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Another Bach Bourrée


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#1 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 07:48 PM

Following on from Mischa's wonderful playing of a Bach cello bourrée on the English concertina, I have posted another of Bach's cello bourrées, transcribed in the key of G, on the tune-o-tron, for people to have a go at learning and playing. It would be interesting to hear if anyone is 'brave' enough to have a go and post how they got on with the piece, perhaps even posting a recording, at some stage. It's here.

Chris

Edited by Chris Drinkwater, 23 May 2008 - 08:00 PM.


#2 m3838

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 08:16 PM

Following on from Mischa's wonderful playing of a Bach cello bourrée on the English concertina, I have posted another of Bach's cello bourrées, transcribed in the key of G, on the tune-o-tron, for people to have a go at learning and playing. It would be interesting to hear if anyone is 'brave' enough to have a go and post how they got on with the piece, perhaps even posting a recording, at some stage. It's here.

Chris

How come I can't make Convert-a-Matic play a Midi from it?
I'll tackle it too.
I'm always on the lookout for good tune or two.
Thank you very much.
PS.
And I'm not sure I presented something "wonderful". Not bad, agree, but that's about it.

Edited by m3838, 23 May 2008 - 08:18 PM.


#3 David Barnert

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 06:30 AM

How come I can't make Convert-a-Matic play a Midi from it?

There's problems with the abc code. The blank line before the "K:G" line shouldn't be there and probably messes up the player arm of the sortware (abc files should have no blank lines, because that's the only definition of where the file ends--I'm surprised it was able to display it).

Another problem is that there's a "K:Gminor" missing where the 2nd bourree starts, and in that whole section a lot of accidentals are mismarked (there should be no augmented 2nds, that is, Eb and F# in the same figure).

#4 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 06:14 PM

How come I can't make Convert-a-Matic play a Midi from it?

There's problems with the abc code. The blank line before the "K:G" line shouldn't be there and probably messes up the player arm of the sortware (abc files should have no blank lines, because that's the only definition of where the file ends--I'm surprised it was able to display it).

Another problem is that there's a "K:Gminor" missing where the 2nd bourree starts, and in that whole section a lot of accidentals are mismarked (there should be no augmented 2nds, that is, Eb and F# in the same figure).


Thank you for pointing out the possible errors in the coding David. I also wondered why the midi didn't play. I shall see what I can do to correct them.

Chris

#5 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 07:01 PM

How come I can't make Convert-a-Matic play a Midi from it?


I have removed the space between the lines and the midi now plays as it should. :) The corrections to the wrong notes in the second bourrée will have to wait until I have worked out what they should be!

Chris

#6 gloscon

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 05:52 PM

Another Basch bourree

Baffled by Bach bouree?

The explanation is quite simple. Conventional scores (Bach's original autograph has never been found) show the Suite III bouree No. I in the key of C major.

No. II commences with a change of key, not the expected C minor, but G minor, two flats.

In the PDF transcript, Bouree I is in G major, thnus No. II becomes D minor (one flat) raised B's and C's, and often w ith the E flat and F often similarly affected, but never in conflict. O the beauty of Bach!

Put simply, for No. II the notes are right, bugt the key is wrong.

PS. When finally repeating No. I, don't frorget to revert to the orignal key.

#7 David Barnert

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 09:48 PM

The explanation is quite simple. Conventional scores (Bach's original autograph has never been found) show the Suite III bouree No. I in the key of C major.

No. II commences with a change of key, not the expected C minor, but G minor, two flats.

Not quite. Both bourees are in C. I is in C major and II is in C minor. The only confusing thing is that Bach wrote his C minor key signature with two flats instead of three. When he needs an Ab he writes it in. That doesn't make it G minor. The first 3 notes are C D Eb and it ends with C's in octaves. That's C minor in my book no matter how it was notated 300 years ago, when the rules were not as well codified.

Chris chose to set the whole thing in G/Gmin rather than C/Cmin, presumably because it fits better on his instrument that way.

See the manuscript here (about 2/3 the way down the page). Not Bach's hand, probably Anna Magdalena's. Good enough for me.

Edited to add: Just noticed that in the manuscript of the minor section, it looks like there are 3 flats, but that's because the Bb is marked in both octaves. Remember what I said about the rules...

Edited by David Barnert, 31 May 2008 - 09:51 PM.


#8 allan atlas

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 07:33 PM

FOLKS: David is right on the mark. . . .it's C minor with a signature of two flats only. . . . .this was often the case in the early part of the eighteenth century, at which time the earlier "modes" had still not entirely worn off. . . . .in effect, a signature of two flats with a piece that centers ON C is in the Dorian mode TWICE REMOVED. . . .in other words: the dorian mode is primarily on D. . . it would usually have been written with no flats in the signature. . .and the flat on B written in when necessary. . . . .the dorian once removed = transposed down a fifth (up a fourth) places it on G and calls for a single flat in the signature. . . . .now the flat on E would have been written in when required. . . . .and finally, dorian twice removed = transposed down another fifth (up another fourth) lands it on C. . .now the signature is B flat and E flat. . . with the A flat written as an accidental when necessary. . . . . .one finds this until approximately the middle of the century. . . .at which time the modern signatures come into their own on a steadier basis...............allan

#9 m3838

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 01:52 AM

Is it because of this that MIDI didn't play?
Other than that why should anybody be buffled?
In the end, if it's written without mistakes and sounds convincing, why not just play as written and forget about trouble?

#10 David Barnert

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 08:51 AM

Is it because of this that MIDI didn't play?

The MIDI didn't play because of the errant blank line before the K: field. But you knew that.

In the end, if it's written without mistakes and sounds convincing, why not just play as written and forget about trouble?

Because for music to be played convincingly and not merely mechanically, it is important that the performer understand what is being played. If I tried singing a song in Russian by learning the words phonetically (but not their meanings), one might make the same comment you made, but inside, you would know that it sounds ridiculous. If someone played a Bach bouree in C minor who all the time thought he was playing in G minor, it would sound just as ridiculous.

#11 m3838

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 11:50 AM

If someone played a Bach bouree in C minor who all the time thought he was playing in G minor, it would sound just as ridiculous.

Hmm.If someone played a Bach bouree in C minor who all the time thought he was playing in G minor, it would sound just as ridiculous.
I'm not sure I understand.
What if someone doesn't read at all, but plays well?
Or if someone reads the music, but doesn't get involved in theoretic/historic intricacies, plays from the dots, but by ear. Why this particular Bouree will sound ridiculous?
What's different between knowing what key it is and not knowing? When you sing in Cmin, but think it's Gmin, what does it mean to the listeners?
The language analogy I didn't understand either. I think better analogy would be if someone writes a poem and uses past time, thinking it's present. But to me, if a poem sounds right, I wouldn't care about intentions of the poet too much.
No? Am I missing something?

#12 RatFace

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 06:45 AM

I'm not sure I understand.


David doesn't mean (I think) that transposing is ridiculous. Rather that playing the same note-names but with different accidentals would sound silly. For example - take a tune written down that has two sharps in the key signature and change the key signature to two flats, but don't change anything else. This changes the mode of the music.

Actually, one example of this is the original "O'Neill's The Music of Ireland" version, where many of the transcriptions are just weird if played as written, yet become perfectly natural if you modify the key signature. I guess the weird sound could be authentic, but I bet it's a transcription error by someone who (perhaps) doesn't actually play/know the music (well, that's what it sounds like to me, but I'm not in a position to check what O'Neill's background was, and whether he personally transcribed all the tunes).

Having said that, some tunes do just work if you change the mode. However, more complicated music is unlikely to work - and this is probably the case for most of Bach's music.

Edited by RatFace, 04 June 2008 - 06:46 AM.


#13 David Barnert

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 07:46 AM

I'm not sure I understand.

David doesn't mean (I think) that transposing is ridiculous. Rather that playing the same note-names but with different accidentals would sound silly.

Thank you, Danny, but that's not quite right, either. What I meant is that playing in C minor while thinking that you're in the context of G minor leads to ridiculous playing.

A story:

A few weeks ago at the NEFFA folk festival, I was approached by Sol "Roundman" Weber, an old friend and avid collector and distributor of rounds. While his tirelessness and enthusiasm are to be admired, he has little concept of how music actually works. His handwritten notations are full of little arrows and numerals to help Sol read the stuff (I have taken to calling his scribblings "Sol fege").

So here I am talking to my friend Jason, a fiddle player, when Sol comes up and hands me a slip of paper. "Here's a great new round." Jason and I look at it and start singing. It appears to be in C major. Starts with two C's but then moves to A. Never seems to take shape or make any harmonic sense, though. Every so often a Bb was written in as an accidental. The 2nd line of the round started on A and moved down to F. It was not until we got to the last line, which was basically a bass line outlining a I - IV - V cadence in F major, that Jason and I looked at each other and said, together, "Oh, it's in F!" All of a sudden it made much more sense. We sang it again from the beginning much more convincingly and mentioned to Sol that he really should put the Bb into the key signature.

The point is, until we realized what key we were really in, despite the fact that we were singing the right notes (even the right accidentals), our singing was meaningless ("ridiculous"). A cellist who undertakes to perform the 2nd bouree from the third Bach suite and, seeing a key signature of two flats, thinks "G minor: no problem" has a problem.

#14 keithfre

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 11:46 AM

In the end, if it's written without mistakes and sounds convincing, why not just play as written and forget about trouble?

It's important to be able to hear the dominant and the tonic, the tension and release.

#15 m3838

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 12:07 PM

I understand that it may be important for transposing.
But I still fail to see how it can be important to a player or esp. to a listener.
Hearing the tension and release and hearing the shape of phrazes doesn't depend on knowing the key. It may be important for the reader, but in my experience I don't see how not knowing the true key of Bach's Bouree will affect my playing. I'm woriing on accentuation regardless of tonic and dominant. I'm experimenting with the beat and offset, creschendo-diminuendo (those italians).
Can anybody provide some example of wrong music resulting from incorrect reading of the key?
Why a celloist, who thinks he is in Gmin, but is in Cmin, is in trouble?
P.S.
What is "round"?
P.P.S.
Why even bother with the key signature, when it is possible to just write the #/b where needed? It will sure clutter the script, so the key signature is simply a convinience tool, not having any theoretical or practical significance.
Even for transposing one can't just change two #s for two bs, regardless of whether Bb's are written in or indicated as a signature of Fmajor. Unless, of course, you are using some software.
:blink:

#16 keithfre

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 12:23 PM

But I still fail to see how it can be important to a player or esp. to a listener.

Well, what a listener hears or does not hear is up to him/her. But I don't see how a player can phrase meaningfully (or even "correctly"!) if he misinterprets where the phrases are heading. How are you going to place your rits and ralls in the right place and shape the dynamics sensibly if you don't realize when you're about to hit the tonic? Of course the problem is unlikely to occur if there's a chordal accompaniment (or even a drone), but it can in this kind of monophonic music.

Why even bother with the key signature, when it is possible to just write the #/b where needed? It will sure clutter the script, so the key signature is simply a convinience tool, not having any theoretical or practical significance.

I agree. The only point of a key signature is to reduce the amount of notation needed, but unless the music stays in the particular key most of the time it can be a hindrance rather than a help, especially in many of the jazz tunes I play, which are constantly changing the "key of the moment".

#17 m3838

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 01:30 PM

But I don't see how a player can phrase meaningfully (or even "correctly"!) if he misinterprets where the phrases are heading. How are you going to place your rits and ralls in the right place and shape the dynamics sensibly if you don't realize when you're about to hit the tonic? Of course the problem is unlikely to occur if there's a chordal accompaniment (or even a drone), but it can in this kind of monophonic music.

I would doubt the above, because of the interesting interview with Glen Gould that I listened to recently. Glen surprized me, when he said that he changed the piece of music to different count. To him it sounded better, and he also changed where the accents fall.
So the key signature didn't seem to hold much importance to him. Often he disagrees with composer's phrazings. It's not up to tonic/subdominant/dominant, it's up to what you want to deliver. I mean, in a ball park.

The only point of a key signature is to reduce the amount of notation needed, but unless the music stays in the particular key most of the time it can be a hindrance rather than a help, especially in many of the jazz tunes I play, which are constantly changing the "key of the moment".


Well then, do you study the music beforehand to see what key it's changing to, to place correct accents, or just listen to it and go from there?
I'm not into music theory much (no time), and kind of resisted internally when my bayan teacher tried to explain the pieces I was playing. It only clattered my brain. Probably was too much too soon.

#18 Dirge

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 02:16 PM

I don't work out the key before I start reading music. I note the key signature and play. At the end, if you said 'What key is it in?' I'd hopefully say 'Oh it's C minor isn't it? I'd do it from the tune and doubt I'd notice the odd key signature even then. I suggest that David's right but only because anyone who can play a piece and never get an intuitive grasp of the 'real' tonic is a musical duffer and bound to play badly anyway.

Any one who starts a piece of music hanging desperately onto the ideas the initial key signature has given him is going to be stuffed when it modulates!

The key signature is convenient notational shorthand only, surely?

I thought the modal explanation fascinating; indeed I'm going to go and read it yet again to see if I can really grasp it this time round...



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