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 Post subject: My Bach Project
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:23 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:35 am
Posts: 1418
Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
Heh...I thought I would share this with you guys, not because I'm trying to cheat or anything (anything that you guys could tell me, I could probably find in various other places on the net) but just seeking commiseration for the fact that I have less than two weeks to do this project! My class, Keyboard Literature, has 4 assigned textbooks, and I will link 3 of them that were referenced in the assignment:

Part I:

1. Look through the preludes in Bach's WTC, Bks. I-II and find examples of thirteen of the following fifteen styles (Kirby, Gordon, and Hinson might be of help to you in this.):

a. Arioso
b. French Overture
c. Fugue/Fughetta
d. Invention
e. Toccata
f. Gigue
g. Sarabande
h. Corrente
i. Allemande
j. Siciliano
k. Trio sonata
l. Style Brise
m. Choral
n. Concerto grosso
o. Binary

2. Look through the 48 fugues and find the following totals:

a. 2-voice fugues
b. 3-voice fugues
c. 4-voice fugues
d. 5-voice fugues

Part II:

Choose 2 preludes and 2 fugues in the same key, one from each volume of the WTC by J.S. Bach. Prepare an analysis of each that compares and contrasts them, and notes important compositional features of each. Does Bach treat the preludes or the fugues in the same way just because they share the same key? What is the same? What is different? In the preludes, look at the structure, style, number of voices, key relationships, and meter. In the fugues, look at the number of voices, subjects, countersubjects, entrances, use of stretto, augmentation, diminution, and inversions. In addition, make sure to answer the following questions, as they apply to your pieces:

1. Are there rhythmic patterns, figurations, or motifs that unify the prelude?
2. Are there re-occurring scalar or arpeggio patterns throughout the prelude?
3. Is there invertible counterpoint in the prelude?
4. Is there an over-arching key scheme in the prelude?
5. What is the texture of the prelude?
6. How do the tempo and meter affect the character of the prelude?
7. How many voices does the fugue have?
8. Do the fugue subjects appear in augmentation? Diminution? Stretto? Inversion?
9. Is there an countersubject in the fugue?
10. Are the fugal answers tonal or real?
11. Is there a double or triple subject in the fugue?
12. Do the fugal episodes use sequences? Imitation?
13. Do you see any connections, motivically or otherwise, between the prelude and the fugue?
14. What is the over-arching structure of the fugue?

Xerox each prelude and fugue, and analyze it with a color-coded system. Mark main motifs, key areas, invertible counterpoint, fugue entrances, etc. (all of the above, as applicable) onto the scores. Mark the main subject/motif in one color throughout, the countersubject in another color, etc. Then, write 1-2pp. of summary (1-2 paragraphs on each), putting your observations into prose form. Submit both the summary and the scores.


Okay. So I've already done the second part of Part I, since that was easy (2-voice=1, 3-voice=26, 4-voice=19, and 5-voice=2), and I think (with the help of the textbooks) that I can finish the first part of Part I tonight. For Part II, I picked B-flat Minor, and I hope to be able to finish that part this weekend, even though it's not due till a week from this coming Wednesday. If I finish it early, I can run it by the prof some time this week to make sure I did okay.

I am enjoying this project already, because it is causing me to look at the WTC, especially the preludes, in a way I never have before. I will enjoy finishing Part I tonight, and I think I will really enjoy working on Part II. I picked B-flat Minor because I did the WTC I set for an audition recently, and I'm not familiar with the WTC II set at all, so I thought that would be a nice contrast of familiarity and ignorance. I am really digging the fugue of the WTC II set. I'm glad PS has recordings of it, because I wasn't able to sightread it very well - it's hard! Heh...it was hard enough to sightread just the subject and its answers/variations throughout.

Have any of you guys done projects like this before? I really like these sorts of projects, but they're not easy. Wish me luck!

"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin

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