Welcome to my blog

I have created this site in order to provide performers, listeners and composers with a description of a composer's experiences with the creative process. The posts will provide discussions of the inspirations, challenges, and successes of a composer from the inception of the piece to the culmination in performance. I will provide a link to where you can see and hear the works in progress. Comments and questions are always welcomed. They will not posted unless you grant me permission.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Transcription of Bach Orchestra Suite No. 1 - Menuets

Transcribing Bach's music has given me even more appreciation for this great composer. His music is great not only because he has divine inspiration, but also because his music achieves perfect balance between strong harmonic progression and melodic interest of the individual parts. His music is unified through the use of repeated motives, yet has variety because the motifs are subtly varied. Even in these simple Menuets, Bach creates interest varying his melodic motifs and with subtle shifts in articulation and orchestration.

I kept the alto sax in the instrumentation and used the clarinet on the melody when I wanted to give the oboe a rest like in the first section of Menuet I, and marked the dynamics f the first time and p the second. I rest the bass clarinet during the second section of Menuet I until M. 18, where I rest the oboe instead for four measures. Here I use terrace dynamics to build from mp to mf and finally to f where the oboe comes back in. Menuet II was originally written for all strings at a p dynamic level, so the oboe rests the entire time.

I found the articulation in Menuet II interesting as the slurs do not always line up between parts. It seemed as though Bach was trying to emphasize the two note step-wise motif by slurring it, but it wasn't always consistent. I perceive his intentions as creating a subtle counterpoint using articulation and encourage the performers to emphasize these differences so that they do not sound like mistakes.

To see and hear what I have discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/bach_orchestra_suite_blog.html. You will be viewing a transposed score.

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Dr. B

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