3 pieces that prove Bach was a geniusAug 10, 2022
this video is sponsored by dan muller and his new book the way of bark bark is well known as a composer who wrote music that is both beautiful and emotional, but also deeply logical and intricate. Just listening to bark's music is enough to realize his greatness, but when you look closely at how his music is built, it makes you realize the true
geniusbehind it, so today I want to show you three
piecesof music that truly exemplify the bark's intelligence as a composer let's start with this piece canon it's two kangasans a canon is a piece of music where the first voice introduces our melody and is soon joined by a second voice which follows the first voice playing an imitation of that melody by now you may have noticed that in the attu kankrasans canon better known as the crab cannon the second voice joining doesn't really sound like the main melody, although in a cannon it should be almost identical, if not the same melody, only delayed in time, however , this second voice is playing the exact same melody as the first voice, the only problem is that it is playing it backwards or what we might call retrograde. the lines are identical um uh and the great thing about this is that in the original manuscript the original score for this piece
bachdidn't write it like this with two staves to make it clear how to play it, he literally just wrote one line of music and then slyly put this clef backwards and the backwards key signature at the end as a little clue to say that you have to play it backwards at the same time to hear the whole piece the crab cannon is an example of a puzzle cannon or riddle cannon a piece of music in the one where the performer has to decode what the composer wants to perform the music the music is not written in a clear and complete score but is presented in this more compact cryptic way and what is even more amazing about this cannon of crab is that it's actually based on a theme a theme song that the king of prussia gave
bachas a kind of challenge a musical challenge, so bark not only had to create a a piece of music that works backwards and forwards at the same time but it had to be built around this pre-existing tune here's another one of mark cannon a two puzzle cannons and this cannon is actually based on the same actual theme as well that the king of prussia gave you, right? here we have this little instruction cuarendo invententus which in latin means to search and you will find that bach is literally telling the performer here you are going to have to look at the clues that i have given you to play this friend so what are the clues ok the title tells us it says right away that the canon is for two players and the two different clefs on the page confirm this, you'll also notice that the bass clef is backwards indicating that the second voice will read these notes up from down so the first player will read these three notes as C, D, and E flat in the alto clef, but the second player will read them as D, B flat in the F clef, the F clef backwards, now because this is canon that neither of them touches. it will start at the exact same time the first voice written in the auto key will start and then the other player reading the reverse bass clef will have to join in at some later point, but Bark hasn't told us when the second voice should join.
We have to use our knowledge of harmony to find a logical point for the second voice to join the music. We can't start here, for example, because these notes would clash, but through trial and error, the player will find that the only real logical place for the second voice to start is in the fourth bar—this is where the interplay between the two voices plays out. harmonious and logical and therefore we have solved this cannon puzzle so far we have seen two cannons but now let's look at a musical form perhaps the best association iated with bark the fugue just like a cannon a fugue also begins with an initial melody known as the theme then once that theme has been heard in its entirety a new voice will join in imitating the theme but whereas in a canon the second voice will join in playing basically the exact same melody changing time and key in a fugue, the other voices that come together will adapt and modify the theme, resulting in a very sophisticated and intricate counterpoint piece where all the lines are related and yet They move with their own independence from him and Bach wrote literally hundreds of fugue works during his lifetime, but let's take a look at his fugue in C minor from Book One of the Well-Tempered Clavier.
This fugue, like all fugues, begins with the theme of the short melody on which the fugue will be built, together with the second voice will enter with what is called the response, the response is usually a direct copy of the subject, however, it is you've modulated the upper fifth to the dominant key, so in this example, what? While the subject is played in the key of C minor, the response is played in the key of G minor, and while the second voice plays this response, the first voice now continues with what is called the countersubject, a new piece of material. melodic that will make more appearances later on now, once the second voice has completed its response, the first voice now gives us this melody here, which is actually the first four notes of the subject repeated in sequence, in other words, with each repetition are going up another notch in the scale as i mentioned before everything in a fugue is usually related to the opening theme we hear at the beginning now while this is happening in the first voice the lower voice the second voice is doing this this seemingly new melody in reality is still related to things I heard before that this is actually the countersubject again, but in reverse motion, in other words, it's going up in l Instead of going down, so you can see that even in those six opening b ars of the music there's such an intricate and amazing level of interconnection between all the parts that we're hearing here it's all tied in a way to that opening theme in this way incredibly intelligent complex and satisfying that's why people call Bach a
geniusbecause he was a master of composition in this intricate, sophisticated and mathematical counterpoint music that is both logical and beautiful, complex and emotional.
Now, actually, it was Bark's fugue in C minor that inspired today's patron, Dan Muller, to learn the piano in his book The Way of. bark dan describes his experience learning to play bach tells his personal story of how, having always wanted to learn the piano, he finally came to understand the wonders of contrapuntal fire textures by bark explains how contrapuntal texture is the perfect balance of horizontal The axis of the musical melody and the vertical axis of the counterpoint of the musical harmony is ultimately a set of independent melodies on the horizontal, but then on the vertical, these melodies come together to create rich chords, if you are interested. , the whale park is available in all good bookstores, either as a hardcover book or as an e-book.
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