Bach Partita Number 4

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  • Created by: violasoph
  • Created on: 20-04-16 09:56

Structure

-Both movements are in rounded binary form which is an A section and B section and then a modified repeat of the initial A section. 

-The modified A section is much shorter and ends in the tonic

-Both halves of each movement are repeated

-Sarabande second half is longer than the first, Gigue has both halves of equal length

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Texture

-Sarabande has 2-part texture, with decorative flowing melody using mainly semiquavers in the right-hand and flowing quaver bass line in the left hand

-There are brief moments of light homophonic texture at the start and end of sections.

-The gigue is fugal, so opens monophonically with the fugal subject on D, then a 2-part texture with the enterence of the second part on A and then a 3-part texture with the 3rd part entering on D. Then the start of B section opens with a new counter-subject, also monophonically, and then builds up to 3 parts again, with very occasional 4-part chords. 

-After the entry of the 3 fugal subjects the 3-part texture is varied and there is a long passage of free ounterpoint.

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Tonality

  • Both movements are in the same key, as was common to all dances in Baroque partitas (suites) – here D major
  • Both movements modulate to the dominant at the end of the A section with a perfect cadence in A major
  • Both movements explore related keys in the B section
  • Both movements have a broken chord figure in bar 2 which includes a C natural, suggesting a chord of D7 and a brief modulation to G major
  • Both movements end with a modified repeat of A which ends in a perfect cadence in the tonic key of D major
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Harmony

  • Functional harmony
  • Bach uses perfect cadences at end of A section and at end of each piece
  • Harmony is largely diatonic, though often quite complex
  • Frequently a whole bar outlines a single broken chord, eg first bar of Gigue
  • Faster harmonic rhythm near main cadences, end of A section of Sarabande
  • Some chromaticism eg diminished 7th over tonic pedal at end of A section of Sarabande
  • 7th chords are common eg bar 8 of Sarabande outlines dominant 7th of A major
  • Neapolitan 6th harmony in bar 23 of Sarabande (first inversion of flattened supertonic)
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Melody

  • Sarabande flowing semiquaver RH melody, with mostly conjunct movement, almost sounds improvised
  • Opening bar of fugal subject in Gigue is based on broken chord figure
  • Leaps tend to outline chords, eg bar 1 of Gigue outlines tonic chord
  • Many scalic runs, eg bar 11 of Sarabande
  • Occasional ornaments eg mordent in bar 1 of Sarabande (player may decide to add more eg trills)
  • Much of the music sounds like written out ornamentation eg Sarabande bar 28
  • Frequent use of sequence eg Sarabande bars 5-6, bars 3-4 of Gigue
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Rhythm + Metre

  • Both movements are in triple time. The Sarabande is in simple triple time but the Gigue is in compound triple time.
  • The traditional Sarabande has an emphasis on the second beat of the bar. The Bach Sarabande shows this in bar 1. The music is slow and stately. The right hand melody is flowing semiquavers and demisemiquavers, the left hand flowing quavers.
  • The Gigue is fast and lively, with almost continuous semiquavers.
  • There is frequent use of delicate syncopation, eg Sarabande bars 5-6
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Rhythm + Metre

  • Both movements are in triple time. The Sarabande is in simple triple time but the Gigue is in compound triple time.
  • The traditional Sarabande has an emphasis on the second beat of the bar. The Bach Sarabande shows this in bar 1. The music is slow and stately. The right hand melody is flowing semiquavers and demisemiquavers, the left hand flowing quavers.
  • The Gigue is fast and lively, with almost continuous semiquavers.
  • There is frequent use of delicate syncopation, eg Sarabande bars 5-6
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