Brandenburg Concerto No.4 movement 1 (BACH)

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  • Context
    • Brandenburg Concerto No.4 movement 1 (BACH)
      • Forces
        • Violin and 2 recorders
        • String Section
        • Seldom had more than 4 violinists
        • The word ripieno at the start indicates that these staves are solo parts
        • A harpsichordist accompanies both groups with chords that improv.
        • Clear distinction between the virtuoso violin and simpler recorders
      • Structure
        • Ritornello form
          • Ritornello 1, Solo 1, Riternello 2, Solo 2, Riternello 3, Solo 3, Riternello 4, Riternello 1
            • G-Rit, solo Emi-Rit, solo C-Rit, solo Bmin- Rit     G-Riternello 1
            • 1-83 Rit 1, 83-137 Solo, 137-157 Rit 2, 157-209 Solo 2, 209-235 Rit 3, 235- 323 Solo 3, 323-344 Rit 4, 345- 427 Rit 1
          • Riternello means a little return- refurs to the use of shortened repititions between contrasting episodes
            • An episode is a different part
        • Chord progression I-V-I which is repeated 4 times to emphasise the key of Gmj
      • Dynamics
        • Although there are no dynamic markings, there are changes between the concertino and ripieno
          • Loud when all are playing
          • Quiet when only the concertino is playing
      • Rhythm
        • 3/8 indicates simple metre but if you tap it with your foot it sound like one-dotted crotchet beat per bar
        • Syncopated rhythms in the recorders in bars 4,6,15 etc
        • the continuo in bars  79-80 goes into 3/4 time
      • Melody
        • Often include arpeggio figures that outline the underlying chords
          • 2nd recorders arpeggios  in bars 1-2 clearly trace the triads played by ripieno strings
        • Harmonically charged melodic lines are particularly obvious in the extended viiolin solos
        • Spinning out of short motifs to form  longer melodic lines, often by using sequences and varied repitition
        • Use of counterpoint melodies in ars 35-36 and 43-44
      • Harmony
        • Chords I and V play a vital role in asserting the key in the longer ritornellos
        • Neapolitan 6th Bar 155
        • Harmonic rhythm varies throughout the piece
        • Tonic pedals help to reinforce tonal centers eg bars 83-89
      • Texture
        • Use of counterpoint  and contrapuntal combination of motifs
    • A concerto is a large-scale composition for soloists
    • Concerto Grosso
    • Written between 1717 and 1722 for the court of Cohen
    • Given to the ruler of the Brandenburg states

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