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Musical Techniques in Balanchine's Jazzy Bach Ballet

Musical Techniques in Balanchine's Jazzy Bach Ballet The choreography of George Balanchine has long been described as “musical.” By applying music-analytic tools to patterns in dance, this essay analyzes relationships between dance and music in Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, set to J. S. Bach's Concerto for Two Violins (BWV 1043). Choreomusical notation and annotated videos offer readers the chance to sketch-dance, to feel in their own bodies the movements in relation to the music. Balanchine's choreography maps both specific patterns of pitch and rhythm from Bach's score—sometimes synchronized to the music and sometimes displaced temporally—and general patterns of motivic development and metric manipulation. Balanchine's use of funky rhythms resonates with his characteristic on-top-of-the-beat step timing, offbeat visual accentuation, and jazz-dance-inspired movements, attesting to the adoption of both Africanist and Europeanist musical techniques in the formation of an American neoclassical ballet. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Music Theory Duke University Press

Musical Techniques in Balanchine's Jazzy Bach Ballet

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Copyright
Copyright © 2021 by Yale University
ISSN
0022-2909
eISSN
1941-7497
DOI
10.1215/00222909-9124762
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The choreography of George Balanchine has long been described as “musical.” By applying music-analytic tools to patterns in dance, this essay analyzes relationships between dance and music in Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, set to J. S. Bach's Concerto for Two Violins (BWV 1043). Choreomusical notation and annotated videos offer readers the chance to sketch-dance, to feel in their own bodies the movements in relation to the music. Balanchine's choreography maps both specific patterns of pitch and rhythm from Bach's score—sometimes synchronized to the music and sometimes displaced temporally—and general patterns of motivic development and metric manipulation. Balanchine's use of funky rhythms resonates with his characteristic on-top-of-the-beat step timing, offbeat visual accentuation, and jazz-dance-inspired movements, attesting to the adoption of both Africanist and Europeanist musical techniques in the formation of an American neoclassical ballet.

Journal

Journal of Music TheoryDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2021

References