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Another Bach Bourrée


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#37 David Barnert

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 12:02 AM

Now, has anyone (...) attempted to play the bourrée?

I played them on the Cello 35 years ago.

Well, there are two of them linked and the first one is repeated at the end, it seems.

Yes, that's the standard way to play this kind of movement: Bourrée 1 with repeats, Bourrée 2 with repeats, Bourrée 1 without repeats.

And David B., if there are any corrections needed to the second bourrée, and you know what they are in ABC format, can you possibly send me the appropriate ABC coding and I will make the necessary amendments to the file in the tune-o-tron.

Here is my abc version. I have not based it on yours but gone back to the source and started from scratch (for both Bourrées). Like you, I put it in G so it fits on a treble English Concertina (the original is in C, an octave and a fifth lower, in the Cello range). To minimize confusion, I put the 2nd bourrée in G minor, fixing the accidentals as they come (and marking some unnecessary but otherwise potentially confusing ones as well).

This version was specifically designed to work in the Tune-O-Tron converter, and it took some doing. Note I have put 5 bars per line (four makes more sense, but then there were too many lines to display and the bottom got cut off). Also, I have had to put the first two notes of Bourrée 2 on the same line as the end of Bourrée 1, before the key change (the notes don't change). The GIF, MIDI, and PDF generators all handled it OK in my testing.

X:1
T:Bourrées 1 & 2 from Cello Suite #3, BWV 1009
C:Johann Sebastian Bach
M:C|
K:G % Transposed up an octave and a 5th from C.
P:Bourrée 1
Bc|d2GFG2g2|[D2A2f2]efd2AB|c2FEF2d2|[G,Dc]BABG2gf|efgd ^cfgB|
AfgG FA^ce|a2fdA2^c2|d2A2D2::fg|a2fdc2f2|Bdgab2g^d|
e2ce Agfe|Be^d^cB2fB|ge^de fBgB|afef gBaA|GbfgB2e^d|
e2B2E2ef|g2^cBc2A2|DAgef2dc|BdgB Ac'bg|agfed2fg|
afde fdAB|cAFG AFDc|BGDd BGDg|dBcA BGDB|ABcG FBcE|
DBcC B,DFA|d2BGD2F2|[G6G,6]::ga|
K:GMIN
P:Bourrée 2
b2ag^f2g2|ag^f=e dcBA|BdcB AcBA|G^FGA Bcd=e|f2edc2B2|
ABcd efga|b2ag fedc|B6::Bc|d2dcd2=e2|f=efg fgaf|
df=ef gfed|^c2=BcA2ag|a2BAB2d2|g^fgab2a2|gf=ed fed^c|
d2A2D2de|f2ed c=Bcd|fedca4-|a^fga bagb|ag^f=e dcBA|
BAcB dced|D=E^FG ABcA|cBAG BAG^F|[G6G,6]:|
W:Route: Bourrée 1 with repeats, Bourrée 2 with repeats, Bourrée 1 without repeats.

---------------

Go nuts.

#38 m3838

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 12:19 PM

One thing I've noticed when teaching English and German


John, when you were speaking about tonalities and modes, it was very interesting and informative, but when you touched on language similarities, I understood what you meant and I can't disagree more.
How many of your pupils speak English and German freely after your courses? How many of them have good grasp on the Grammar in their own languages? And what does it mean?
I recently passed an internet test (for fun), designed for Russian speakers. The test is a grounding of a statement, that most Russian speakers don't know their mother toungue.
I scored 8 from 8, but my Grammar in School was always on the brink of faliure.
Many people I know, who were A students, failed this test. Language runs on musicality, on the feel, not on Grammars, that change over time to accomodate the new speaking "tonality".
I've learned German in School (dormant) and English on my own, I went through many teachers, and I realized that none of them has any clue of how to teach the language.
I have a feeling it's the same with music. I'm yet to meet a single person, who will clearly explain when to use "Had done" vs. "Has done", but I begin to "feel" it myself.
Music is empirical experience, and it's theory is only an approximation of what we hear, and as such can't even be called "Theory", it's more of a guidance. Some need it more than others, but none gets to be better "speaker" purely from learning the "Grammar".
When you mentioned Latin, I think it's the musical feel of familiarity with the words' roots, that helps people to memorize or recognize the meaning in English. Which means it's experience with basic music, folk and traditional, that is the key to understanding the more "modern" forms and is a good basis for Musician's training, not the theory.

#39 keithfre

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 12:50 PM

it's experience with basic music, folk and traditional, that is the key to understanding the more "modern" forms and is a good basis for Musician's training, not the theory.


It's not "either/or": a well-rounded musician knows his basic theory as well as having a feel for music in general and an understanding of where the particular music he is playing comes from. Of course there are always exceptions who prove the rule, superb performers who know little or nothing of theory, but that doesn't mean we lesser mortals should necessarily follow their example...

#40 m3838

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 01:53 PM

Of course there are always exceptions who prove the rule, superb performers who know little or nothing of theory, but that doesn't mean we lesser mortals should necessarily follow their example...


Well rounded musician is not a subject of concern. Such musician is unlikely to be thrown off by Bach's showing two sharps, meaning three.
Of course it's not either/or. It helps though to sort things in order of importance.

#41 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 02:21 AM

Go nuts.


In other words, get cracking!

Thank you David, for producing your version of the abc notation for the bourrée. I have just copied and pasted it into the converter and it works brilliantly! I have printed off a PDF version of the score and will compare it with mine to see what the differences are. Once again, thank you David and happy playing everyone!

Chris

#42 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 08:45 AM

Music is empirical experience, and it's theory is only an approximation of what we hear, and as such can't even be called "Theory", it's more of a guidance. Some need it more than others, but none gets to be better "speaker" purely from learning the "Grammar".
When you mentioned Latin, I think it's the musical feel of familiarity with the words' roots, that helps people to memorize or recognize the meaning in English. Which means it's experience with basic music, folk and traditional, that is the key to understanding the more "modern" forms and is a good basis for Musician's training, not the theory.


Micha,
you're quite correct: both music and language are based on experience. The best way to learn a language is to be born into the environment in which it is spoken. However, with a few exceptions, that only gives you one language. For other languages, the second-best way is to learn it systematically, and then immerse yourself in the environment in which it is spoken. The third-best way is to immerse yourself in a foreign language environment, and to try to get your empirical findings sorted out - which usually involves some formal tuition.

Because grammar does no more nor less than describe the system that native speakers use instinctively by imitation of their elders. In your receptive childhood years, you can absorb this. Later, you have neither the time nor the absorbency to do the same with a second language. And you're biased by your mother tongue.

One pitfall in speaking a foreign language is to assume that the structures are identical (because they often seem similar, at least among European languages). As a matter of fact, they usually are - but not on the superficial level. A lot of the similarities become apparent only after analysis of the structure of the two languages in question. Only when an English speaker knows what an indirect object is in English, can he grasp the significance of the German Dative Case. Learning anything requires communication, which requires technical terminlogy. Just growing up with something doesn't require that.

If you're content with the language you grew up with, fine! If you're content with the music you grew up with, fine! But if you want to write sonnets or sonatas -you've got to go beyond what you learned at your mother's knee, or from the fiddler next door. You've got to grasp the structures behind them, analyse the words or notes to see if your novel juxtaposition of them is meaningful. And humans tend to grasp concepts by the words used for them.

Some people eschew grammar and music theory because they don't want to be tied by rules. These people don't realise that grammar and theory are not rules, but descriptions of things that we cannot alter. Just like physics and chemistry. Apples don't fall down because Isaac Newton said they must, but because of physics. And two notes aren't harmonious because some Renaissance scholar said they are, but because of physics.

Grammar and music theory involve the identification of concepts and the putting of names to them, so that we can communicate about them and learn more than we could have if we were left to our own empirical devices.

The proof of the pudding, however, is in the eating ...

Cheers,
John

#43 keithfre

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 10:12 AM

Hi John,

Speaking as a professional translator and amateur musician, I think the analogy between language and music only works on a very superficial level. Your points about the value of grammar are good, though again I think the analogy with music theory doesn't go very far - except that intuitive individuals can get by (sometimes very well) without grammar/theory! And I say that as someone who learnt to speak German fluently using the traditional grammar+vocab approach.

The question is also whether we are now exiting from a period of grammar-dominated language and reverting to a more anything-goes/read-my-mind state like that in Elizabethan English. In my work I'm seeing this happening not only in English but also in e.g. German and French, which in structure are far less 'free-form' than English.

Some people eschew grammar and music theory because they don't want to be tied by rules.

Agreed. Not a problem, as long as they realize their true motivation. I think there's a widespread misconception that theory gets in the way of feeling, whereas it can in fact be used to enhance feeling.

These people don't realise that grammar and theory are not rules, but descriptions of things that we cannot alter.

Only to some extent. In fact grammar is changing all the time, whether we like it or not. How long will it be, for example, before no-one understands the distinction between 'he may have died' and 'he might have died'?

And two notes aren't harmonious because some Renaissance scholar said they are, but because of physics.

Again, to some extent that is true. But it's also a question of experience and context and personal feeling. A baroque musician friend of mine, for instance, can't stand the sound of a major seventh that doesn't resolve, whereas to anyone who likes modern jazz it's just a pretty sound. So there again the 'rules' are not immutable.

#44 m3838

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 01:52 PM

X:1
T:Bourrées 1 & 2 from Cello Suite #3, BWV 1009
C:Johann Sebastian Bach
M:C|
K:G % Transposed up an octave and a 5th from C.
P:Bourrée 1
Bc|d2GFG2g2|[D2A2f2]efd2AB|c2FEF2d2|[G,Dc]BABG2gf|efgd ^cfgB|
AfgG FA^ce|a2fdA2^c2|d2A2D2::fg|a2fdc2f2|Bdgab2g^d|
e2ce Agfe|Be^d^cB2fB|ge^de fBgB|afef gBaA|GbfgB2e^d|
e2B2E2ef|g2^cBc2A2|DAgef2dc|BdgB Ac'bg|agfed2fg|
afde fdAB|cAFG AFDc|BGDd BGDg|dBcA BGDB|ABcG FBcE|
DBcC B,DFA|d2BGD2F2|[G6G,6]::ga|
K:GMIN
P:Bourrée 2
b2ag^f2g2|ag^f=e dcBA|BdcB AcBA|G^FGA Bcd=e|f2edc2B2|
ABcd efga|b2ag fedc|B6::Bc|d2dcd2=e2|f=efg fgaf|
df=ef gfed|^c2=BcA2ag|a2BAB2d2|g^fgab2a2|gf=ed fed^c|
d2A2D2de|f2ed c=Bcd|fedca4-|a^fga bagb|ag^f=e dcBA|
BAcB dced|D=E^FG ABcA|cBAG BAG^F|[G6G,6]:|
W:Route: Bourrée 1 with repeats, Bourrée 2 with repeats, Bourrée 1 without repeats.


These Bourees are very good at some rhythmic instruments, like guitars, or on instruments sounding lower, so they have powerful tone. Adapting them to Treble English is pretty tough. Stacatto, meant for Cello, is different from what can be acheived at concertina. EC is not particularly good at powerful cressendo or strong attack on the low reeds - they choke. So the whole piece will have very different feel. less powerfull and rowbust. I am thinking to use more stacatto-ish approach, to make the piece up-beat, frolicky.

#45 David Barnert

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 06:26 PM

It's not "either/or": a well-rounded musician knows his basic theory as well as having a feel for music in general and an understanding of where the particular music he is playing comes from. Of course there are always exceptions who prove the rule, superb performers who know little or nothing of theory, but that doesn't mean we lesser mortals should necessarily follow their example...

I would argue that these "superb performers who know little or nothing of theory" may never have been formally taught theory, but they have the innate ability to hear effective music patterns and reproduce (and perhaps surpass) them in their own playing. It may be argued that what music theory is is simply a description of what these guys are doing. By the same token, folks who neither have this innate ability nor have learned music theory by more conventional means are not likely to become successful musicians, and we are not likely to have heard of them.

These Bourees are very good at some rhythmic instruments, like guitars, or on instruments sounding lower, so they have powerful tone. Adapting them to Treble English is pretty tough. Stacatto, meant for Cello, is different from what can be acheived at concertina. EC is not particularly good at powerful cressendo or strong attack on the low reeds - they choke. So the whole piece will have very different feel. less powerfull and rowbust. I am thinking to use more stacatto-ish approach, to make the piece up-beat, frolicky.

The modern piano and guitar are as different from anything Bach was familiar with as the concertina is. Even the cello and the violin have undergone significant changes. They may looks the same and even come with documents that proclaim them to be of Bach's era, but they have been internally reinforced to make them strong enough to hold tightly strung steel strings, making them louder than anything Bach ever heard.

But Bach's music is remarkably portable from instrument to instrument. Yes, the demands will be different on each instrument, but what worked on a clavichord or an organ generally works just as well on a piano.

#46 m3838

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 06:43 PM

But Bach's music is remarkably portable from instrument to instrument. Yes, the demands will be different on each instrument, but what worked on a clavichord or an organ generally works just as well on a piano.


Well, that's my hope. I found I have to rethink the accents for Cello suites, when applied to my treble. That crazy Glenn Gould with his singing had a good point. You sing the music, then try to emulate the phrazing on the instrument. It's very interesting, but mostly frustrating routine. Besides, when I'm into the music, I start making those faces, the outcome doesn't justifies them, and it's just plain stupid.



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