Bach - Agnus Dei

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  • Created by: sharvey08
  • Created on: 30-04-14 10:29

Context within work, genre

Context within work, genre

  • From the Last section of the B minor mass.
  • Solo aria, followed by a chorus
  • Alto solo, violin ritornello with a low tessitura - low lying violin melody
  • Obbligato aria - have to have instrumental line interlinking with solo voice line - Violin line esential
  • This music is from one of his earlier works
  • Old style of composition - elaborate
  • Prima prattica - old style - first style, some harmonic features more elaborate
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Text and text setting

Text and text setting

  • "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of world, have mercy on us".
  • Minor tonality - starts in G, opening 8 bars set the tone for these words.
  • Opening ritornello has lots of features which give it a lamenting feel
  • Poignant intervals, eg: diminished 5th :F# to C ( bar 2) and uses diminished 7th in violin ritornellos, chromatic shapes who add to this feel.
  • Pairs of slurred quavers also, sometimes we get an appogiatura.
  • Most syllabic setting apart from the word " Misere" - means mercy - always melismatic
  • Opening vocal melody descends, which gives a depressing feel.
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Melody and Rhythm

Melody and Rhythm

  • Ritornello melody uses some particular motifs
  • 1st melody has an arpeggiated shaped - disjunct and angular.
  • Uses of diminished 5ths and 7ths throughout. Bach often used angular shapes and pattern refers to under scale of work
  • Second idea (bar 3), uses slurred quavers, some of them being appogiaturas
  • The rests in the continuo creates a sigh- like feel
  • Vocal line: Descends, long phrases especially in bar 17 - "misere" - goes on.
  • Irregular phrase lenths, unsettling
  • In places, vocal line quite linear, beginning tune "agnus dei"
  • In other places, not so linear and has lots of chromatisism for example when the melody is in D minor (bar 27)
  • 1st melody is sequential
  • Lots repeated
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Tonality and Harmony

Tonality and Harmony

  • Starts in G minor (The tonic)
  • Bar 27: D minor (the dominant)
  • Bar 31: Returns to G minor ( The tonic) with some examples of dissonance (bar 1) also a chromatically altered chord (beat of bar 1) - Not what you'd expect
  • A dissonance between C in violins and G in basso in bar 1.
  • Use of Neopolitan 6th, bar 2 - Ab chord in 1st inversion- goes through Dminor in bar 4.
  • Moves to C minor in second half of bar 5
  • Uses diminshed triads in harmony
  • Diminshed 7th full in bar 7
  • False relations in bar 9, F followed by F# in bar 14, Ab moves to A natural in bar 18.
  • Generally, very chromatic harmony.
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Texture

 

 

Texture

  • Instrumental: 2 part texture, when the voice comes in; its a three part texture
  • Its broadly a contrapuntel texture. Bar 13, 14, immitation between voice and violin.
  • The violin obbligato, immitates the voice.
  • A canon when the voice first comes in between the voice and violin obbligato - cannon at the 5th.
  • Bar 17, violins play ritornello from the opening melody against the melody in the voice
  • Bar 31 - repeats canon at the 5th
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Structure

Structure

  • Ritornello form. Bars 1-8 opening ritornello.
  • Bar 9 - Vocal melody comes in A section.
  • Bar 13 - ritornello in violin part
  • Bar 17 - move to D minor and ritornello material in violins
  • Not as sectional as laudamus te, less ritronellos but in bar 23 there is 4 bars of ritornello, intergrated with voice, with the ritornello against it. Bar 27, back to beginning melody but chnages direction. Bar 31 mmoves back to Gminor.
  • Short ritornello in D minor in middle of aria, opening melody in bar 9 is reprised in bar 31.
  • The structure has similiarities with Laudmaus te but not such clear divisions between sections.
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