J.S Bach, Cantata Ein Feste Burg - Mov.1

Context

- Cantata's became key vocal works in Baroque period

- This is one of his most famous cantata's and uses a Lutherian chorale 

- Written for Reformation Day

- Bach wrote many cantata's while he was the Cantor in Leipzig, Germany

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Performance forces & handling

- Scored for SATB choir and orchestra, which closely double the vocal lines

- No instrumental introduction -UNUSUAL

- Written in fugal style 

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Structure

- Closely related to tonality

- Uses fugal subject and answer 

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Tonality

- Tonic key is D major 

- Modulations to closely related keys (typical of Baroque harmony): Bars 1-2 = Dominant

                                                                                                                Bars 12-16 = Subdominant

- Some transitionary modulations in Bars 73-80

- Ends in D major

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Harmony

- Harmony is rich and varied

- Functional harmony

- Use of figured bass 

- Perfect cadences establish modulations

- Use of suspensions (bar 13)

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Texture

- Mostly fugal, contrapuntal texture

- A lot of imitation used

- Cantus firmus is maintained through the canon

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Melody

- Use of CANTUS FIRMUS, especially the first 2 bars of Luther's chorale

- Mostly conjunct

- Ascending sequences used

- Mostly diatonic but some chromaticism (Bar 99)

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Rhythm, Metre and Tempo

- 4/2 metre

- Tied notes give a sense of momentum

- Note lengths vary

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Rhythm, Metre and Tempo

- 4/2 metre

- Tied notes give a sense of momentum

- Note lengths vary

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