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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

J.S. Bach French Suite in E Major, Menuet

This lovely menuet is broken into two major repeated sections (typical for this genre of movement). The first is an even eight-bar phrase, ending in a PAC. The second section consists of a period with a half cadence at the end of the first eight measures and a PAC at the end of the second eight measures. All three phrases are symmetric and quite similar rhythmically and often melodically as well. There is a recurrance of running eight notes in the right hand alternating with quarter notes in an arcing gesture. In the left hand, there is a recurrance of a group of three eighth notes followed by a strong quarter in the lower octave register on the last beat of the involved measure. Eighth notes in the left hand always begin syncopated on the subdivision of the first beat, while this phenomenom never appears in the right hand.

Interestingly enough, there is a slight trick in all of this. Though the first phrase/section begins in E major, it modulates by 6-7 th measure and cadences in the dominant. As the melody is repeated, the first time, upon the return to E, this ending could sound as a half cadence. However, on the second run of this phrase, it moves right along in B into the section. The PAC in B is reinforced by the second section's continuing in the new key. Then again at about 5-6 measures into the new phrase (m13-14) suddenly it modulates back to E and ends on a half cadence. Then it continues on in E and ends in a very distinct, trill-punctuated PAC (in E).

1 comment:

Mr. Luxury Yacht said...

Nice observations about the key changes. It can really make a piece interesting and somewhat unpredictable.