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Thursday, February 10, 2005

J.S. Bach: "Minuet" from Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach (1725)

Well, the Spencer book says that my piece is found in the Burkhart anthology, and it’s not there. This happens after 11 PM when the library closes. So, I chose the first piece on the list I could find that was located in the Burkhart anthology, “Minuet” from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. I had no idea that it was THE famous minuet that I grew up listening to.

The piece is written in binary form with two periods, one period serving as the A section, the other the B section. The A section, from measures 1 to 16, is composed of two repetitive phrases, a and a prime. The antecedent phrase, measures 1 to 8, ends in a half cadence. The consequent phrase, measures 9 to 16, has the exact same melodic material, but ends in a PAC. The two measures are parallel and symmetrical. The entire period is repeated again, with no structural phenomena other than the return of the melodic motive from the antecedent phrase.

The B section, from measures 17 to 32, is also composed of two phrases, b and b prime. The antecedent phrase, measures 17 to 24, ends in a half cadence. The consequent phrase, measures 25 to 32, ends in a PAC. The consequent phrase shares some melodic material with the antecedent phrase, that is moved down a fifth, from measures 21 to 22 and measures 29 to 30. These two phrases are contrasting and symmetrical.

“Minuet” is simple and straightforward. The original notebook served as a birthday gift for Bach’s young second wife.

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