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These registrally flexible voicings largely went out of fashion by the mid-eighteenth century Germany, and only survived in the Netherlands and North Germany partly because of the disposition of the Noth-German organs. Chorale preludes with the melody in the tenor and bass were typical to the seventeenth century, but theorists sporadically describe this technique in the eighteenth century. Bass harmonization, such as in figure 2. As Kirnberger points out, chorale harmonization in the bass requires a slightly different harmonization than any other voice due to the harmony-generating quality of the bass in the Baroque style.

Chorale harmonization in the bass, and in the inner voices traditionally played an important role in hymn accompaniments and was still taught by late eighteenth-century theorists. He stressed the importance of the study of chorales, where he clearly distinguished a structural voice-leading skeleton from surface level ornaments in free compositions, such as arias: Every aria is basically nothing more than a chorale composed according to the most correct declamation, in which each syllable of the text has one note, which is more or less embellished according to the demands of expression. The true basis of beauty in an aria always depends on the simple melody that is left when all its decorative notes are eliminated.

If this simple melody is incorrect in terms of declamation, progression, or harmony, mistakes cannot be hidden by embellishment. He should first compose an elaboratio that is musically satisfying in its own right, embellished with decoratio patterns. His reduction of two arias demonstrates these two levels.

in the Eighteenth-Century Lutheran Tradition

This reflects the aesthetic of J. Bach, following strict voice-leading principles: Figure 2. In figure 2. Putnam Aldrich discussed the ways that Kirnberger uses harmony to both articulate or avoid articulation of melodic phrases and phrase divisions. An experienced eighteenth- century organist would have selected a Zwischenspiele to separate or a secondary dominant to connect chorale phrases in improvised congregational accompaniments, and would have followed the meaning of the words.

In addition to his bicinium, Kirnberger provides examples of three- and four-voice structures on Ach von Himmel sieh uns darein. His trio on the same chorale, like his bicinium, opens with a Vorimitation section followed by the cantus firmus entrance in the middle voice. In the following four-part setting of Es ist das Heil Kirnberger uses similar figures to fill third leaps in all voices.

Students in composition recognized the easiest places to ornament and started with the most idiomatic and convenient patterns to do so. Chapter III: Model-based Improvisations The function of memorized elements in improvisation is best illustrated with model compositions. As I showed earlier, the interaction between decoratio and elaboratio is the most generative level for improvisation.

In the following model compositions, decoratio and dispositio are closely modeled on repertoire so that we can learn from the way past improvisatory masters have handled certain problems. Great repertoire shows great solutions for different problems: for example in the opening chorus of the cantata Nun komm der heiden Heiland, BWV 61, Bach applies French decoratio patterns to a chorale setting, which is a challenging compositional task.

I will first analyze the two pieces focusing on their decoratio patterns, and then I apply these patterns to the melodies of Freu dich sehr and Aus tiefer Not.

One of the best examples of omnes versus 56 chorale preludes is J. Throughout the piece, the figurations are applied to all voices equally, while preserving the chorale melody largely unadorned. For example, he has set the melody in three verses, with one variation for each voice in descending order: soprano, alto and bass. Decius uses the same words for the all three verses.

The first verse uses scalar motions, the second cross motives, and the third is a beautiful wave-shaped melody in triple meter rounded with a double-metered coda. This dispositio provides a gradual increase of intensity in volume assuming the organist adds stops for each verse , in texture the addition of the pedal for the last verse , and rhythm tripled motions and fast diminutions in the coda. Bach uses perfect patterns: the scalar motions in the first verse are consonant and soothing, the cross motives of the second verse provide rhythmic and harmonic tension between the melody and the two voices; and finally the opening motive of the third verse evokes soothing and comforting feelings.

Robin A. Leaver, Lantham, Md. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, Measure 10 is the most dense measure texturally in this verse, which prepares the climax of the cantus firmus entrance: Figure 3. Cantus firmus entrance in the top voice Bach uses figuration for textural contrast between phrases of the chorale. Improvising such decoratio figures requires memorizing various augmented harmonizations of the chorale that can be embellished with passagework in any voice.

The last variation is marked by the entrance of the pedal, and a shift from double to triple meter. The opening motive mimics the ascending and descending shape of the chorale melody, followed by a coda that recycles scalar motions of the first verse. BWV may provide dispositio and decoratio patterns for improvisation. An improviser can use its formal structure and decoratio patterns or any combination of those. The first variation uses scalar patterns, while the second uses the cross motive and a wave-shaped melody, stolen from Bach.

The main decoratio pattern of the first verse is: Figure 3. Main decoratio pattern in variation I. The length of decoratio patterns varies according to their metric position in relation to the chorale melody. Similarly to Dutch cantus coloratus techniques, an improviser needs to be flexible enough to apply learned patterns to a recognized schema. In our case this also means distributing figurations equally between the inner voices.

On beat three in m. However, on beat two of m. To keep the rhythmic flow constant, the eighth-note motion has to continue with Schneller figures in the alto voice. Also, in measure 4, the descending alto line is comfortable to play in one hand position. Schleifer decoratio of BWV as applied to Freu dich sehr Verse 2 contains more technically demanding passages.

The chorale in the middle voice blocks out an important portion of the keyboard that is difficult to cross with figuration. The bass and the soprano lines have a limited range, while the thumb has to play the chorale melody. Salti composti decoratio of BWV as applied to Freu dich sehr Technical convenience is hugely important in determining the choice of improvised patterns. Some patterns, especially the intricate voice leading of BWV , are simply too difficult to improvise.

In the improvisational learning phase, an improviser would try out all the possibilities to fit this pattern to other basses. Figure 3. Cadential decoratio patterns Figure 3. Less dissonant cadential pattern Figure 3. The result is an amalgam of memorized and improvised elements that draws on elements stored subconsciously in long-term memory. First, the chorale is sung by the choir in unison, in a hybrid cantus firmus and chordal treatment, while the orchestra is assigned to ritornelli in a characteristic French Overture form with dotted rhythms and runs.

The writing clearly focuses on the challenge of combining the fixed French ouverture form with an innovative cantus firmus treatment. The faster fugal section is a transformation of the second line of the chorale into triple meter: Figure 3. I have used the original version, even though many eighteenth-century composers often normalized it to a minor mode: Figure 3. Phrygian and minor versions of Aus tiefer Not The French character of BWV 61 largely owes to the dotted rhythms and scalar ornamentation that are clearly presented in the opening ritornello.

This ritornello is a veritable mini-prelude: it constitutes a phrase model of T-PD-D-T that establishes the tonic and it incorporates the melody of Nun komm den heiden Heiland in the bass: Figure 3. Opening phrase of BWV 61 In the imitatio phase, an improviser needs to personalize the material borrowed from repertoire. Opening phrase of BWV 61 with alternative bass line In addition to this harmonization, there are many other harmonic solutions, such as harmonizing the melody in b minor first bass line of the example below.

It is also remarkably easy to modulate to the relative major by transposing the second half of the phrase up a third: Figure 3. This learning phase was essential for me to have the structural understanding to feel comfortable adapting decoratio and elaboratio to a different chorale melody. Dispositio of my improvised overture The ritornello is transposed to the last note of the chorale phrase, a standard practice in chorale preludes. Below is the dispositio of the ritornello, followed by the chorale entrance in the soprano notated an octave lower : Figure 3.

Melody in the top voice When the melody is placed in the bass, the phrase structure expands with an extra measure, which reasserts the tonic followed by a direct modulation to the dominant. The cantus firmus in the pedal repeats the tonic-dominant-tonic progression, resulting in a repetitive elaboratio structure.

Melody in the bass with extra measure Adding decoratio patterns make this harmonization possible, but it is harder to embellish repetitive harmonic structures lacking clear harmonic goals. Melody in the bass Such details of structure are often decided during the improvised actio, even though these choices more immediately influence the elaboratio of the material and have implications on the dispositio as well. As we have seen in these two applicatio examples, improvised dispositiones are flexible schemes that can accept many different versions, forms of elaboratio and decoratio.

Voicing the cantus firmus in the soprano or the bass has major implications on the form, as well as on the harmonic structure of any dispositio: these levels are intricately interconnected. The rest of the improvisation works according to similar patterns: the chorale melody is harmonized either in the soprano, the pedal, or an inner voice as in the third phrase, for example and the ritornelli are transposed to the cadential notes of each phrase, bridging the gaps between them.

At the end, I have used a longer cadential formula on a pedal note, similar to a cadenza by Spiridione with a different decoratio patterns. Conclusion In recent years many musicians have become increasingly interested in historical improvisation techniques, in part because of increased interest in historically informed performance practice.

But equally important, Baroque improvisational skills offer us a historical understanding of music theory, which is absent from much music theory education today. Improvisation necessarily involves the simultaneous use of music theory principles and performance techniques. Even with limited training in the partimento tradition, a keyboard player, for instance, would be able to better distinguish structural notes from embellishments and learn to fluently invent personal ornaments and stylistic alterations in any repertoire.

One might say that improvisation is not an academic subject; I argue that it needs to become one. Many contemporary composers still compose at their instrument, and improvisation was the trigger that made composers of many performers. Improvisation tightens the tactile and sonic relationship between the performer and the instrument, a relationship which has limitless potential for engendering new musical ideas.

Historical improvisation also connects our creative process with our Western musical heritage, as music history connects performance practice with its history. What better way to interact with the music of improvisatory masters such as Bach than by practicing the discipline in which they were saturated?

Introducing improvisation to the classical music curriculum for historical styles will make these styles more approachable, flexible and alive. European schools have long excelled in the teaching of improvisation.

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The organ department of Paris Conservatory, for example, focused on improvisation for much of the nineteenth century. The Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, McGill University and the Eastman School of Music have been distinguished by excellent instruction of historically informed performance and improvisation practices. I believe that every student should be given the opportunity to interact with theory and their instrument, learning from this dynamic, inspiring, and challenging element of our musical heritage. Improvisation cements the bond between performer and instrument, just as it did for Bach, and in so doing, the art of improvisation cements our musical bonds with the masters that came before us.

Bibliography: Aldrich, Putnam. New York: Oxford University Press, Callahan, Michael. Christensen, Jesper. Brown, Christopher Boyd. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Dreyfus, Laurence Dana. Gebhard, Hans. Frankfurt: C. Peters, Gjerdingen, Robert. Music in the Galant Style. Krieg, Gustav. Cantus-Firmus Improvisation auf der Orgel. Leahy, Anne. Lantham: The Scarecrow Press, McCreless, Patrick. Porter, William. Severer Jullander, Ruiter-Feenstra, Pamela. Bach and the Art of Improvisation.

Rogg, Lionel. Sanguinetti, Giorgio. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Serbennikov, Maxim. Improvising in Traditional 17th th Harmonic Style. Schubert, Peter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Schulenberg, David. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, Snyder, Kerala. Rochester: University of Rochester Press. Williams, Peter. Figured Bass Accompaniment. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, Wolff, Christoph. New York: W. Norton and Company, Historical Treatises: Bach, Johann Sebastian.

Leipzig: Translated by Pamela L. Poulin as J. Heinichen, Johann David. Hamburg: Author, Kirnberger, Johann. The Art of Strict Musical Composition. New Haven: Yale University Press, Morley, Thomas. Alec Harman. Josquin's Missa 'Pange Lingua' is a sophisticated final statement by a master of the mass setting.

A "paraphase" mass, all of the motivic material for this forward-looking mass comes from the phrygian mode chant hymn "Pange lingua gloriosi. Jacquet de Berchem was one of many 16th-century Franco-Flemish composers whose professional lives took them to Italy, where they were influenced by the rich culture of the Italian Renaissance. Berchem was choirmaster at Verona Cathedral, but seems to have composed very little sacred music; his fame rests securely in the secular madrigals and chansons which are his legacy.

Clamavi ad te, miser. The complex rhetoric of his music as well as his integration of older styles into a new and ever-changing and emerging style affected composers for centuries afterwards. Martin Luther and subsequently Bach himself were great admirers of the Franco-Flemish genius. Randall Thompson's double-choir setting for Palm Sunday began as a motet for his women's choirs at Wellesley College. In the early s, Thompson produced a second version for mixed voice choirs. While obviously inspired by the antiphonal Venetian school, the harmonic language and spirit reveal it to be an uniquely American and particularly Bostonian original.

The Advent Choir, Boston. We ado. Maiorem charitatem nemo habet ut. Dynamic, historic church open to all. The main difficulty was to apply Bachs decoratio to the elaboratio framework of Freu Dich Sehr. The main decoratio pattern of the first verse is:. The length of decoratio patterns varies according to their metric position in relation to the chorale melody. Similarly to Dutch cantus coloratus techniques, an improviser needs to be flexible enough to apply learned patterns to a recognized schema. In our case this also means distributing figurations equally between the inner voices. On beat three in m.

However, on beat two of m. To keep the rhythmic flow constant, the eighth-note motion has to continue with Schneller figures in the alto voice. Technical considerations influence certain passages: for example in measure 3 the alto voices comfortable upward Schleifer in a single hand position. Also, in measure 4, the descending alto line is comfortable to play in one hand position. Verse 2 contains more technically demanding passages.

The chorale in the middle voice blocks out an important portion of the keyboard that is difficult to cross with figuration. The bass and the soprano lines have a limited range, while the thumb has to play the chorale melody. In a different dispositio, the chorale melody could be played on an Octave 4 or Cornet 2 in the pedal, solving these textural problems.

Schemata and Rhetoric Improvising the Chorale

Technical convenience is hugely important in determining the choice of improvised patterns. Some patterns, especially the intricate voice leading of BWV , are simply too difficult to improvise. Therefore, an improviser would attempt to evoke the essence of the piece using simplified decoratio patterns, altering them according to the demands of the chorale melody and his or her technical limitations:. In the improvisational learning phase, an improviser would try out all the possibilities to fit this pattern to other basses. Similar to opening notes of O Lamm gottes, the melody of Freu dich sehr opens with a Do-Re-Mi schema not counting the pickup.

The improviser would only need to recognize that pattern and transpose its decoratio down a third:. Figure 3. Cadential decoratio patterns. In the imitatio phase, an improviser would become familiar with the inherent possibilities of any particular decoratio pattern, practice it with different harmonic progressions and would apply it to any given elaboratio in improvised actio. The result is an amalgam of memorized and improvised elements that draws on elements stored subconsciously in long-term memory. First, the chorale is sung by the choir in unison, in a hybrid cantus firmus and chordal treatment, while the orchestra is assigned to ritornelli in a characteristic French Overture form with dotted rhythms and runs.

The writing clearly focuses on the challenge of combining the fixed French ouverture form with an innovative cantus firmus treatment.

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The majestic opening evokes a festive occasion, the first Sunday of the church year and the processional interpretation of the words Now come, Savior of the Gentiles. The augmented melody is first quoted in bass of the orchestra, then sung by all four voices in turn, first in unison, then in harmony. The faster fugal section is a transformation of the second line of the chorale into triple meter: Figure 3. BWV 61s middle section derived from the chorale.

The contrast between the free, imitative writing for the choir and the strict canon in the orchestra can be interpreted as the Lutheran distinction between Law and Gospel, the first being the commandments, the second our salvation through Christs sacrifice. I have used the original version, even though many eighteenth-century composers often normalized it to a minor mode:. The French character of BWV 61 largely owes to the dotted rhythms and scalar ornamentation that are clearly presented in the opening ritornello.

This ritornello is a veritable mini-prelude: it constitutes a phrase model of T-PD-D-T that establishes the tonic and it incorporates the melody of Nun komm den heiden Heiland in the bass:. In the imitatio phase, an improviser needs to personalize the material borrowed from repertoire. I have altered Bachs ritornello with various bass lines to substitute for the chorale quotation:. In addition to this harmonization, there are many other harmonic solutions, such as harmonizing the melody in b minor first bass line of the example below.

It is also remarkably easy to modulate to the relative major by transposing the second half of the phrase up a third:. Different bass lines helped me to understand the structural and harmonic potential inherent in Bachs material. This learning phase was essential for me to have the structural understanding to feel comfortable adapting decoratio and elaboratio to a different chorale melody.

The following example shows the dispositio of the opening two phrases of my improvisation on Aus tiefer Not:. The ritornello is transposed to the last note of the chorale phrase, a standard practice in chorale preludes. Below is the dispositio of the ritornello, followed by the chorale entrance in the soprano notated an octave lower : Figure 3. Melody in the top voice. When the melody is placed in the bass, the phrase structure expands with an extra measure, which reasserts the tonic followed by a direct modulation to the dominant.

The cantus firmus in the pedal repeats the tonic-dominant-tonic progression, resulting in a repetitive elaboratio structure. Melody in the bass with extra measure. Adding decoratio patterns make this harmonization possible, but it is harder to embellish repetitive harmonic structures lacking clear harmonic goals. Therefore, it is preferable to use a harmonic progression or a secondary dominant to transition from the ritornello to the cantus firmus entrance:.

Such details of structure are often decided during the improvised actio, even though these choices more immediately influence the elaboratio of the material and have implications on the dispositio as well. As we have seen in these two applicatio examples, improvised dispositiones are flexible schemes that can accept many different versions, forms of elaboratio and decoratio. Voicing the cantus firmus in the soprano or the bass has major implications on the form, as well as on the harmonic structure of any dispositio: these levels are intricately interconnected. The rest of the improvisation works according to similar patterns: the chorale melody is harmonized either in the soprano, the pedal, or an inner voice as in the third phrase, for example and the ritornelli are transposed to the cadential notes of each phrase, bridging the gaps between them.

At the end, I have used a longer cadential formula on a pedal note, similar to a cadenza by Spiridione with a different decoratio patterns. Conclusion In recent years many musicians have become increasingly interested in historical improvisation techniques, in part because of increased interest in historically informed performance practice.

But equally important, Baroque improvisational skills offer us a historical understanding of music theory, which is absent from much music theory education today. I believe that historical improvisation bridges the gap between the two extremes of classical music education: music theory curriculum, which can be overly. Improvisation necessarily involves the simultaneous use of music theory principles and performance techniques.

Beside the pursuit of improvisation as an end in itself, there are benefits of improvisation that are immediately practical to todays performer: ornamentation, for example, is a crucial expressive element to master for repertoire of the eighteenth century. Even with limited training in the partimento tradition, a keyboard player, for instance, would be able to better distinguish structural notes from embellishments and learn to fluently invent personal ornaments and stylistic alterations in any repertoire. I believe that any organist can and should learn chorale-based improvisations and it should be integrated in every major musical institutions theory curriculum.

I can think of no better way to connect theoretical understanding deeply, on a physical level, with a players relationship to his instrument and practical music-making. One might say that improvisation is not an academic subject; I argue that it needs to become one. Many contemporary composers still compose at their instrument, and improvisation was the trigger that made composers of many performers. Improvisation tightens the tactile and sonic relationship between the performer and the instrument, a relationship which has limitless potential for engendering new musical ideas.

Historical improvisation also connects our creative process with our Western musical heritage, as music history connects performance practice with its history. What better way to interact with the music of improvisatory masters such as Bach than by practicing the discipline in which they were saturated?

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Improvisation is also highly relevant to modern life, musical and otherwise - improvised communication is part of our everyday. Introducing improvisation to the classical music curriculum for historical styles will make these styles more approachable, flexible and alive. European schools have long excelled in the teaching of improvisation. The organ department of Paris Conservatory, for example, focused on improvisation for much of the nineteenth century. The Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, McGill University and the Eastman School of Music have been distinguished by excellent instruction of historically informed performance and improvisation practices.

I believe that every student should be given the opportunity to interact with theory and their instrument, learning from this dynamic, inspiring, and challenging element of our musical heritage. Improvisation cements the bond between performer and instrument, just as it did for Bach, and in so doing, the art of improvisation cements our musical bonds with the masters that came before us.

Bibliography: Aldrich, Putnam. New York: Oxford University Press, Callahan, Michael. PhD diss. Christensen, Jesper. Grundlagen des Generalbaspiels im Kassel: Brenreiter, Brown, Christopher Boyd. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Dreyfus, Laurence Dana. Gebhard, Hans. Frankfurt: C. Peters, Gjerdingen, Robert. Music in the Galant Style. Krieg, Gustav. Cantus-Firmus Improvisation auf der Orgel.

Colone: Verlag Dohr Kln, Leahy, Anne. Bachs Leipzig Chorale Preludes. Lantham: The Scarecrow Press, McCreless, Patrick. Porter, William. Severer Jullander, Gteborg: Gteborg Organ Art Center, Ruiter-Feenstra, Pamela. Bach and the Art of Improvisation. Rogg, Lionel. Cours dImprovisation pour les Organistes.

Sanguinetti, Giorgio. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Serbennikov, Maxim. Shannon, Robert. Improvising in Traditional 17th th Harmonic Style. Schubert, Peter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Schulenberg, David. Composition and Improvisation in the School of J. Bach, in Bach Perspectives 1, edited by Russel Stinson, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, Snyder, Kerala. Dietrich Buxtehude: Organist in Lbeck.

Rochester: University of Rochester Press. Williams, Peter. Figured Bass Accompaniment. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, Wolff, Christoph. New York: W. Norton and Company, Historical Treatises:. Bach, Johann Sebastian. Leipzig: Translated by Pamela L. Poulin as J. Heinichen, Johann David. Neu erfundene und grndliche Anweisung zu volkommener Erlernung des GeneralBasses. Hamburg: Author, Kirnberger, Johann. The Art of Strict Musical Composition. Translated by David Beach and Jrgen Thym. New Haven: Yale University Press, Morley, Thomas.

Alec Harman. New York: W W Norton, Niedt, Friedrich Erhard. Die musicalische Handleitung. Hamburg: B. Schiller, Poulin and Armgard C. Taylor as The Musical Guide. New York: Oxford, Quantz, Johann Joachim. Versuch einer Anweisung die Flte traversiere zu spielen. Berlin: Johann Friedrich Voss, Translated by Edward R. Reilly as On Playing the Flute. New York: Schirmer, Spiridionis a Monte Carmelo. Nova Instructio pro Pulsandis Organis. Bamberg, Immel: Colledara: Andromeda, Trk, Daniel Gottlob.

Von den wichtigsten Pflichten eines Organisten. Halle: Wiedeburg, Michael Johann-Friedrich. Der sich selbst informierende Clavierspieler, oder deutlicher und leichter Unterricht zur Selbstinformation mi Clavierspielen. HalleLeipzig: Verlag der Buchlandung der Weissenhauses, Wohlmuth, Johann.

Starck Virginal Book Flag for inappropriate content. Terefenko's Handout for keyboard improvisation. Bach's Clavier Figured Bass Instructions. Heinichen, Rameau and Italian Thoroughbass Tradition. Buscar dentro del documento. In Daniel Gottlob Trk published On the Role of the Organist in Worship, in which he describes the improvised chorale prelude as one of the main responsibilities of a church organist: According to convention, the second chief responsibility of an organist [the first being accompanying the congregation] consists of playing a good and suitable prelude, which should be correct according to the rules of thoroughbass and composition and appropriate to the contents of the hymn that follows.

To clarify the role of long-term memory and memorized patterns in the improvisational learning process, I use a system devised by Michael Callahan in his dissertation 6Ibid, Memorization of schemes also takes longer than in repertoire: an advanced Baroque improviser stores his musical vocabulary 7 Michael Callahan, Techniques of Keyboard Improvisation in the German Baroque PhD.

The corresponding period in language acquisition would be the period when a 10 For a list of elaboratio cadences see Spiridion, and Edoardo Bellotti. He illustrates this intellectual, tactile and sonic interaction in two charts: Figure 1. William Porters Chart 1 Porter writes: [This chart] is a representation of various factors involved in improvisation in historical styles. William Porters Chart 2 Porter writes: Chart two is a hypothetical representation of the relationship of these factors for a seventeenth-century musician.

The following example is a simple, three-part harmonization of the chorale Wenn nun den lieben Gott with bare essentials: Figure 1. The Rule of the Octave according to Fenaroli. Bachs harmonization of an ascending scale? An organist would use similar progressions when harmonizing a stepwise ascent in chorale melodies, such as the opening ascending scale in Freu dich sehr: 22 Johann Sebastian Bach, J. Four-voiced harmony was integral to Bachs instruction, and unlike Handel or 23As quoted in the preface of Precepts and Principles by Christoph Wolff.

Gjerdingens Do-Re-Mi Schema Gjerdingens ovals above include the most important musical features of a schema: the order of stages, scale degrees for the melody and for the bass with figured-bass numbers to indicate harmony.


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The schema [] is a mental representation of a category of Galant musical utterances, is likely in no particular key, may or may not have a particular meter, probably includes no particular figurations or articulations, may be quite general as to the 27 Johann David Heinichen, Neu erfundene und grndliche Anweisung zu volkommener Erlernung des GeneralBasses Hamburg, , Harmonization of Freu dich sehr A Chorale in alto part B in soprano part The two harmonizations above represent two possible realizations of the Do-Re-Mi scheme.

The Romanesca The Romanesca scheme can harmonize any diatonic descending motion in the top voice, or in any of the upper voices. Niedts bass diminutions The following example outlines a bass progression for an improvised organ prelude: 33 Figure 2. Niedts scheme for a prelude? Reduction of Niedts schematic cell? Spiridions examples are not simply realizations of figured bass structures; they are motivic realizations of a three- or four-part skeleton in which each 36Two volumes are available in a modern edition: Spiridion, Nova Instructio Pro Pulsandis Organis, Spinettis, Manuchordiis Etc.

These two harmonies are expanded with surface figurations as in the following cadentia prima: Figure 2. Wiedeburgs cadential patterns are very similar to Spiridions: Figure 2. The improvisational potential and the ease of application of Wiedeburgs examples over a pedal point can be best understood by playing through the following example: Figure 2. The following example notates the preludes harmonic dispositio: Figure 2. Dispositio for a prelude improvisation? In his Historisch-kritischen Beitragen zur Aufnahme der Musik, Friedrich Marpurg condemned organists who excessively improvised variations during congregational singing: If organists would only realize that during the singing of hymns, it is the organ that must keep the congregation in tune and in order.

Gottlob Trk discusses the composition of these interludes in his book Kurze Anweisung zum Generalbassspielen: 39The Historisch-kritischen Beitragen zur Aufnahme der Musik, one of three periodicals written by Friedrich Marpurg, appeared from and in The following example by Georg Bhm, Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flchtig, demonstrates an idiomatic melodic embellishment for the upper voice: Figure 2. Printzs diminutions Printzs figures are presented without their underlying interval; however, it is easy to detect that these examples are embellishing a repeated note.

Vogts diminutions In all three examples Vogt places the structural note on the first position in the group. Similar to the rich variety in Bhms figures, Vogt encourages a combination of many different modules, but also advocates coherence by pointing to an underlying harmonic 43Callahan, Techniques of Keyboard Improvisation in the German Baroque, The first is a compound melody and the second is a two-voice counterpoint: Figure 2. The example below is the secondspecies harmonization of Freu dich sehr: Figure 2. The Bicinium A bicinium is a two-part chorale variation that consists of a florid, contrapuntal line and an augmented chorale melody, or cantus firmus.

Modified bicinium on Ach Gott vom Himmel? B c In Example B, the ritornello uses an extended harmonic progression to establish the tonic. Figurations and Cantus Firmi in Inner Voices Chorale improvisations often require harmonizing the melody in any voice. For instance, in one 49The first hymnal that set the chorale melody in the soprano was Lucas Osiander's Fuenfzig geistliche Lieder und Psalmen published in In the figure below, I present five 50The Cornet 2 stop, a small trumpet typical of North German and Dutch organs is designed specifically for chorale playing.

J n In the last example the chorale melody starts in the soprano and ends in the tenor, demonstrating the flexibility of an improvised voice-leading skeleton. Kirnbergers harmonization of Ach vom Himmel sieh darein Kirnberger provides 26 different bass lines for Ach Gott und Herr, wie gross und schwer to demonstrate these lines potential to highlight the meaning of the text and connect or disrupt phrases with harmonic rhythm.

The opening is a two-voice invertible counterpoint followed by a modulation to the subdominant and the dominant with salti composti figures: 55Aldrich, Rhythmic Harmony as Taught by Johann Philipp Kirnberger, Kirnbergers trio on Ach vom Himmel Doppelschlag figures are particularly idiomatic in parallel thirds and sixths such as in measures 6 and 7.


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  • What is an Extant Work?.
  • O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig;

Nikolaus Decius three-versed chorale O Lamb of God Pure and Holy is a substitute for the Agnus Term usually applied to cantatas: each verse corresponds to a movement, in this case to a variation. Cantus firmus entrance in the top voice Bach uses figuration for textural contrast between phrases of the chorale. Figures in the second variation Bachs equal distribution of passagework is an organic development of melodic embellishments of Bhm-type variations. The main decoratio pattern of the first verse is: Figure 3.

Main decoratio pattern in variation I. Schleifer decoratio of BWV as applied to Freu dich sehr Verse 2 contains more technically demanding passages. Salti composti decoratio of BWV as applied to Freu dich sehr Technical convenience is hugely important in determining the choice of improvised patterns. Cadential decoratio patterns Figure 3.

Less dissonant cadential pattern Figure 3. I have used the original version, even though many eighteenth-century composers often normalized it to a minor mode: Figure 3. Phrygian and minor versions of Aus tiefer Not The French character of BWV 61 largely owes to the dotted rhythms and scalar ornamentation that are clearly presented in the opening ritornello. This ritornello is a veritable mini-prelude: it constitutes a phrase model of T-PD-D-T that establishes the tonic and it incorporates the melody of Nun komm den heiden Heiland in the bass: Figure 3.

Opening phrase of BWV 61 In the imitatio phase, an improviser needs to personalize the material borrowed from repertoire. Opening phrase of BWV 61 with alternative bass line In addition to this harmonization, there are many other harmonic solutions, such as harmonizing the melody in b minor first bass line of the example below. It is also remarkably easy to modulate to the relative major by transposing the second half of the phrase up a third: Figure 3.

Opening phrase of BWV 61 with two modulating bass lines Different bass lines helped me to understand the structural and harmonic potential inherent in Bachs material. Dispositio of my improvised overture The ritornello is transposed to the last note of the chorale phrase, a standard practice in chorale preludes.

Melody in the top voice When the melody is placed in the bass, the phrase structure expands with an extra measure, which reasserts the tonic followed by a direct modulation to the dominant. Melody in the bass with extra measure Adding decoratio patterns make this harmonization possible, but it is harder to embellish repetitive harmonic structures lacking clear harmonic goals. Melody in the bass Such details of structure are often decided during the improvised actio, even though these choices more immediately influence the elaboratio of the material and have implications on the dispositio as well.

Historical Treatises: Bach, Johann Sebastian. Documentos similares a Schemata and Rhetoric Improvising the Chorale. Jaume Bordas. Skellise Skellez. Isaac Haire. David Cason. Joaquim Moreno. Raphael Vinluan. Mauro L R Pesce. Robert Hill. Kosta Ruslanov. Ubirajara Pires. Pacomoya Guitarra Jaen Maiz.

Felippe Maravalhas. Popular en Arts General. Su Sana. Jothimanikkam Somasundaram.