There also appears to be an echo of this reference in the next fugue, 4. References  Elizabeth T. Retrieved It was written for the Christmas season of incorporating music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantatas written during and and a now lost church cantata, BWV a. The date is confirmed in Bach's autograph manuscript. The Christmas Oratorio is a particularly sophisticated example of parody music. The author of the text is unknown, although a likely collaborator was Christian Friedrich Henrici Picander. The work belongs to a group of three oratorios written towards the end of Bach's career in and for major feasts, the others being the Ascension Oratorio BWV 11 and the Easter Oratorio BWV All include a tenor Evangelist as narrator and parody earlier compositions, although the Christmas Oratorio is by far the longest and most complex work.
The oratorio is in six parts, each part being intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The piece is often presented as a whole or split into two equal parts. The total running time for the entire work is nearly three hours. The first part for Christmas Day describes the Birth of Jesus, the second for December 26 the annunciation to the shepherds, the third for December 27 the adoration of the shepherds, the fourth for New Year's Day the circumcision and naming of Jesus, the fifth for the first Sunday after New Year the journey of the Magi, and the sixth for Epiphany the adoration of the Magi.
Bach abandoned his usual practice when writing church cantatas of basing the content upon the Gospel reading for that day in order to achieve a coherent narrative structure. Were he to have followed the calendar, the story would have unfolded as follows: 1. This would have resulted in the Holy Family fleeing before the Magi had arrived, which was unsuitable for an oratorio evidently planned as a coherent whole.
Bach removed the content for the Third Day of Christmas December 27 , John's Gospel, and split the story of the two groups of visitors —Shepherds and Magi— into two. This resulted in a more understandable exposition of the Christmas story: 1. The Birth 2. The fifth part finishes with the Flight into Egypt. That Bach saw the six parts as comprising a greater, unified whole is evident both from the surviving printed text and from the structure of the music itself.
The edition has not only a title —Weihnachtsoratorium— connecting together the six sections, but these sections are also numbered consecutively. As John Butt has mentioned, this points, as in the Mass in B Minor, to a unity beyond the performance constraints of the church year. Performance The oratorio was written for performance on six feast days of Christmas during the winter of and The original score also contains details of when each part was performed.
It was incorporated within services of the two most important churches in Leipzig, St. As can be seen below, the work was only performed in its entirety at the St. Nicholas Church. Nicholas; 'in the afternoon' at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Music Bach expresses the unity of the whole work within the music itself, in part through his use of key signatures. Parts I and III are similarly scored for exuberant trumpets, while the Pastoral Part II referring to the Shepherds is, by contrast, scored for woodwind instruments and does not include an opening chorus.
Part IV is written in F major the relative key to D minor and marks the furthest musical point away from the oratorio's opening key, scored for horns. Bach then embarks upon a journey back to the opening key, via the dominant A major of Part V to the jubilant re-assertion of D major in the final part, lending an overall arc to the piece.
To reinforce this connection, between the beginning and the end of the work, Bach re-uses the chorale melody of Part I's Wie soll ich dich empfangen? The music represents a particularly sophisticated expression of the parody technique, by which existing music is adapted to a new purpose. Bach took the majority of the choruses and arias from works which had been written some time earlier.
Most of this music was 'secular', that is written in praise of royalty or notable local figures, outside the tradition of performance within the church. Erschallet, Trompeten! In addition to these sources, the sixth cantata is thought to have been taken almost entirely from a now-lost church cantata, BWV a. The trio aria in Part V Ach, wenn wird die Zeit erscheinen? Instrumentation The scoring below refers to parts, rather than necessarily to individual players. Adherents of theories specifying small numbers of performers even to 'One Voice Per Part' may however choose to use numbers approaching one instrument per named part.
Part I 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 transverse flutes, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo group  Part II 2 flutes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 oboes da caccia, 2 violins, viola, continuo Part III 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo Part IV 2 horns, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo Part V 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo Part VI. Christmas Oratorio 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo Notes  Sleeve notes to Philip Pickett's recording of the Christmas Oratorio Decca, ,  Werner Breig, sleeve notes to John Eliot Gardiner's recording of the Christmas Oratorio Deutsche Grammophon Archiv, ,  The continuo part is open to interpretation in matters of scoring.
Channel Classics Records, CCS SA  The different types of oboes referred to above are mostly called for at different points in each section. However, numbers 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19 and 21 in Part II call for 2 oboes d'amore and 2 oboes da caccia. This scoring was intended to symbolise the shepherds who are the subject of the second part. It is a reference to the pastoral music tradition of shepherds playing shawm-like instruments at Christmas. Similarly, the pastoral sinfony in Handel's Messiah is known as the 'Pifa' after the Italian piffero or piffaro, similar to the shawm and an ancestor of the oboe.
Text The ease with which the new text fits the existing music is one of the indications of how successful a parody the Christmas Oratorio is of its sources. It may have even been the case that the Christmas Oratorio was already planned when Bach wrote the secular cantatas BWV , and , given that the original works were written fairly close to the oratorio and the seamless way with which the new words fit the existing music.
On this occasion, however, the parody technique proved to be unsuccessful and Bach composed the aria afresh. Similarly, the opening chorus to Part V, Ehre sei dir Gott! The third major new piece of writing with the notable exception of the recitatives , the sublime pastoral Sinfonia which opens Part II, was composed from scratch for the new work.
In addition to the new compositions listed above, special mention must go to the recitatives, which knit together the oratorio into a coherent whole. In particular, Bach made particularly effective use of recitative when combining it with chorales in no. Parts and numbers Each section combines choruses a pastoral Sinfonia opens Part II instead of a chorus , chorales and from the soloists recitatives, ariosos and arias.
The tables below do not show a key signature or a time signature for recitatives because they are all nominally in the key of that part and in common time. The exceptions are No. In any case, a key and time signatures for a recitative are merely musical notation. In some years, there is no such day, e. Recorded in St. Thomas Church, Leipzig. Recorded in Schloss Ludwigsburg. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi GD Harmonia Mundi, This recording is used in the film Juloratoriet English title: Christmas Oratorio. Rondeau Production. Their inclusion in that work has been occasionally considered strange by scholars, and many theories have arisen surrounding the duets' origins, purpose and significance.
History The first version of the work was completed as a cantata for Easter Sunday in Leipzig on April 1, , then under the title Kommt, gehet und eilet. In a later version in the s the third movement was expanded from a duet to a four-part chorus. Its author is Picander who is also likely the author of the oratorio's text. It seems possible that the third movement is based on the concerto's finale. Structure The oratorio - different from the Christmas Oratorio - has no narrator but four characters assigned to the four voice parts: Simon Peter tenor and John the Apostle bass , appearing in the first duet hurrying to Jesus' grave and finding it empty, meeting there Mary Magdalene alto and "the other Mary", Mary Jacobe soprano.
The choir was present only in the final movement until a later performance in the s when the opening duet was set partly for four voices. The music is festively scored for three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, oboe d'amore, bassoon, two recorders, transverse flute, violins, and basso continuo. Music The oratorio opens with two contrasting instrumental movements, an Allegro concerto grosso of the full orchestra with solo sections for violin and oboes, and an Adagio oboe melody over "Seufzer" motifs sighs in the strings.
The first duet of the disciples was set for chorus in a later version, the middle section remaining a duet. Many runs illustrate the movement toward the grave. The final movement in two contrasting sections resembles the Sanctus composed for Christmas and later part of the Mass in B Minor. They were believed for a long time to have been composed by one of Bach's pupils, Johann Tobias Krebs, based on certain unusual characteristics of the music when played on the organ. These pieces came to be played often on the organ in the 19th and 20th centuries, and were especially useful as teaching pieces for beginners.
Subsequent scholarship by Speerstra, Vogel and others has suggested that this collection was conceived specifically for the pedal clavichord, thereby making the stylistic claim of inauthenticity far less tenable. Several elements of the pieces, including the rolling of large chords, octave doublings and repeater notes, and the patterns of movement of the fingers and feet, the rhythm, and overall texture are idiomatic on the clavichord but make little sense on the organ.
Performer Harald Vogel has recorded the collection on a pedal clavichord along with an essay by Speerstra see liner notes on the clavichordistic nature of these pieces and a discussion of the manuscript indications. These works continue to be performed frequently in Christian churches because of their short length about 3 minutes each and ease of performance compared to the undoubtedly authentic preludes and fugues of J. Nearly all serious students of organ performance learn most, if not all, of these works.
References Bach, J. First published in , the work is considered to be one of the most important examples of variation form. The Variations are named after Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who may have been the first performer. Composition The tale of how the variations came to be composed comes from an early biography of Bach by Johann Nikolaus Forkel: [For this work] we have to thank the instigation of the former Russian ambassador to the electoral court of Saxony, Count Kaiserling, who often stopped in Leipzig and brought there with him the aforementioned Goldberg, in order to have him given musical instruction by Bach.
The Count was often ill and had sleepless nights. At such times, Goldberg, who lived in his house, had to spend the night in an antechamber, so as to play for him during his insomnia. Once the Count mentioned in Bach's presence that he would like to have some clavier pieces for Goldberg, which should be of such a smooth and somewhat lively character that he might be a little cheered up by them in his sleepless nights. Bach thought himself best able to fulfill this wish by means of Variations, the writing of which he had until then considered an ungrateful task on account of the repeatedly similar harmonic foundation.
But since at this time all his works were already models of art, such also these variations became under his hand. Yet he produced only a single work of this kind. Thereafter the Count always called them his variations. He never tired of them, and for a long time sleepless nights meant: 'Dear Goldberg, do play me one of. Goldberg Variations my variations. The Count presented him with a golden goblet filled with louis-d'or.
Nevertheless, even had the gift been a thousand times larger, their artistic value would not yet have been paid for. The lack of dedication on the title page of the "Aria with Diverse Variations" also makes the tale of the commission unlikely. Goldberg's age at the time of publication 14 years has also been cited as grounds for doubting Forkel's tale, although it must be said that he was known to be an accomplished keyboardist and sight-reader.
In a recent book-length study, keyboardist and Bach scholar Peter Williams contends that the Forkel story is entirely spurious. The aria on which the variations are based was suggested by Arnold Schering not to have been written by Bach. More recent scholarly literature such as the edition by Christoph Wolff suggests that there is no basis for such doubts.
Publication Rather unusually for Bach's works, the Goldberg Variations were published in his own lifetime, in The publisher was Bach's friend Balthasar Schmid of Nuremberg. Schmid printed the work by making engraved copper plates rather than using movable type ; thus the notes of the first edition are in Schmid's own handwriting. The edition contains various printing errors. Composed for connoisseurs, for the refreshment of their spirits, by Johann Sebastian Bach, composer for the royal court of Poland and the Electoral court of Saxony, Kapellmeister and Director of Choral Music in Leipzig.
Nuremberg, Balthasar Schmid, publisher. These copies provide virtually the only information available to modern editors trying to reconstruct Bach's intent; the autograph hand-written score has not survived. A handwritten copy of just the aria is found in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. Christoph Wolff suggests on the basis of handwriting evidence that Anna Magdalena copied the aria from the autograph score around ; it appears on two pages previously left blank. Form After a statement of the aria at the beginning of the piece, there are thirty variations.
The variations do not follow the melody of the aria, but rather use its bass line and chord progression. The bass line is notated by Ralph Kirkpatrick in his performing edition as follows. The digits above the notes indicate the specified chord in the system of figured bass; where digits are separated by comma, they indicate different options taken in different variations.
Every third variation in the series of 30 is a canon, following an ascending pattern. Thus, variation 3 is a canon at the unison, variation 6 is a canon at the second the second entry begins the interval of a second above the first , variation 9 is a canon at the third, and so on until variation 27, which is a canon at the ninth.
The final variation, instead of being the expected canon in the tenth, is a quodlibet, discussed below. As Ralph Kirkpatrick has pointed out, the variations that intervene between the canons are also arranged in a pattern. If we leave aside the initial and final material of the work specifically, the Aria, the first two variations, the Quodlibet, and the aria da capo , the remaining material is arranged as follows. The variations found just after each canon are genre pieces of various types, among them three Baroque dances 4, 7, 19 ; a fughetta 10 ; a French overture 16 ; and two ornate arias for the right hand 13, The variations located two after each canon 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, and 29 are what Kirkpatrick calls "arabesques"; they are variations in lively tempo with a great deal of hand-crossing.
All the variations are in G major, apart from variations 15, 21, and 25, which are in G minor. Variations for one and two manuals The work was composed for a two-manual harpsichord see musical keyboard. Variations 8, 11, 13, 14, 17, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27 and 28 are specified in the score for two manuals, while variations 5, 7 and 29 are specified as playable with either one or two. With greater difficulty, the work can nevertheless be played on a single-manual harpsichord or piano.
The French style of ornamentation suggests that the ornaments are supposed to be parts of the melody, however some performers for example Wilhelm Kempff on piano omit some or all ornaments and present the aria unadorned. Peter Williams comments in Bach: The Goldberg Variations that this is not the theme at all, but actually the first variation a view emphasising the idea of the work as a chaconne rather than a piece in true variation form. Variatio 1. This sprightly variation contrasts markedly with the slow, contemplative mood of the theme. The rhythm in the right hand forces the emphasis on the second beat, giving rise to syncopation from bars 1 to 7.
Hands cross at bar 13 from the upper register to the lower, bringing back this syncopation for another two bars. In the first two bars of the B part, the rhythm mirrors that of the beginning of the A part, but after this a different idea is introduced. Williams sees this as a sort of polonaise. The characteristic rhythm in the left hand is also found in Bach's Partita No. Variatio 2. The piece is almost a pure canon. Each section has an alternate ending to be played on the first and second repeat. Variatio 3. As with all canons of the Goldberg Variations except the 27th variation, canon at the ninth , there is a supporting bass line here.
Variatio 4. Bach uses close but not exact imitation: the musical pattern in one part reappears a bar later in another sometimes inverted. Variatio 5. This is the first of the hand-crossing, two-part variations. A rapid melodic line written predominantly in sixteenth notes is accompanied by another melody with longer note values, which features very wide leaps:. The Italian type of hand-crossing is employed here, with one hand constantly moving back and forth between high and low registers while the other hand stays in the middle of the keyboard, playing the fast passages.
Variatio 6. Canone alla Seconda The sixth variation is a canon at the second: the follower starts a major second higher than the leader. The harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick describes this piece as having "an almost nostalgic tenderness". Variatio 7. In , when scholars discovered Bach's own copy of the first printing of the Goldberg Variations, they noted that over this variation Bach had added the heading al tempo di Giga. But the implications of this discovery for modern performance have turned out to be less clear than was at first assumed.
In his book The Keyboard Music of J. Bach  the scholar and keyboardist David Schulenberg notes that the discovery "surprised twentieth-century commentators who supposed gigues were always fast and fleeting. He concludes, "It need not go quickly. What, then, was Bach trying to convey by adding the al tempo di giga notation to his Handexemplar? Pianist Angela Hewitt, in the liner notes to her Hyperion recording, argues that he was trying to caution against taking too slow a tempo, and thus turning the dance into a forlane or siciliano. She does however argue, like Schulenberg, that it is a French gigue, not an Italian giga and does play it at an unhurried tempo.
Variatio 8. The French style of hand-crossing is employed, with both hands playing at the same part of the keyboard, one above the other. This is relatively easy to perform on a two-manual harpsichord, but quite hard to do on a piano. Most bars feature either a distinctive pattern of eleven sixteenth notes and a sixteenth rest, or ten sixteenth notes and a single eighth note.
Large leaps in the melody can be observed, for instance, in bars from B below middle C in bar 9, from A above middle C to an A an octave higher in bar 10, and from G above middle C to a G an octave higher in bar Both sections end with descending passages in thirty-second notes. Variatio 9. Canone alla Terza. The supporting bass line is slightly more active than in the previous canons. This short variation 16 bars is usually played at a slow tempo. Variatio Fughetta a 1 Clav. Variation 10 is a four-voice fughetta, with a four-bar subject heavily decorated with ornaments and somewhat reminiscent of the opening aria's melody.
The exposition takes up the whole first section of this variation pictured. First the subject is stated in the bass, starting on the G below middle C. The answer in the tenor enters in bar 5, but it's a tonal answer, so some of the intervals are altered. The soprano voice enters in bar 9, but only keeps the first two bars of the subject intact,.
Goldberg Variations changing the rest. The final entry occurs in the alto in bar There is no regular counter-subject in this fugue. The second section develops using the same thematic material with slight changes. It resembles a counter-exposition: the voices enter one by one, all begin by stating the subject sometimes a bit altered, like in the first section. The section begins with the subject heard once again, in the soprano voice, accompanied by an active bass line, making the bass part the only exception since it doesn't pronounce the subject until bar Specified for two manuals, it is largely made up of various scale passages, arpeggios and trills, and features much hand-crossing of different kinds.
Canone alla Quarta. The follower appears inverted in the second bar. In the first section, the left hand accompanies with a bass line written out in repeated quarter notes, in bars 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. This repeated note motif also appears in the first bar of the second section bar 17, two Ds and a C , and, slightly altered, in bars 22 and In the second section, Bach changes the mood slightly by introducing a few appoggiaturas bars 19 and 20 and trills bars Most of the melody is written out using thirty-second notes, and ornamented with a few appoggiaturas more frequent in the second section and a few mordents.
Throughout the piece, the melody is in one voice, and in bars 16 and 24 an interesting effect is produced by the use of an additional voice. Here are bars 15 and 16, the ending of the first section bar 24 exhibits a similar pattern :. It is specified for two manuals and features large jumps between registers.
Both features ornaments and leaps in the melody are apparent from the first bar: the piece begins with a transition from the G two octaves below middle C, with a lower mordent, to the G two octaves above it with a trill with initial turn. Contrasting it with Variation 15, Glenn Gould described this variation as "certainly one of the giddiest bits of neo-Scarlatti-ism imaginable.
Canone alla Quinta. Like Variation 12, it is in contrary motion with the leader appearing inverted in the second bar. This is the first of the three variations in G minor, and its melancholic mood contrasts sharply with the playfulness of the previous variation. Pianist Angela Hewitt notes that there is "a wonderful effect at the very end [of this variation]: the hands move away from each other, with the right suspended in mid-air on an open fifth. This gradual fade, leaving us in awe but ready for more, is a fitting end to the first half of the piece.
The set of variations can be seen as being divided into two halves, clearly marked by this grand French overture, commencing with a particularly emphatic opening and closing chords. It consists of a slow prelude with dotted rhythms with a following fugue-like contrapuntal section. This variation is another two-part virtuosic toccata. Specified for 2 manuals, the piece features hand-crossing. Rosalyn Tureck is one of the very few performers who recorded slow interpretations of the piece.
Canone alla Sexta. The canonic interplay in the upper voices features many suspensions. Commenting on the structure of the canons of the Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould cited this variation as the extreme example of "deliberate duality of motivic emphasis [ The same sixteenth note figuration is continuously employed and variously exchanged between each of the three voices.
Bach - Years of J.S. Bach
Specified for two manuals, it involves rapid hand-crossing. The piece consists mostly of variations on the texture introduced during its first eight bars, where one hand plays a string of eighth notes and the other accompanies by plucking sixteenth notes after each eighth note. To demonstrate this, here are the first two bars of the first section:.
Canone alla Settima. A similar pattern, only a bit more lively, occurs in the bass line in the beginning of the second section, which begins with the opening motif inverted. The only specified ornament is a trill which is performed on a whole note and which lasts for two bars 11 and The ground bass on which the entire set of variations is built is heard perhaps most explicitly in this variation as well as in the Quodlibet due to the simplicity of the bass voice.
It begins with the hands chasing one another, as it were: the melodic line, initiated in the left hand with a sharp striking of the G above middle C, and then sliding down from the D above to the A, is offset by the right hand, imitating the left at the same pitch, but a quaver late, for the first three bars, ending with a small flourish in the fourth:. This pattern is repeated during bars , only with the left hand imitating the right one, and the scales are ascending, not descending.
We then alternate between hands in short bursts written out in short note values until the last three bars of the first section. The second section starts with this similar alternation in short bursts again, then leads to a dramatic section of alternating thirds between hands. Peter Williams, marvelling at the emotional range of the work, asks: "Can this really be a variation of the same theme that lies behind the adagio no 25?
Canone all'Ottava. The leader is answered both an octave below and an octave above; it is the only canon of the variations in which the leader alternates between voices in the middle of a section. The melody is written out predominantly in 16th and 32nd notes, with many chromaticisms. This variation generally lasts longer than any other piece of the set. Wanda Landowska famously described this variation as "the black pearl" of the Goldberg Variations. Peter Williams writes that "the beauty and dark passion of this variation make it unquestionably the emotional high point of the work", and Glenn Gould said that "the appearance of this wistful, weary cantilena is a master-stroke of psychology.
In sharp contrast with the introspective and passionate nature of the previous variation, this piece is another virtuosic two-part toccata, joyous and fast-paced. Underneath the rapid arabesques, this variation is basically a sarabande. Canone alla Nona. This is the only canon where two manuals are specified not due to hand-crossing difficulties , and the only pure canon of the work, because it does not have a bass line.
Trills are written out using 32nd notes and are present in most of the bars. The piece begins with a pattern in which each hand successively picks out a melodic line while also playing trills. Following this is a section with both hands playing in contrary motion in a melodic contour marked by 16th notes bars The end of the first section features trills again, in both hands now and mirroring one another:.
The second section starts and closes with the contrary motion idea seen in bars Most of the closing bars feature trills in one or both hands. This variation consists mostly of heavy chords alternating with sections of brilliant arpeggios shared between the hands. A rather grand variation, it adds an air of resolution after the lofty brilliance of the previous variation. Glenn Gould states that variations 28 and 29 present the only case of "motivic collaboration or extension between successive variations.
The others have been forgotten. From this devout beginning they proceeded to jokes which were frequently in strong contrast. That is, they then sang popular songs partly of comic and also partly of indecent content, all mixed together on the spur of the moment. This kind of improvised harmonizing they called a Quodlibet, and not only could laugh over it quite whole-heartedly themselves, but also aroused just as hearty and irresistible laughter in all who heard them. Forkel's anecdote which is likely to be true, given that he was able to interview Bach's sons , suggests fairly clearly that Bach meant the Quodlibet to be a joke.
Aria da Capo A note for note repeat of the aria at the beginning. Williams writes that the work's "elusive beauty Its melody is made to stand out by what has gone on in the last five variations, and it is likely to appear wistful or nostalgic or subdued or resigned or sad, heard on its repeat as something coming to an end, the same notes but now final. Canons on the Goldberg ground, BWV This late contrapuntal work consists of fourteen canons built on the first eight bass notes from the aria of the Goldberg variations. It was found in , in Strasbourg Alsace, France , forming an appendix to the Bach's personal printed edition of the Goldberg Variations.
Among those canons, the eleventh and the thirteenth are a sort of first version of BWV and BWV , which is included in the famous portrait of Bach painted by Elias Gottlob Haussmann in Transcribed and popularized versions The Goldberg Variations have been reworked freely by many performers, changing either the instrumentation, the notes, or both.
Italian composer Haussmann's portrait of Bach depicts him Ferruccio Busoni prepared a massively altered transcription for piano. Max Reger, transcription for two pianos, op. Schirmer, Contains an extensive preface by the editor and a facsimile of the original title page. New York: Edwin F. Kalmus, editorial work dates from the nineteenth century. Includes interpretive markings by the editor not indicated as such. Vienna: Wiener Urtext Edition, An urtext edition, making use of the new findings resulting from the discovery of an original copy hand-corrected by the composer.
Includes suggested fingerings and notes on interpretation by harpsichordist Huguette Dreyfus. Verschiedene Canones Bach BWV The editor suggests a complete complement of all fourteen canons. See also Online Scores, below. Translation from Kirkpatrick Williams See List of compositions by J. The Keyboard Music of J. An English translation was published by Da Capo Press in A State of Wonder: Disc 3 Sony. Edition of the Goldberg Variations.
Bach: The Goldberg Variations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bach, pp. New York and Oxford: Routledge. Johann Sebastian Bach. Le Variazioni Goldberg. Bologna: Albisani Editore. The works form an encyclopedic collection of large scale chorale preludes, in a variety of styles harking back to the previous century, that Bach gradually perfected during his career. Early versions of almost all the chorale preludes are thought to date back to —, during the period — when Bach served as court organist and concertmaster in Weimar, at the court of Wilhelm Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Weimar.
As his son Carl Philip Emanuel Bach mentions in his obituary or nekrolog: "His grace's delight in his playing fired him to attempt everything possible in the art of how to treat the organ. Here he also wrote most of his organ works. The organ loft is visible at the top the chapel just below the roof, it had two manual keyboards, a of the picture. It is probable that the longer chorale preludes composed then served some ceremonial function during the services in the court chapel, such as accompanying communion.
The manuscript is made up. In when Bach began to suffer from blindness before his death in July, BWV and were dictated to his student and son-in-law Johann Christoph Altnikol and copied posthumously into the manuscript. Only the first page of the last choral prelude BWV , the so-called "deathbed chorale", has survived, recorded by an unknown copyist.
Bach's conductorship of the University Society enabled him to perform festival works with the resources they required, and to augment the band and chorus needed for their adequate performance. Even before he undertook the direction of the University Society, Bach more than once provided the music for University celebrations.
In he revived an old Cantata to celebrate the birthday of another of the Leipzig teachers. In the same year the appointment of Dr. But Bach's activity as a secular composer at Leipzig was chiefly expended on patriotic celebrations. His compositions of this character are particularly numerous during the years , while he was seeking from the Dresden Court the post of Hof-Componist. The first of these celebrations took place on May 12, , the birthday of Augustus II. The King was present and listened to the performance from a convenient window. The music is lost. Six years elapsed before Bach was invited to collaborate in another celebration of the royal House.
On September 5, , less than two months after his application for the post of Hof-Componist, the University Society celebrated the eleventh birthday of the Electoral Prince by performing Bach's dramma per musica, Die Wahl des Herkules, or Herkules auf dem Scheidewege. On no less than three occasions in Bach did [pg 45] homage to his unheeding sovereign. The music had already done duty in Dr.
Two days later, on October 7, , the King's birthday was celebrated by another Bach Cantata, Schleicht spielende Wellen, performed by the Collegium Musicum. Apart from his musical activities and the house in which he lived there is little that permits us to picture Bach's life at Leipzig. Gottsched and his musical wife, Johann Abraham Birnbaum, among the Professoriate, Picander and Christian Weiss, Bach's regular librettists, suggests the amenities of an academic and literary circle. But the claims of [pg 46] his art and the care of his large family had the first call upon Bach's interest.
And few men had a happier home life. While his elder sons were at home the family concerts were among his most agreeable experiences. As his fame increased, his house became the resort of many seeking to know and hear the famous organist. Late in the thirties he resigned his directorship of the University Society. His sons were already off his hands and out of his house, and he turned again to the Organ works of his Weimar period.
Their revision occupied the last decade of his life, and the hitherto constant flow of Church Cantatas ceased. Pupils resorted to him and filled his empty house, to one of whom, Altnikol, he gave a daughter in marriage. Four, perhaps only three, contemporary portraits of Bach are known. One is in the [pg 47] possession of the firm of Peters at Leipzig and once belonged to Carl Philipp Emmanuel's daughter, who with inherited impiety sold it to a Leipzig flute player.
The second hung in St. Thomas' School and is reproduced at p. It was painted in and restored in The third portrait belonged to Bach's last pupil, Kittel, and used to hang on the Organ at Erfurt, whence it disappeared after , during the Napoleonic wars. Recently Professor Fritz Volbach of Mainz has discovered a fourth portrait, which is printed at p. He supposes it to be none other than the Erfurt portrait, as indeed it well may be, since it represents a man of some sixty years, austere in countenance, but of a dignity that is not so apparent in Haussmann's portraiture.
In consequence his widow, Anna Magdalena, burdened with the charge of a step-daughter and two daughters, was entitled to only one-third of her husband's estate. But the fact cannot excuse gross neglect of their father's widow. Her own sons were in a position to make such a contribution to her income as would at least have kept want from her door. In fact she was permitted to become dependent on public charity, and died, an alms-woman, on February 27, , nearly ten years after her great husband. The three daughters survived her. One died in , the second in The third, Regine Susanna, survived them, her want relieved by gifts from a public that at last was awakening to the grandeur of her father.
Beethoven contributed generously. Regine Susanna died in December , the last of Bach's children. In her nephew, Johann Christoph Friedrich's son, also died. With him the line of Johann Sebastian Bach expired. As a Clavier player Bach was admired by all who had the good fortune to hear him and was the envy of the virtuosi of his day. His method greatly differed from that of his contemporaries and predecessors, but so far no one has attempted to explain in what the difference consisted. The same piece of music played by ten different performers equally intelligent and competent will produce a different effect in each case.
Each player will emphasise this or that detail. This or that note will stand out with differing emphasis, and the general effect will vary consequently. And yet, if all the players are equally competent, ought not their performances to be uniform? The fact that they are not so is due to difference of touch, a quality which to the Clavier stands as enunciation to human speech.
Distinctness is essential for the enunciation of vowels and consonants, and not less so for the articulation of a musical phrase. But there are gradations of distinctness. If a sound is emitted indistinctly it is comprehensible only [pg 50] with effort, which occasions us to lose much of the pleasure we should otherwise experience. On the other hand, over-emphasis of words or notes is to be avoided. Otherwise the hearer's attention will be diverted from the tout ensemble. To permit the general effect to be appreciated every note and every vowel must be sounded with balanced distinctness.
I have often wondered why Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach's Essay on the Right Manner of playing the Clavier does not elucidate the qualities that constitute a good touch. For he possessed in high degree the technique that made his father pre-eminent as a player. The right method lies between the two extremes. As he has not done so, I must try to make the matter as clear as is possible in words. Bach placed his hand on the finger-board so that his fingers were bent and their extremities poised perpendicularly over the keys in a plane [pg 51] parallel to them.
Observe the consequences of this position. First of all, the fingers cannot fall or as so often happens be thrown upon the notes, but are placed upon them in full control of the force they may be called on to exert. In the second place, since the force communicated to the note needs to be maintained with uniform pressure, the finger should not be released perpendicularly from the key, but can be withdrawn gently and gradually towards the palm of the hand.
In the third place, when passing from one note to another, a sliding action instinctively instructs the next finger regarding the amount of force exerted by its predecessor, so that the tone is equally regulated and the notes are equally distinct. In other words, the touch is neither too long nor too short, as Carl Philipp Emmanuel complains, but is just what it ought to be.
I point out merely the most important of them. To begin with, if the fingers are bent, their movements are free. The notes are struck without effort and with less risk of missing or hitting too hard, a frequent fault with people who play with their fingers elongated or insufficiently bent. In the second place, the sliding finger-tip, and the consequently rapid transmission of regulated force from one finger to another, tend to bring out each note clearly and to make every passage sound uniformly brilliant and distinct to the hearer without exertion.
In the third place, stroking the note with uniform pressure permits the string to vibrate freely, improves and prolongs the tone, and though the Clavichord is poor in quality, allows the player to sustain long notes upon it. And the method has this advantage: it prevents over-expenditure of strength and excessive movement of the hand. We gather that the action of Bach's fingers was so slight as to be barely perceptible. Only the top joint seemed to move. His hand preserved its rounded shape even in the most intricate passages.
It is hardly necessary to say that that other limbs of his body took no part in his performance, as is the case with many whose hands lack the requisite agility. To be a first-rate performer many other qualities are needed, and Bach possessed them all in a notable degree. Some fingers are longer and stronger than others. Hence players are frequently seduced to use the stronger whenever they can readily do so. Consequently successive notes become unequal in tone, and passages which leave no choice as to the finger to be used may become impossible to play.
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Bach recognised this fact very early in his career. To get over the difficulty he invented exercises for his own use in which the fingers of both hands were made to practise passages in every conceivable position. Besides these improvements, Bach invented a new system of fingering. Even so it was not customary to use every one of the twenty-four major and minor keys. Again, [pg 56] good players in those days hardly ever used the thumb, except when a large interval had to be stretched. But when Bach began to melodise harmony so that his middle parts not merely filled in but had a tune of their own, when, too, he began to deviate from the Church modes then in general vogue in secular music, using the diatonic and chromatic scales indifferently, and tuning the Clavier in all the twenty-four keys, he found himself compelled to introduce a system of fingering better adapted to his innovations than that in use, and in particular, to challenge the convention which condemned the thumb to inactivity.
It is held by some writers that Couperin forestalled Bach's method of fingering, in his L'Art de toucher le Clavecin, published in But that is not the case. In the first place, Bach was above thirty years old in , and had already developed a distinctive method of his own. And in the second place, Couperin's system differs materially from Bach's, though both made more frequent use of the thumb than was so far customary. Consequently Couperin [pg 56] had not an equally urgent need to use the thumb.
We need only compare Couperin's with Bach's system of fingering, as Carl Philipp Emmanuel explains it, to discover that Bach's permits every passage, however intricate and polyphonic, to be played with ease, whereas Couperin's is hardly effective even for his own compositions. Bach was acquainted with Couperin's works and highly esteemed them, as he did those of other French Clavier composers, for their finish and brilliance.
But he considered them affected in their excessive use of ornaments, scarcely a single note being free from them. He held them, also, superficial in matter. Bach's easy, unconstrained use of the fingers, his musical touch, the clearness and precision of every note he struck, the resourcefulness of his fingering, his thorough training of every finger of both hands, the luxuriance of his thematic material and his original method of stating it, all contributed to give him almost unlimited power over his instrument, so easily did he surmount the difficulties of its keyboard.
Whether he improvised or played his compositions from notes, he systematically employed every finger of each hand, and his fingering was as uncommon as the compositions themselves, yet so accurate that he [pg 57] never missed a note. Moreover, he read at sight other people's compositions which, to be sure, were much easier than his own with the utmost facility. Indeed, he once boasted to a friend at Weimar that he could play at sight and without a mistake anything put before him. But he was mistaken, as his friend convinced him before the week was out. Having invited Bach to breakfast one morning, he placed on the Clavier, among other music, a piece which, at a first glance, seemed perfectly easy.
On his arrival, Bach, as was his custom, sat down at the Clavier to play or look through the music.
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Meanwhile his friend was in the next room preparing breakfast. In a short time Bach took up the piece of music destined to change his opinion and began to play it. He had not proceeded far before he came to a passage at which he stopped. After a look at it he began again, only to stop at the same place. It can't be done. He found no more difficulty in piecing together the [pg 58] separate parts when laid side by side before him.
If a Continuo part, however badly figured, was put before him he could improvise a Trio or Quartet upon it. Nay, when he was in the mood and at the height of his powers, he would convert a Trio into a Quartet by extemporising a fourth part. On such occasions he used a Harpsichord with two manuals and pedal attachment. Bach preferred the Clavichord to the Harpsichord, which, though susceptible of great variety of tone, seemed to him lacking in soul. The Pianoforte was still in its infancy and too coarse.
He held the Harpsichord, or Clavicembalo, incapable of the gradations of tone obtainable on the Clavichord, an instrument which, though feeble in quality, is extremely flexible. No one could adjust the quill plectrums of his Harpsichord to Bach's satisfaction; he always did it himself. He tuned his Harpsichord and Clavichord, and was so skilful in the operation that it never took him more than a quarter of an hour.
It enabled him to play in any key he preferred, and placed the whole twenty-four of them at his disposal, so that he could modulate into the remoter as easily and naturally as into the more nearly related keys. Those who heard him frequently could hardly detect the fact that he had modulated into a distant key, so smooth were his transitions. In chromatic movements his modulation was as easy and sequent as in diatonic. His Chromatic Fantasia, which is now published, bears out my statement. In his extemporisation he was even freer, more brilliant and expressive.
He contrived to introduce so much variety that every piece became a sort of conversation between its parts. If he wished to express deep emotion he did not strike the notes with great force, as many do, but expressed his feeling in simple melodic and harmonic figures, relying rather on the internal resources of his art than external dynamics. Therein he was right. True emotion is not suggested by hammering the Clavier. All that results is that the notes cannot be heard distinctly, much less be connected coherently.
What has been said regarding Bach's admirable Clavier playing applies generally to his skill as an organist. The Clavier and Organ have points in common, but in style and touch are as different as their respective uses. What sounds well on the Clavier is ineffective on the Organ, and vice versa. The most accomplished Clavier player may be, and usually is, a bad organist unless he realises the differing natures of the two instruments and the uses they serve. Both were finished Clavier performers, but no trace of the Clavier style was apparent when they played the Organ.
Melody, harmony, and pace were carefully selected with due regard to the nature and distinctive use of each instrument. When Wilhelm Friedemann played the Clavier his touch was elegant, delicate, agreeable.
When he played the Organ he inspired a feeling of reverent awe. On the one he was [pg 62] charming. On the other he was solemn, impressive. So also was his father, and to an even greater degree. Wilhelm Friedemann was a mere child to him as an organist, and frankly admitted the fact. His improvisation was even more inspired, dignified, and impressive: for then his imagination was untrammelled by the irksomeness of expressing himself on paper.
What is the essence of this art? Let me, though imperfectly, attempt an answer. When we compare Bach's Clavier compositions with those written for the Organ it is at once apparent that they differ essentially in melodic and harmonic structure. Hence we conclude that a good organist must select fitting themes for his instrument, and let himself be guided by its character and that of the place in which it stands and by the objects of its use.
Its great body of tone renders the Organ ill-adapted to light and jaunty music. Its echoes must have liberty to rise and fall in the dim spaces of the church, otherwise the sound becomes confused, blurred, and unintelligible. What is played upon it [pg 63] must be suited to the place and the instrument, in other words, must be congruous to a solemn and majestic fabric. Occasionally and exceptionally a solo stop may be used in a Trio, etc. But the proper function of the Organ is to support church singing and to stimulate devotional feeling. The composer therefore must not write music for it which is congruous to secular surroundings.
What is commonplace and trite can neither impress the hearer nor excite devotional feeling. It must therefore be banished from the Organ-loft. How clearly Bach grasped that fact! Even his secular music disdained trivialities. Much more so his Organ music, in which he seems to soar as a spirit above this mortal planet. Of the means by which Bach attained to such an altitude as a composer for the Organ we may notice his harmonic treatment of the old Church modes, his use of the obbligato pedal, and his original registration.
The remoteness of the ecclesiastical modes from our twenty-four major and minor keys renders them particularly appropriate to the service of religion. But no one can realise how the Organ sounds under a similar system of harmonic treatment unless he has heard it. It becomes a choir of four or five parts, each in its natural [pg 64] compass. Compare the following chords in divided harmony:. We realise instantly the effect when music in four or more parts is played in the same manner. Bach always played the Organ so, adding the obbligato pedal, which few organists know how to use properly. He employed it not only to sound the low notes which organists usually play with the left hand, but he gave it a regular part of its own, often so complicated that many organists would find it difficult to play with their five fingers.
To these qualities must be added the exquisite art Bach displayed in combining the stops of the Organ. His registration frequently astonished organists and Organ builders, who ridiculed it at first, but were obliged in the end to admit its [pg 65] admirable results and to confess that the Organ gained in richness and sonority.
Very early in his career he made a point of giving to each part of the Organ the utterance best suited to its qualities, and this led him to seek unusual combinations of stops which otherwise would not have occurred to him. Nothing escaped his notice which had the slightest bearing on his art or promised to advance it. For instance, he made a point of observing the effect of large musical compositions in different surroundings.
The practised ear, which enabled him to detect the slightest error in music even of the fullest and richest texture, and the art and rapidity with which he tuned his instrument, alike attest his intuitive skill and many-sidedness. When he was at Berlin in he was shown the new Opera House. He took in its good and bad qualities at a glance, whereas others had done so only after experience. He was shown the large adjoining Saloon and went up into the gallery that runs round it.
If a [pg 66] person puts his face to the wall in one corner of it and whispers a few words, another person at the corner diagonally opposite can hear them distinctly, though to others between them the words are inaudible. The effect arises from the span of the arches in the roof, as Bach saw at a glance. These and similar observations suggested to him striking and unusual combinations of Organ stops. Bach brought the methods I have indicated to bear upon Church music, and they help to explain his extraordinarily dignified and inspired playing, which was at once so appropriate and filled the listener with deep awe and admiration.
Quantz has expressed the [pg 67] same opinion. It is to be hoped that when he dies it will not be suffered to decline or be lost, as is to be feared from the small number of people who nowadays bestow pains upon it. On those occasions he was wont to select and treat a theme in various ways, making it the subject of each extemporisation even if he continued playing for two hours. As a beginning he played a Prelude and Fugue on the Great Organ. Then he developed it with solo stops in a Trio or Quartet. A Hymn-tune followed, whose melody he interrupted in the subtlest fashion with fragments of the theme in three or four parts.
Last came a Fugue, with full Organ, in which he treated the subject alone or in association with one or more accessory themes. Here we have the art which old Reinken of Hamburg considered to be lost, but which, as he afterwards found, not only survived but attained its greatest perfection in Bach. Bach's pre-eminent position and his high reputation often caused him to be invited to examine candidates for vacant organistships, and to report on new Organs.
In both cases he acted so conscientiously and impartially that he generally made [pg 68] enemies. He could as little prevail on himself to praise a bad instrument as to recommend a bad organist. He was, therefore, severe, though always fair, in the tests he applied, and as he was thoroughly acquainted with the construction of the instrument it was hopeless to attempt to deceive him. First of all he drew out all the stops, to hear the Full Organ.
He used to say jokingly, that he wanted to find out whether the instrument had good lungs! Then he gave every part of it a most searching test. But his sense of fairness was so strong that, if he found the work really well done, and the builder's remuneration [pg 69] too small, so that he was likely to be a loser, Bach endeavoured, and often successfully, to procure for him an adequate addition to the purchase price.
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When the examination was over, especially if the instrument pleased him, Bach liked to exhibit his splendid talent, both for his own pleasure and the gratification of those who were present. Bach's first attempts at composition, like all early efforts, were unsatisfactory. Lacking special instruction to direct him towards his goal, he was compelled to do what he could in his own way, like others who have set out upon a career without a guide.
Most youthful composers let their fingers run riot up and down the keyboard, snatching handfuls of notes, assaulting the instrument in wild frenzy, in hope that something may result from it. He realised that musical ideas need to be subordinated to a plan and that the young composer's first need is a model to instruct his efforts. Opportunely Vivaldi's Concertos for the Violin, then recently published, gave him the guidance he needed.
He had often heard them praised as admirable works of art, and conceived the happy idea of arranging them for the Clavier. Moreover, in adapting to the Clavier ideas and phrases originally written for the Violin Bach was compelled to put his brain to work, and so freed his inspiration from dependence on his fingers. Henceforth he was able to draw ideas out of his own storehouse, and having placed himself on the right road, needed only perseverance and hard work to succeed. And how persevering he was! He even robbed [pg 72] himself of sleep to practise in the night what he had written during the day!
But in that kind of music little can be accomplished with inadequate technique. Bach's first object, therefore, was to develop his power of expressing himself before he attempted to realise the ideal that beckoned him. Music to him was a language, and the composer a poet who, whatever the idiom he affects, must first of all have at his disposal the means of making himself intelligible to others. But the technique of his period Bach found limited in variety and insufficiently pliable.
Therefore he set himself at the outset to refashion the accepted harmonic system. He did so in a manner characteristically individual and bearing the impress of his personality. The addition of a Bass puts it upon a harmonic foundation and clarifies it, but defines rather than gives it added richness. In the first case the accompaniment is subordinate, and serves merely to support the first or principal part. In the second case the two parts are not similarly related. New melodic combinations spring from their interweaving, out of which new forms of musical expression emerge.
If more parts are interwoven in the same free and independent manner, the apparatus of language is correspondingly enlarged, and becomes practically inexhaustible if, in addition, varieties of form and rhythm are introduced. Hence harmony becomes no longer a mere accompaniment of melody, but rather a potent agency for augmenting the richness and expressiveness of musical conversation.
To serve that end a simple accompaniment will not suffice. True harmony is the interweaving of several melodies, which [pg 74] emerge now in the upper, now in the middle, and now in the lower parts. From about the year , when he was thirty-five, until his death in , Bach's harmony consists in this melodic interweaving of independent melodies, so perfect in their union that each part seems to constitute the true melody.
Herein Bach excels all the composers in the world. Even in his four-part writing we can, not infrequently, leave out the upper and lower parts and still find the middle parts melodious and agreeable. But in harmony of this kind each part must be highly plastic; otherwise it cannot play its role as an actual melody and at the same time combine with the other parts.
To produce it Bach followed a course of his own, upon which the textbooks of his day were silent, but which his genius suggested to him. Its originality consists in the freedom of his part writing, in which he transgresses, seemingly, at any rate, rules long established and to his contemporaries almost sacred. Bach, however, realised their object, which was simply to facilitate the flow of pure melody on a sound harmonic basis, in other words, successive and coexistent euphony, and he succeeded with singular success though by [pg 75] unfamiliar means.
Let me explain my meaning more closely. Between simple intervals there is little difficulty in deciding whether the second note must rise or fall. And in regard to phrases, or sections of a phrase, if we analyse their structure and follow out their harmonic tendency, their resolution is equally clear. But this sense of destination may be provoked in each part by different intervals.
As we have observed already, every one of the four parts must flow melodically and freely. But to secure that result it will be necessary to introduce between the notes which begin a phrase and establish its general atmosphere other notes which often are not consonant with those employed in the other parts and whose incidence is governed by the accent. This is what we call a transitus regularis et irregularis.
No one has made more use of such progressions than Bach in order to colour his parts and give them a characteristic melodic line. Hence, unless his music is played with perfect fluency, occasional passages will sound harshly and we may be tempted to accuse him of exaggeration. But the charge is ill founded. Once we play them as Bach intended [pg 76 ] them, such passages reveal their full beauty and their attractive though bizarre dissonance opens up new vistas in the realm of sound.
But, to speak in detail of Bach's transgression of recognised rules. To begin with, he admitted octaves and fifths provided they sounded well; that is, when the cause of their being forbidden did not arise. Bach's octaves and fifths never produce bad or thin harmony, and he was very definite as to when they could and could not be used.
In certain circumstances he would not permit hidden fifths and octaves even between the middle parts, though we exclude them only between the outer parts. Yet, on occasion he used them in such a barefaced manner as to puzzle the beginner in composition. But their use very soon commends itself. Even in the last revision of his early compositions we find him altering passages, which at first sight appear impeccable, with the object of enriching their harmony and without scrupling to use hidden octaves.
A remarkable instance occurs [pg 77] in the first part of the Well-tempered Clavier, in the E major Fugue, between the fifth and fourth bars from the end. I stupidly preferred the older, more correct, and harsher reading, though in the later text the three parts run easily and smoothly.
And what more can one demand? Again, there is a rule that every note raised by an accidental cannot be doubled in the chord, because the raised note must, from its nature, resolve on the note above. If it is doubled, it must rise doubled in both parts and, consequently, form consecutive octaves. Such is the rule. But Bach frequently doubles not only notes accidentally raised elsewhere in the scale but actually the semitonium modi or leading-note itself.
Yet he avoids consecutive octaves. His finest works yield examples of this. In general what is called an Organ point is merely a retarded close. Bach, however, did not hesitate to employ it in the middle of a piece; a striking example occurs in the last Gigue of the English Suites. But it grows more beautiful as it becomes more familiar, and what seemed harsh is found to be smooth and agreeable, until one never tires of playing and hearing it. Bach's modulation was as original and characteristic as his harmony, and as closely related to it.
But the two things, though closely associated, are not the same. By harmony we mean the concordance of several parts; by modulation, their progression through keys. Modulation can take place in a single part. Harmony requires more than one. I will endeavour to make my meaning clearer. Most composers stick closely to their tonic key and modulate out of it with deliberation.
In music that requires a large number of performers, and in a building, for instance a church, where the large volume of sound dies away slowly, such a habit shows good sense in the composer who wishes his work to produce the best possible effect. But in chamber or instrumental music it is not always a proof of wisdom, but rather of mental poverty.
Bach saw clearly that the two [pg 79] styles demand different treatment. In his large choral compositions he bridles his exuberant fancy. In his instrumental works he lets himself go. As he never courted popularity, but always pursued his ideal, Bach had no reason to suppress the nobility of his inspirations, or to lower their standard for public consumption.
Nor did he ever do so. Therefore every modulation in his instrumental work is a new thought, a constantly progressive creation in the plane of the chosen keys and those related to them. Every modulation bears a strict relationship to the key from which it proceeds, and springs naturally from it. Bach ignored, or rather despised, the sudden sallies by which many composers seek to surprise their hearers. Even in his chromatic passages his progressions are so smooth and easy that we are hardly conscious of them, however extreme they may be. He makes us feel that he has not stepped outside the diatonic scale, so quick is he to seize upon the consonances common to dissonant systems and combine them to his sure purpose.
It not infrequently happens that talented composers and players are incapable of imparting their skill to others. Either they have never troubled to probe the mechanism of their own facility, or, through the excellence of their instructors, have taken the short cut to proficiency and allowed their teacher and not their own judgment to decide how a thing should be done. Such people are useless to instruct beginners. True, they may succeed in teaching the rudiments of technique, assuming that they have been properly taught themselves. But they are certainly unqualified to teach in the full sense of the word.
There is, in fact, only one way to become a good teacher, and that is to have gone through the discipline of self-instruction, a path along which the beginner may go astray a thousand times before attaining to perfection. For it is just this stumbling effort that reveals the dimensions of the art. The man who has adventured it learns the obstacles that obstruct his path, and how to surmount them.
To be sure, it is a lengthy method. But if a man [pg 93] has patience to persevere he will reap a sure reward after an alluring pilgrimage. No musician ever founded a school of his own who has not followed such a course, and to his experience his teaching has owed its distinctive character. This is so with Bach, who, only gradually discovering his full stature, was thirty years old before unremitting application raised him above the difficulties of his art.
But he reaped his reward. Self-discipline set him on the fairest and most alluring path that it has ever been given to a musician to tread. To teach well a man needs to have a full mind. He must have discovered how to meet and have overcome the obstacles in his own path before he can be successful in teaching others how to avoid them. Bach united both qualities. Hence, as a teacher he was the most instructive, clear, and definite that has ever been. In every branch of his art he produced a band of pupils who followed in his footsteps, without, however, equalling his achievement.
First of all let me show how he taught the Clavier. He kept them at these exercises for from six to twelve months, unless he found his pupils losing heart, in which case he so far met them as to write short studies which incorporated a particular exercise. Of this kind are the Six Little Preludes for Beginners, and the Fifteen Two-part Inventions, both of which Bach wrote during the lesson for a particular pupil and afterwards improved into beautiful and expressive compositions.
Besides this finger practice, either in regular exercises or in pieces composed for the purpose, Bach introduced his pupils to the use of the various ornaments in both hands. Not until this stage was reached did Bach allow his pupils to practise his own larger works, so admirably calculated, as he knew, to develop their powers. One exception is eins which becomes ein- in 21, 31, 41, etc. German is not the only language with this "reverse" order of numbers: Danish another Germanic language and Arabic do it the same way.
To go straight to the lesson test, go here. The test will have four parts to it: Grammar 79 points , Translating 95 points , Reading Comprehension 20 points , Vocabulary 20 points , and Previous Topics 10 points in that order. The Grammar section will test your ability to know the verbs from this lesson and its various versions, to know articles - the genders of them and the correct usage of them, and correct word order.
The Translating section is worth the most points, and it too has three sections. You must know the translations for sentences and phrases going from English to German, and be able to take a German dialogue and translate it back into English. Also you must know the translation from Numbers to German. The third section, Reading Comprehension, is Comprehension Questions you must know how to read the conversion and after reading you will be asked question on the previous conversion.
The fourth section is a vocabulary section. You get 20 English words on the left and 20 German words on the right, and be asked to match them. To study for that, check out the flashcards related to this lesson at FlashcardExchange. The last section, Previous Topics, is a quick review on Lesson 1 to get ready for this section, just look at some past notes or go to Lesson 1 and study. That is the whole test. Take it! As you know from the introduction , in German, there are four cases. Three are used often. The first, Nominative Case , you learned in Lesson 1.
It covers the subject , and the predicate noun in "He is noun. The second, the Accusative Case , you will learn now. It covers the direct object and the object of several prepositions. The third, the Dative Case will be taught later on. It covers the indirect object and the object of many other prepositions. The object of a sentence will be in accusative case. In, "You hurt me. However related words, such as possessives and the kein- words that you will learn later this lesson, will end in eine for plurals.
Therefore above, der Hamburger goes to den Hamburger and ein Hamburger goes to einen Hamburger when the hamburger is the direct object, such as in "Er hat einen Hamburger. If you are getting confused, it's fine. This topic is one of the hardest for English speakers to grasp. Here are some solutions:. To find out the case of something, first find the verb. The verb rules the sentence. Everything revolves around it. Next you find the subject of the sentence. The subject is always in the Nominative Case , so it takes on the der, die, das, die, or ein, eine, ein.
Now you look back at the verb. If it is a being verb am, are, is, etc. An easy way to figure this out is to write an equation. If it can't be replaced by an equals sign, refer to the next paragraph. The predicate noun is also always in the Nominative Case , so the same rules apply to it. If the verb of the sentence is an action verb playing, throwing, making, eating , find what the subject is doing the verb to.
For example, if the verb is "makes" macht , you look for what is being made. That is the direct object. The direct object is always in the Accusative Case , so it takes on the den, die, das, die, or einen, eine, ein. The indefinite articles, when you just look at their endings, select e, -, e for nominative case, and en, e, -, e for accusative. Remember, between nominative and accusative, the only third-person change is in the masculine form. The pronouns experience a much bigger change than the articles.
This is also true in English, as the articles a, an, the do not change ever, but I goes to me , we goes to us , etc. Not everything is the same, though. While me is mich and us is uns , the second and third persons undergo different changes. In third person, as in the articles, the only change is in masculine singular. Following the "der goes to den" rule, er goes to ihn when in the accusative case. The second person in English never changes. In German, du goes to dich and ihr goes to euch. Sie , the formal version of either, stays the same. Remember, Sie 2nd person formal and sie 3rd person plural only differ in their meanings and the fact that the former is capitalized and the latter is not.
This stays true throughout German grammar. Note: This is just a quick lesson in English grammar applied into German. If you already know all about antecedents in English, skip the first paragraph. When using a pronoun, you have to know what it is for it to work. There are some rare exceptions, such as in mysteries or drama, but otherwise this is always true. Sometimes in dialogue this is taken care of by pointing or making some other gesture, but most of the time, the pronoun modifies something already mentioned.
In German this is very useful. You can't simply say 'it' any more. Many food words are masculine and feminine, and when you turn them into pronouns, they turn into 'he', 'she', 'him', and 'her', not always 'it'. For example, the sentence "The cheeseburger tastes good. It's very crunchy. He's very crunchy. Why is it "he"? This is where the antecedent comes in. Because there are foods that are masculine and feminine in German, you can't assume the 'es'. You have to look back at the previous sentence, at the antecedent, der Cheeseburger.
Of these five verbs, only trinken and bekommen are regular. Essen is irregular that's what the "I" means. Do you remember from the last lesson 'lesen' and 'sehen'? Well essen experiences the same change, except that it changes to 'i', not 'ie'. Also, it acts the same as 'lesen' in the du-form: You don't have three s's in a row. Isst sounds and looks a lot like ist. The minute difference happens to be in the way you pronounce the s. When you mean eats it is sometimes an overstressed hissing i. In normal life Germans, too, can only tell which verb is meant from knowing the context.
The last two verbs marked M are modals. They will be discussed in the next section. In the introduction , you learned that German has no helping verbs. Instead, they have modals , words that basically do the same thing. Modals are conjugated very differently from normal verbs.
Most modals experience a vowel change from singular to plural, and the rest is the same. Here is the complete conjugation:. However, will can also mean an intent or a document showing what one wants to happen. So it is not so different from 'to want' as possibly originally presumed. This is very important. When you need to use another verb with a modal such as expressing you would like or want to perform an action , the sentence's word order is somewhat different than it would be in English.
In English, you would state the subject pronoun such as "I" , an English equivalent to the modal verb such as "want" , the action you want to perform such as "to eat" and then what the action will be performed on such as "hamburger" , making the sentence "I want to eat a hamburger. In German, instead of saying, "I'm hungry. Here are the German translations of the corresponding nouns:. Like in English, these two words do not have a plural form.
When using them, you don't need to worry about the 'der'; you can just say, "Ich habe Hunger" to say "I am hungry" and "Ich habe keinen Hunger" for "I am not hungry. Somewhat archaic but still in use are the adjectives hungrig and durstig. In Lesson 1 , you learned how to talk formally, using phrases like "Guten Morgen! There are, however, a few words that are 'survival words' in Germany, specifically:. Twice you have been taught that the ending of the indefinite article for plurals would be eine for Nominative and Accusative cases , if there was an indefinite article for plurals.
Now that lesson applies. The k ein-words have the same endings as the ein-words, and they mean the opposite: no, not any, none. For example, "kein Cheeseburger" means "no cheeseburger". Notice the 'e' at the end of 'keine'. There are many restaurants you might find in Germany. Much like in English-speaking countries, you would more likely use the name of the restaurant than name what kind of restaurant. If you want to address the wish to eat a certain food, there are two ways:.
There are few American restaurants, in Germany and they are mostly referred to as " American Diner", so it is not used like "zum Italiener". You read at the beginning of this lesson that the Accusative Case covers the direct object and the objects of some prepositions. Here are those prepositions that always fall under Accusative Case. You learned um last lesson, and ohne earlier this lesson. Up until this point, you have only worried about the Accusative Case in third person. Here's an example:. In German as in English there are several ways of telling how food tastes. You can do this with 'gut' and 'schlecht' from Lesson 1 to say:.
But this is bland. Hopefully the food has more flavor than the description of it. You can use the following words to more colorfully describe how the cheeseburger tastes:. The first and second persons really shouldn't be used. No one is going to say, "You guys taste salty" or "I taste creamy. You can use 'schmeckt' and 'schmecken' or 'ist' and 'sind' to state how the food tastes. Just use whichever one you would use in English and it'll usually be correct.
Although the English meaning of schmecken is simply to taste , "Schmeckt der Cheeseburger? In other words, schmecken alone can mean to taste good. You could be talking about a cheeseburger that is not directly in front of you. It just isn't clear. Now, if you said, " This cheeseburger tastes good. It changes forms in different situations: different genders and different cases. It can also mean 'these' when modifying a plural. Here are its forms:. As you can see, dieser is only appropriate for modifying masculine nouns in nominative case. But 'Cheeseburger', which is masculine, is the subject of the sentence, "Dieser Cheeseburger schmeckt gut.
Jeder means 'every'. It acts exactly like 'dieser' in its endings, so it should be easy to remember. Here are the different forms:. Notice the absence of the plural form. When you think about this, it's the same in English: no one says 'every books'. However, because the general subject has to be specified, welcher must be inflected before use: "Welcher Hamburger ist seine? You might want to say 'every day', 'this week', 'every morning', or 'which Tuesday night? But to do this, not only do you need to know the jeder-forms, but also the genders of the times and the cases.
The second one is easy: Whenever you do something at a certain time, that time is put into Accusative Case. Last lesson, you learned the gender of one time: der Tag. So now you know everything to say 'diesen Tag', 'jeden Tag', and 'welchen Tag? Here are the cases of all the times in Lesson 2 :. When extending to 'which Tuesday night? Likewise, you can say 'every June' the same as 'every month': 'jeden Juni'.
Look at the second sentence of each of these German dialogues. What's missing? That's right, instead of "Der Cheeseburger schmeckt sehr gut. We're left with just the articles, only in this case, they aren't articles. They're demonstrative pronouns. Demonstrative pronouns aren't scary. They're just the same as the normal pronouns, only they give more oomph to the sentence. They can be translated as either 'this' or 'that' "I'd like a cheeseburger.
That tastes very good. These I like. Demonstrative pronouns are exactly the same as the definite articles well, there is one change in dative, but that will be covered in Lesson 7. If you are not sure of the gender meaning in context, the speaker doesn't know, not that you've forgotten that it's 'der Cheeseburger' , use 'das', like in "Was ist das? One Euro is worth Cents.
If you say "Ich habe vier Euros. Because the backsides of euro coins look different in each country, many people in Europe have started collecting foreign euro coins. In this case you can say "Ich habe irische Euros. There is not yet a rule whether or not the word "Cent" has a different plural form. The majority of Germans are using the word "Cent" as a plural form, but when they don't it is simply "Cents". For "Cent" there are two pronunciations: you can either pronounce it as in English or you say "tzent". The latter version seems to be preferred by older people. You can also say, " Herr Ober , die Rechnung bitte!
The term "der Ober" is the waiter, but this sounds very old fashioned and is hardly ever used today. To address the waiter you would probably say "Entschuldigen Sie, The test will be located here , but the test for this lesson is not yet completed. In fact, almost all words with the ending -chen are neuter. In every Lesson from 7 - 15 there is going to be a featured German-Speaking city, which will be the theme of the lesson. For 7 - 8 it is Berlin.
Also in each lesson there will be facts, so if you ever travel to a German-Speaking country, it'll be like you are a native! That means that they are 6 hours ahead of E. If it's pm in New York City, it's pm or locally. Please note that Germany changes to and from daylight-saving time a few weeks before the U. In contrast to many other countries where waiters sometime 'live on the tips' in German-speaking countries service personnel always receive a regular wage usually per hour and the tip is always an extra for good service.
Not to give a tip will probably give the waiter the impression that either service or product were not that good and you are too polite to admit this, but not tipping is not considered 'rude'. Also, tipping is only expected when you get served, i. Only when having a large party, like celebrating your birthday in a restaurant, you do extra tipping. In many restaurants it is normal the tip is shared with the kitchen personnel.
Paying with credit card or debit card makes tipping difficult, because there is no line on the bill to fill in the tip. Always tip when paying, don't leave money on the table. There are two major shopping locations. It continues eastwards for about three hundred yards where you can visit KaDeWe , the biggest department store in Europe. Shops are generally open 9am-8pm Monday through Saturday.
In the outskirts most shops close at 4pm on Saturdays. There is a lot to say about shopping, places to shop at, money and items to buy. In this lesson we will cover most of it. There are two big shopping locations in Berlin. Another shopping location is das KaDeWe, an upscale department store in Germany. It has six floors, and Is also called "The department store of the west" Kaufhaus des Westens because it is the largest and most magnificent department store on continental Europe.
Since we already have most of the general shopping phrases and vocabulary down, we are going to get into more detail in the next few sections. First is electronics: it might seem a little sparse, but electronics and much other stuff will be featured in Lesson If you look at the word order of this sentence, you will see that you've already learned everything you need to make these sentences, and you, yourself can customize these sentences if you want.
The bedding section is also quite bare, but that is because it will be discussed further in Lesson Currently 1 EUR is 1. Even though in the vocabulary we list the 1, 2, 5, 10, Euro there are more Euro notes. The twenty, fifty, two hundred, and five hundred Euro notes are the ones we didn't list, also there are cent coins. In written German, a comma is used e.
The reverse is also true. Where as English uses a comma to split up large numbers, German uses a dot. Now if you try something on or you're looking for a soft shirt with a tight fit, you find it, feel it, try it on, but it's fairly expensive you might say this In English: The shirt looks great! The shirt feels soft, fits tight. The shirt is very comfortable. How much does it cost? Oh no! The shirt is expensive! In German: Das Hemd sieht prima aus! Das Hemd ist sehr bequem.
Wieviel kostet es? Oh nein! Das Hemd ist teuer! Now, the bold words are verbs that are one part in describing how the shirt is. The other half of describing it is the adjectives like soft, tight, great, etc. And as you can see the verb "looks" is separable, but we will get into that later. And now getting into verbs - here are some of the verbs, and also some of these are Separable-Prefix Verbs, like aussehen, anprobieren, and anhaben. But we will study those in more detail later.
Also we will be learning about "tragen". Many German verbs change their meaning by adding prefixs, which are often preposition such as ab-, an-, auf-, aus-, bei-, ein-, mit-, vor-, or zu-. The verbs anhaben to wear and aussehen to look are both verbs with separable trennbar prefixes. That is, when used next to the subject pronoun, the prefix is separated from the verb and put at the end of the sentence or clause. Or, better put, In the present tense and imperative, the prefix is separated from the infinitive stem.
However, when the separable-prefix verb is put at the end of the sentence, such as when used with a modal verb, the verb in question and its prefix are not separated. Instead of "anhaben" the verb "tragen" is often used. The sentences from above would then be:. The verb "tragen" has two meanings: "to wear" and "to carry". So if someone says "Ich trage Schuhe" only the context will tell you whether the person is carrying the shoes in his hands or actually wearing them.
Tragen is a different kind of irregular verb -- one that not only changes at the end of the word, but also changes internally. Other verbs with similar conjugation patterns include fahren, graben, schaffen, and waschen. Color are also another great way to describe clothes like Das rote Hemd passt gut. Wir fahren in den Schwarzwald. Die Reise war lang. There are many banks of all kinds throughout the country. Banks are open Mon-Fri 9ampm and pm. On Thursdays, they are open until or 6pm. Changing money is best done at a bank because their rates will be better than exchange services located at a Bureau de Change.
Major post office branches and travel agents also offer currency exchange. Germany is one of 15 European countries that have replaced their national currencies with the Euro, which is stronger to the U. Dollar, but weaker than the British Pound. Home is where the heart is, they say. And what is in the home? It'll give all vocabulary for the family, and later in a different section, you'll learn how to describe your brothers and sisters or any person! And now to get started lets do some vocabulary Now even though many of these are common phrases you and I would say in everyday life, some of these are rather used when you are on a visit to grandmother's, or things your mother would say.
Maybe you notice some of these in the dialogue. Now you might be asking "How am I going to speak fluent German, if I just learn phrases? Okay let's get started on these common phrases Some very conservative families might still use Sie with grandparents or even parents! This is sometimes practiced in families of nobility or exterritorial cultural islands in which older German customs have survived. However, using "Sie" feels very outdated to the vast majority of people. In practically every family all members use du with each other. I can't describe in words how important this section of the lesson is.
Even though you have already learned to describe to some degree, here we will introduce a new aspect of describing, and we will review. But how could we describe if we didn't have vocabulary? Here it is The verb used most often for describing is " to be " which we learned in the first lesson. Some examples are: He is wet, This is stupid, I am lazy. But you do use other verbs like feel, look, etc. This lesson we will be sticking mostly with the verbs we've learned in the past.
We will, however, learn one new verb. All sentences we will create will be in the nominative case. Okay, let's get started! In term of beauty, you can say four basic things. These aren't the all but these are the easiest and simplest ones. These two use the verb to be , and the next one will use the verb to look which would need something else in order to make sense. And in the last sentence it says "ausgesehen.
So since you get the idea of describing, let's learn a new verb! And the new verb is klingen which is to sound. As in "He sounds weird. It's works just like other verbs. Exactly like in English. For right now, that's all for describing things. We are going to have some small describing lessons with some parts of this lesson. Okay we just went over the verb in the previous section. This will basically be a list that will help you memorize them better, and there is not a lot.
The "Er sieht aus" is to show you it is a separable-prefix verb. This is also a large section of this lesson: nationality, and it's very important. There are many nationalities, too many to go over in this lesson, but you will learn more nationality as this level and book goes on. Right now we are just going to have a vague little list, and as this section goes on there will be more. Finally, gentlemen, get ready to have your minds blown It is no surprise you can describe people with nationality, most times, it's stereotypical, like Norwegians are blonde, tall, etc.
However you can just use it for what it is, a nationality. If you do describe people by nationality this will help. Okay, you should already know how to describe, right? This part we will get more in to detail later, but right it is an important part of describing people with nationality, even though in English we most times don't do this, in German they do.
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The difference between nationality and language, like in English, French and French. This also is how it works for nationality describing by noun or adjective, which we are going to learn right now. There are two ways to describe someone. With a noun-based nationality word or an adjective-based nationality word. But note that in German the noun-based form is used more often. Now we are all familiar with the word " alt' ", which means old.
And in English, to find out somebody's age we ask " How old are you? In German it is exactly the same. The " alt " kind of belongs to the interrogative adverb, so in both German and English it may be in front of the verb:. To ask this important question in the 2nd person. First, we will learn the biggest question here, " How old are you?
You should all ready get the pattern for this, but we are going to keep on doing this list, if you aren't sure of something or you are confused. So for the 3rd person Now with some people you might be able to guess their age, and you could ask them directly about it. This is usually pretty of rude, but it illustrates nicely how the phrase has to be changed if you ask a yes-no-question, so let's get started, anyway!
Note the inversed order between "Wie alt bist du? Note : 'Euer' is irregular. When 'euer' has to have a different ending the e before r is dropped, so it turns into 'eur-'. Don't let the weird order of the words disturb you, even if the phrase seems totally incomprehensible at first. I'll try to construct this bit by bit:. Note that the "to" is already included in the German word "rechnen". This is one of the main reasons why complicated conjugations can survive, they contain information that doesn't have to be expressed otherwise then To be a little more polite or at least seem like it, since our teacher probably wouldn't take a no for an answer.
This is another example for brevity by conjugation. Don't be discouraged, many Germans don't realize this, and many don't use the Konjunktiv correctly, if ever. This is a direct object, "Aufgabe" is in the accusative case. Because this is a feminine noun, this is not so obvious, but the structure is the same as in:. Now, we also have an adverbial expression of the place. This is an expression that defines the verb, thus ad-verbial. Note that the order expressions is widely interchangeable. You can emphasize something by putting it closer to the end of the question.
Note that after "zu" follows the dative case, so "der" is not the masculine but the feminine article. It is often used when writing legibly on a large, visible surface such as blackboard or a flipchart. So, as you might have guessed, plus and minus are the same as in English - they are just pronounced German. The verbs "addieren" and "subtrahieren" are probably not difficult either This is also used in every day phrases, such as "mal habe ich dir gesagt Between single classes, there is usually a break of five minutes to allow teachers and students to go from one classroom to another.
In most schools, classes such as German, English, History, Philosophy are taught in the classroom. Classes that use special equipment, such as all sciences, music and arts and of course computers and sport are being taught in a specialized lab classes. Roughly every second break is 15 minutes long, and if there are lessons in the afternoon, there's often a break of 45 to 60 minutes for lunch.
This sentence sounds strange. This is, because in everyday German, sometimes the verb gehen can be left out, if it is clear what is meant. But since Torsten will not think Silke is going to fly there, there will be no misunderstanding. Additionally, the word "class", or "course" is missing, which is the usual way of students to talk about their subjects.