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Chromatic Lines and Diatonic Progressions

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This essay makes a critical analysis of “Gigue from J.S. Bach's English Suite No.5 in E, BWV 810” with particular focus on the use of chromatic lines, as well as their underlying diatonic progressions. In addition, it takes a look at the use of linear intervallic patterns and the balance between symmetry. It does this by analyzing the forward drive across the movement and the motivic transformations, as well as their interaction with foreground and middle ground voice-leading structures of the classical music. Furthermore, it also accounts for the genre of the piece, as well as its style and effect on the entire musical composition. According to the essay, a gigue was a popular kind of Baroque dance that had its origins in the British Isles and, subsequently, became widespread in Europe under the popular name of the “bowed string instrument”

Bach began his works with a ground breaking publication of his master piece of the six suits. According to the records, six was considered his favorite number for musical instrumental sets. Ideally, Bach had intended his Opus 1 to act as a tribute to the people who had come before him. As such, he sought to include certain aspects of the hypothetical form of the seventh partita. In overall, Bach had developed a clear key scheme that he meant to use in setting radiates outwards in a systematically widening zigzag. This went in the form of B flat-c-a-D-G-e, a pattern that typically requires F to undergo completion. However, it remains quite unclear the reason as to why he eventually settled on his preferred grouping of six, although speculations have it that it could be in respect of costs of publishing his works.

Historically, it has become very hard to decipher a less likely “Opus 1” than the six partitas. Accordingly, to Bach these were his last words in as far as the keyboard suit is concerned. Ideally, they go beyond Bach’s own linguistic sets in variety, intellectual capacity, as well as the technical difficulty associated with them. Indeed, they mark the end of an elongated tradition of elevating a series of dances. As such, the suite continued to be in existence long after that, albeit only in name. Conventionally, Bach and his ilk would have appropriately identified the said tradition as being of French origin, considering that some of his earlier suite movements were almost purely of French models. However, this was not to be, as the French influence had considerably been diluted with several other strands, resulting in a more mature style contained in his work. On the other hand, the Italian versions had also made their initial appearance. For instance, the fast and exciting form of Corrente was nearly swallowing the re-known courante as the French type of gigues became its early casualty in France. Therefore, the coexistence of French and the Italian titles serve only as a rough guide to more sophisticated versions of Bach’s national musical styles. As a matter of fact, his German roots are clearly portrayed in that he rarely considered stopping writing befitting counterpoints.

The strands are either used singly or in woven form with a view of achieving contrast. In the deepest interpretation of traditions as concerns the prelude to imply the free choice of initial movements, he technically acts contrary to the ideals of French overture that starts off number four with number five of Italian style. The fact that pitting one national style in a rival position to another does very little to guarantee that at no time will the two courantes produce the same sound, that makes it much easier for him to select different rhythmic divisions for the different movements. Indeed, it is beneath this that larger scale rhythms that are peculiar slightly to the original dance emerge. For instance, partita number one which made the first appearance in print was a special dedication to Crown Prince who was then an infant son of Prince Leopold, who also doubled up as Bach’s employer. According to him, he could not have presented him with a better gift than a pastoral idyll that was largely unperturbed with any possible angular melody, thereby masking the chromatic harmony. This Praeludium starts off with a rather simple theme that is entirely based on an ascending mode. Significantly, the figures of Arpeggio idealize the Allamande, as the beautiful serenity of Sarabande gives typical melodic filigree with a perfectly marked emphasis on the second beat. Besides, the witty Giga ties a bit of hand crossing, whereby the fun basically lies in a manner, in which the left hand acts swiftly to provide both bass and melody, as the right hand merely serves the purpose of filling in the harmony.

However, it is the commencement of partita number two that gets everything into a world of wild passions. For instance, the slow introduction associated with it is conceived more in orchestral terms. This is classically done with massive chords and more often too dissonant, periods of silence, as well as right hand solos. As such, the remaining movements entirely encompass a-two part writing with profound richness. This exploration continues well into the flowing Allemande, as well as Sarabande, thereby largely leaving the rhythms lagging behind. On the other hand, a typical French courante would typically have short beats punctuated with very strong accents that are not basically rooted in the associated cultures. Ideally, we have the customary gigue marking the end of at least five partitas. For example, we have the Capriccio in number two that largely serves to combine the larger leaps that make Rondeaux with three distinct imitative parts, as can only be attempted with nimble fingers.

The partitas number three and number six are considered to have been written much earlier before others. This is probably due to the fact that they happen to be the only ones that appeared in 1925. The composer must have thought very deeply and critically before making slight alterations at the point of publication. Although the titles of the first movement of number three suggest a quasi type of improvisation, they could have given an opposite implication for Bach. This is the only strict part two of austere, the initial four notes of which largely pervaded all the bars. However, rest of the piece gives a near perfect contrast of sorts between smooth and rough. As a result, there emerges an elegant form of Allamande that contains energetic, as well as aggressive Corronte, and a gentle Sarabande that are very melancholic in nature. The resulting composition reflects typically more humor due to the modifications that were added by Bach in an attempt to make the piece much more of a fitting companion. As such, the gigue remained more civilized in nature than is common in any kind of live dance.

Although the classical music of Bach’s time was marked with overtures rich in grandeur of slow introductory rhythm, Bach himself did not follow this pattern in his creation of Allemande and Sarabande. These works show typically the most intimate Bach could get, especially with the use of simple accompaniments to support the kind of melody drawn from several small ornamental figures. In fact, several writers have associated it with the violin due the fact that it must have been a contribution of tradition instrumental improvising embellishments. This almost resembles the French Courante that also has the features of more decorations, especially on the right part. Besides, the syncopated melody could serve as a representation of the latest musical fashions, especially in Italian music. Ideally, the rollicking gigue comes with two successive themes, in which the second theme often sounds deliciously silly, unless eventually combined with the first theme.

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