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Triple Counterpoint and Six‐Four Chords in Bach's Sinfonia in F Minor

Triple Counterpoint and Six‐Four Chords in Bach's Sinfonia in F Minor ABSTRACT The Sinfonia (Three‐Part Invention) in F minor stands out among J. S. Bach's masterworks of triple counterpoint because of its bold departures from conventional practices of dissonance treatment and harmonic syntax with respect to six‐four chords, licence that Bach takes to accommodate thematic material in the bass. This essay explores several interrelated musical components central to the extraordinary nature of the piece: the polyphonic structure of the subject and the transferred resolution of its most prominent dissonance; the above‐mentioned departures from conventional treatment of six‐four chords; the altered linear and harmonic meanings of the subject, first countersubject and second countersubject in the context of modulation via auxiliary cadence; Bach's use of particular permutations to mark with perfect authentic cadences both keys and sections of form; and his use of certain permutations to create a prolongational structure on a deep middleground level. The essay also briefly explores the views of the eighteenth‐century theorists Johann Philipp Kirnberger and Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg regarding six‐four chords in the context of invertible counterpoint; Bach's employment of melodic and cadential formulas common in eighteenth‐century fugue and partimento; and the descriptions of those cadential formulas by several seventeenth‐ and eighteenth‐century theorists. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Triple Counterpoint and Six‐Four Chords in Bach's Sinfonia in F Minor

Music Analysis , Volume 34 (3) – Oct 1, 2015

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12041
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ABSTRACT The Sinfonia (Three‐Part Invention) in F minor stands out among J. S. Bach's masterworks of triple counterpoint because of its bold departures from conventional practices of dissonance treatment and harmonic syntax with respect to six‐four chords, licence that Bach takes to accommodate thematic material in the bass. This essay explores several interrelated musical components central to the extraordinary nature of the piece: the polyphonic structure of the subject and the transferred resolution of its most prominent dissonance; the above‐mentioned departures from conventional treatment of six‐four chords; the altered linear and harmonic meanings of the subject, first countersubject and second countersubject in the context of modulation via auxiliary cadence; Bach's use of particular permutations to mark with perfect authentic cadences both keys and sections of form; and his use of certain permutations to create a prolongational structure on a deep middleground level. The essay also briefly explores the views of the eighteenth‐century theorists Johann Philipp Kirnberger and Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg regarding six‐four chords in the context of invertible counterpoint; Bach's employment of melodic and cadential formulas common in eighteenth‐century fugue and partimento; and the descriptions of those cadential formulas by several seventeenth‐ and eighteenth‐century theorists.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Oct 1, 2015

References