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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Bach Crucifixus from Mass in B minor

In the beginning of this piece we have a section from measures 1-14 that contains the melodic line accompanied by the word 'crucifixus' passing from one voice to another, first in a descending manner and then without pattern. This expository section gives the listener a solid idea of what the melody is. The next section runs from measures 15 to 29. The melody introduced with 'crucifixus' has moved to the lower voices and while it still retains the same word as the lyrics, the rhythm has changed. The section is the first instance of variation. Measures 29-36 have the voices almost in unison with the words in the lyrics and there's a much stronger sense of unity here. Following that, from bar 36 to the end there is a slight feeling of a return of the original motive with the downward motion of the voices entering with the word 'crucifixus' once again. However, the word is only repeated once and more lyrics follow, so it is somewhat deceiving. Bars 49 to the end are a bit of an extension.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thank you for an enlightening discussion of Bach's "Crucifixus" from Mass in B minor. I found that your input opened my mind and eyes to see more deeply than I was capable of doing before, however I disagree that the first section ends at measure 15. More likely measure 13 represents the ending of section 1 and likewise the beginning of section 2. I feel this way because of the cadence, for one, and also because this is where the melodic shape of the word "crucifixus" changes from a downward descent to an upward arch. Besides that, I think you're right on the mark.