Sarabande and Gigue - J.S. Bach

Notes on the Bach piece

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  • Created by: Annie
  • Created on: 18-01-11 20:25

Sarabande and Gigue from Partita in D - J.S.Bach -


  • Two movements from a suite or Partita, which is a series of dances usually in the same key
  • Composed in 1728 - late Baroque era
  • Intended for domestic performance on a harpsichord

Rhythm and Metre

  • Sarabande is a slow, triple time dance...
  • In which the second beat of the bar is emphasised either by length or accentuation
  • This trait is only obvious in bars 1-2, 14 and 29-30
  • Elsewhere, Bach uses less dance-like semiquaver and demisemiquaver movement


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Sarabande and Gigue from Partita in D - J.S.Bach -

(Rhythm and metre continued)

  • The gigue is in triple time
  • There is an almost continuous semiquaver movement with longer (dotted quaver) chords


  • In the Sarabande, the melody line is continually evolved from a basic motif
  • This process (termed Fortspinnung) involves:
  • Repetition and sequence
  • Variation of intervals
  • Rhythmic variation
  • Gigue opens up with a broken-chord pattern, which then gives way to a more conjunct movement
  • Occasional chromaticism features in both dances
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Sarabande and Gigue from Partita in D - J.S.Bach -


  • Functional with
  • Cadences
  • Dominant 7ths (some inverted)
  • Secondary 7ths
  • Diminished 7th
  • Neapolitan 6th
  • Suspensions


  • Both dances are in D major, clearly defined by:
  • Cadences
  • Modulations to related keys, for example A major at bar 12 and E minor at bar 24 of the Sarabande
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Sarabande and Gigue from Partita in D - J.S.Bach -


  • Binary with repeats
  • In both dances, the first sections finish in the dominant key and then return to the tonic through a variety of related keys in the second section
  • Unusually, the second section of the Gigue is the same length as the first


  • Written for harpsichord, so intended for an instrument with a smaller dynamic range and less sustaining power than the modern piano
  • Sarabande features a variety of textures:
  • Homophony (bar 1)
  • Monophony (bar 2)
  • Two-part counterpoint with steadily moving quaver bass supporting the more rhythmically involved upper part
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Sarabande and Gigue from Partita in D - J.S.Bach -

(Resources/Texture continued)

  • Free-voiced textures, that is a passage with varying numbers of parts (bars 11-12)
  • The Gigue opens fugally with each part entering imitatively
  • The second section opens with a new melody line which becomes a countersubject to the original subject when it returns in bar 55
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peter neal

this was a life saver

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