SOUND PATTERNS

A Structural Examination of Tonality, Vocabulary, Texture,
Sonorities, and Time Organization in Western Art Music

by PHILLIP MAGNUSON

THE ABC's OF CHORALE SETTING

Chapter 26. D is for DIVERSITY

Chapter 23. A is for ANALYSIS
Chapter 24. B is for BASS LINES
Chapter 25. C is for COUNTERPOINT
.
Chapter 27. E is for EMBELLISHMENT
Chapter 28. F is for FINISHING

26.1 DIVERSITY

Bach often set the same tune many times, with different results. This resulting diversity is the life-blood of creativity, and shows the amazing versatility of the chorale melodies and the artistry of the composer.

In this chapter, different versions of the same chorale melody will be compared. There is an excellent book on this topic, 178 Chorale Harmonizations of J.S. Bach: A Comparative Edition for Study by Donald Martino, in which this is showed clearly and completely. This text will provide a much smaller sampling.

26.2 ALTERNATE ANALYSIS

Some melodies appear to have extremely clear analyses, but others are ambiguous (see the third phrase in the 26.4 example below). These ambiguous melodies are often interpreted differently in several versions.

Also, Bach demonstrates the ability to take a phrase that appears to have a clearly logical analysis and yet manages to view it a dramatically different way. In the example below, there are two completely different views of the same melody.

26.3 CHROMATICISM

Prolongations and cadences tend to be fundamentally similar in two versions of the same chorale phrase. Frequently, it is with the use of chromatic events such as tonicizations and modulations that make the alternative versions sound so different.

26.4 EXAMPLES OF DIVERSITY

Below is the sample chorale from the previous chapter in two alternative versions. Notice how the Roman numeral analysis for both has similar areas as before, but that there a several differences which create variety.

ASSIGNMENTS:

ANALYSIS

The analysis projects from the previous chapters are given below, phrase by phrase, in several different versions. Provide a Roman numeral analysis, comparing each version to the others. The odd numbers give answers (after you work on them) and the even numbers are for you to do on your own.

In some versions, embellishments (to be discussed in the next chapter) are included.
Diversity examples: 1. Nun ruhen alle Walder
Diversity examples: 2. O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort
Diversity examples: 3. Wie schoen leuchtet der Morgenstern
Diversity examples: 4. Jesu, meine Freude
Diversity examples: 5. Vater unser im Himmelreich
Diversity examples: 6. Wo soll ich fliehen hin

PREPARATION FOR THE FINAL PROJECT

Add the alto and tenor lines to your final project, completing the required tonicizations and modulations.


Links to chapters in this unit:
Chapter 23. A is for ANALYSIS
Chapter 24. B is for BASS LINES
Chapter 25. C is for COUNTERPOINT
Chapter 27. E is for EMBELLISHMENT
Chapter 28. F is for FINISHING

Link to previous unit: CHROMATIC PROCEDURES I: Moving from the Global Key

Link to next unit: LARGER PERSPECTIVES


Copyright 2008-2009 by Phillip Magnuson.

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