficulty. I was perusing the score and it doesn't look terribly intricate for what's possibly a ...
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4answers
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How to improve/train my memory while playing long pieces on the piano?

This question might result too broad and subjective to answer, so apologize first, but I'll try to make it as specific as possible. Recently I had a piano exam, consisting in three pieces: Partita No....
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1answer
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Harmonizing Bourrée in E minor

Out of interest and just to give myself practice in part-writing, I've been trying to harmonize the popular Bach Bourrée in E minor from his lute suite. It only has two voices, so there is a lot of ...
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4answers
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How do I finger the interleaved 3rds in Goldberg 23?

The bottom line is what I'm talking about. They're interleaved and I'm playing it on one piano (though it's written for two). I've been doing 2/3 in each hand, with the left hand over the right, near ...
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2answers
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Bach's Bourree BWV 996 timing issue

I'm currently learning Bach's Bourree, although I'm into second part of it, I have troubles getting the timing correct. Usually it follows a 3 bar flow (except few places, where it really speeds up), ...
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Why did composers of the Baroque sometimes write two of the same dance in a suite?

In Jacquet de la Guerre's Suite No. 3 in A Minor, there are two Courantes. Later on, in Bach's English Suite no. 1, there are two Courantes, two Doubles, and two Bourées. In fact, all of Bach'...
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1answer
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Why does the first note is the second Bach cello suite(Prelude) sound like C#?

Suite 2 in the Bach suites is in D minor howcome the first note sounds like C# even though its written on the 3rd line(d)?
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1answer
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Theory behind Bach's deviations from the scale

It's very common to see in Bach's work, that he follows a particular scale but then in a special moment, uses a chromatic alteration. What I have observed is that he usually does it when reversing the ...
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4answers
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How can I learn thoroughbass?

I've done some reading and I've discovered that our modern system of music theory (I'm looking at you Roman numeral analysis) is not the same system that most of the great composers, including the "...
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2answers
312 views

Should I use the sustain pedal when playing Bach fugues?

I'm Practicing Bach Prelude & Fugue in D . There is no pedal markings since it from Baroque eras , but i found in Youtube many Concert pianist Performing Fugue with Sustain Pedals. Am working for ...
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1answer
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Tenor part written higher than the Alto part in SATB

I have read that Bach in his chorales wrote the tenor part high (frequently using ledger lines for this). Another source said that the Tenor part would be written higher than the Alto part - for ...
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1answer
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Regarding the beginning of Gould's B minor fugue, WTC 1, performance

I've listened to Gould's performance of this piece many times, sometimes following the score, and I've noticed that maybe Gould plays this piece wrong at the beginning. Unfortunately, I am unable to ...
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1answer
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Should chords in Bach's solo violin pieces be arpeggiated if not marked as such?

So I came across this interesting statement about the way we should play Bach's solo violin pieces. One source claimed that Bach was not a lousy writer — he was actually a very accurate and ...
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4answers
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What are the characteristics of a Sarabande?

I am playing Bach's English Suite in a minor, and am currently working on the Sarabande. I know it is a slow dance of Spanish origin, but not much else. What are some characteristics of the Sarabande?
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1answer
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Learning Order of Bach's Inventions and Sinfonie

Inspired by the question Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier Order, I thought I'd ask what order people would recommend learning to play Bach's Inventions and Sinfonie.
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1answer
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was the 12/16 measure usual in the time of Bach?

We met today this work by Bach with this strange time - strange to me as I've never met before this meter. Of course it is possible ... but I ask if someone knows another composition with this meter, ...
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2answers
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What is this chord in Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2? [closed]

Can anyone tell me what chord Bach notated in the second half of measure 91 in the score below? I can see that the first chord in this measure is FMaj7, which is the end of a circle of fifths chord ...