Bach Brandenberg Concerto No.4



  • Instruments include: solo violin, 2 flutes, a 'ripeno' section consisting of 2 violins and a viola, a 'string' sections conisisting of a cello and double bass, and a harpsichord
  • Violin has the main melodic line but the 2 flutes are just as important
  • There are demanding techniques for the violin. For example, a 3 octave span, rapid demisemiquaver passage and double and triple stopping
  • There are constrasts of the solo violin entering after a tutti section b.1-3
  • The harmonic rhythm of the strings, and sometimes the flutes, are slowed down to make the monophonic solo violin more obvious
  • Flutes moves in 3rds and 6ths
  • Tutti sections emphasise cadences
  • The insturments are used to increased momentum through hemiolas
  • Trio-sonata style passage between solo violin and 2 flutes
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  • Ritornello form
  • Split into 3 - Volderstadz, Fortspinnung and Epilog
  • Solo episodes are sandwiched by a ritornello
  • Mostly all the sections end with an Epilog
  • Bach has used a lengthy first sections containing 7 different sections and remaining in G major
  • Structure is marked by modulations - Em and Bm for the shortened ritornello and Am and Cmaj for the middle of the piece
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  • Broken chord patterns
  • Scalic material
  • Inversions
  • Sequences
  • Repetition
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  • Functional and Diatonic
  • Dominant 7ths and Neopolitan 6ths (b.151)
  • Frequent harmonic sequences
  • Harmonic rhythm speeds up towards cadences
  • Circle of 5ths
  • Pedal points
  • Suspensions
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  • G major
  • Modulations to Dmaj, Em, Am, Cmaj and Bm
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  • Melody dominated homophony
  • Trio-sonata style passages between solo violin and 2 flutes
  • Imitation
  • Canons between 2 flutes
  • Antiphonal exchanges
  • Tutti chords vs. monophonic solo violin line
  • 3rds and 6ths
  • Octaves
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  • Syncopation
  • Hemiola
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