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Thursday, March 20, 2008


Chord Progression: m.1-I, m.2-V^6, m.3-vi&V^7/V, m.4-V, m.5-I^6, m.6-IV&I^6&vii^o, m.7-IV^(43)&I^(64)&V^7, m.8-I^7

One thing that links all of the variations of Handel's Chaconne in G Major is that they all are only 8 measure long. The first variation is a rhythmically simplified version of the original. All of the variations are in some form of triple meter. The second variation remains in 3/4 time and instead has the original bass in the melody and its elaboration of in the bass. The third variation goes into 9/8 time and its melody consists of almost all triplet 8th notes. The bass of this melody still retains the original rhythm almost completely. In this variation the original bass part returns to the bass of the bass of this variation and the melody mirrors the bass of variation two only in triplets instead of straight 8th notes. In Variation 4, the original bass again takes residence in the melody and a reproduction of the melody of variation 3 in the bass. While the chord progression remains the same for all of the variations, here we see the first obvious change of the accompaniment, bass-like, block chord part. It changes so that there is only one beat per chord in a given measure with rests in between the chord changes. The melody elaborates on the melodies of the previous variations. This is the first introduction of the sixteenth note into the variations. Variation 6 is basically the inversion of variation 5 with all of the same rhythmic texture. Variation 7 has the melody with continuous sixteenth notes and the bass has a similar line as Variation 5. Variation 8 is basically the inversion of variation 7 with the addition of a first and second ending. 

All of the first 8 variations are harmonically identical. They all share the same chord progression and utilize similar harmonizations with different time signatures and rhythms. The shorter bass note length causes a more upbeat, happy, dance-like feel to come to the music. 

The major variations are grouped by two. Variations 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6, and 7 and 8 all correspond. They usually are the inverted versions the other in the pair. They all have the same harmony and chord structure. There are times in the minor variations where the melody and the bass switch parts back and forth like in Variation 13 where the melody goes from eighth notes to sixteenth notes while the bass goes from sixteenth notes to eighth notes. 

All of the minor variations' bass lines go in a downward progression. 

This piece would probably be seen as a large form of rounded binary because of the movement from G major to G minor and back and the identical chord progressions of the first and last sections.  

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