Partita No.4: Sarabande and Gigue - Bach

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  • Created by: becky
  • Created on: 09-03-16 09:59


-Each movement begins in the tonic of D major 

-Always modulation to the dominant key of A in each movement

-End of B section returns to tonic via related keys such as B minor (relative minor, and E minor (relative minor of the subdominant)

-Uses major/minor tonality with modulations to related keys

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-Rounded binary form

-Use of rhyming endings (same endings but different keys)

-A section ends in the dominant, B section returns to tonic but references the A section which makes it rounded


-Normal binary form

-Contains fugal elements but isn't a regular fugue

-A section ends in dominant key, B section returns to tonic without reference to A section

-Rhyming endings using broken chords, end of A descends, end of section B ascends

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General Information

-Written for a harpsichord

-Written in the baroque period between 1726 and 1730

-Sarabande and gigue were originally dances

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-Functional harmony which relies on perfect cadences and standard chord progressions to establish and maintain major/minor tonality

-End of Sarabande and end of Gigue use perfect cadences

-Harmony is largely diatonic

-Triads are mainly in root position or first inversion

-Chords are frequently arpeggiated

-Examples of dissonance throughout in order to create harmonic tension

-Use of extended chords (mainly 7s, eg bar 8)

-A diminished 7th over a tonic pedal is seen in bar 12

-Examples of suspensions (bar 75 and 77 of gigue)

-Faster harmonic rhythm leading up to important points

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Rhythm and Meter


-Simple triple time with slow beat (3/4)

-Emphasis on second beat of bars

-Mostly constant quaver rhythm in the left hand with semi/demi-semi quaver movement in the right


-Compound triple time (3/8) 3 sets of 3 quavers in each bar

-Mainly continuous semiquaver movement

-Usually semiquavers in one hand only, occasionally in both hands at the same time

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What makes this piece baroque?

-Movements built upon one theme or set of motifs with little thematic contrast

-Same mood (affekt) maintained throughout each movement

-Themes built upon uniform rhythms

-Active bass line, constantly moving (walking bass)

-Contrapuntal texture with use of fugato in the gigue

-Relatively quick harmonic rhythm (frequently changing chords) with cadences on the strong beats

-Tension is fairly constant

-Energetic and repetitive motor rhythms

-Melodic lines spun out with avoidance of cadence

-Many single suspensions

-Use of ornamentation such as appoggiatura and mordents

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-Melody dominated homophony

-2 part texture, but some examples of monophony 

-Starts and ends each phrase with chords


-Fugato texture

-Starts monophonic but becomes polyphonic with addition of counter melody

-Occassional examples of monophony with arpeggio movement

-More frequent chord use than in the sarabande


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-Mainly conjunct movement

-Some scalic patterns in faster moving passages

-Some disjunct movement and use of broken chords

-Frequent use of melodic sequence and motif

-'Fortspinnung' - sequential use and repetition of motif

-Occassional use of ornaments such as mordents

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