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#1476624 - 07/18/10 04:46 PM Bach G minor Minuet
VJ. Offline
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Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 91
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Folks,
I am trying to figure out what kind of modulation happened at the bars 12 & 13 in the G minor Minuet of "The little notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach". The 3rd note of the G minor scale Bb is naturalized. It may be modulated to G major but I cannot understand the chord progression if I think it that way. Could someone help me.

Thanks,
VJ

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#1476687 - 07/18/10 07:15 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: VJ.]
Andy Platt Offline
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It's modulating into C minor temporarily and G major is the dominant chord for C minor.
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#1476699 - 07/18/10 07:46 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Andy Platt]
VJ. Offline
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Thank you very much. It makes sense now.

VJ

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#1476733 - 07/18/10 09:22 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: VJ.]
Morodiene Offline
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Bach doesn't modulate, he simply changes one note or two to bring you to a new key. There's no chord progression involved and so it can be confusing if you try to undrstand it harmonically.

In this case, if you raise the b-flat to b-natural, you are in c melodic minor. It's pure genius!
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#1476788 - 07/18/10 11:05 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Morodiene]
Mark Broder Offline
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Isn't it a fine point to say he doesn't modulate? If he changes a note to arrive at a new key, it's a modulation, isn't it?
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#1476805 - 07/18/10 11:40 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Mark Broder]
ll Offline
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A modulation involves using a chord progression to change keys.
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#1476825 - 07/19/10 01:29 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: ll]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: ll
A modulation involves using a chord progression to change keys.
Not in my book. A modulation is whatever enables a strong V-I in the new key.
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#1476855 - 07/19/10 03:52 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Morodiene]
keystring Offline
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I just checked, because I too thought that "modulate" refers to moving into a new key without a new key signature. The chapter in my theory book on modulation lists several types: gradual, transition, continuous. Gradual modulation is the one involving a number of chords in a progress. But the other two happen suddenly according to the author.

"Transition, or sudden modulation. a transition is made by omission of the pivot chord, so that the music moves at once to a new key without a connecting chord."**

Anyone?

** Horwood, The Basis of Harmony

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#1476935 - 07/19/10 08:32 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Mark Broder]
Andy Platt Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark Broder
Isn't it a fine point to say he doesn't modulate? If he changes a note to arrive at a new key, it's a modulation, isn't it?


Well, I didn't want to disagree with a teacher wink but that was my thought too.

The OP was happy - now VJ is probably confused as heck!
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#1476943 - 07/19/10 08:53 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Andy Platt]
moscheles001 Offline
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According to Percy Goetschius' theory book (an old but excellent text), any tonal deviation from the key should be considered a modulation, no matter how brief.

And with a name like "Goetschius," you know he has to be smart.

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#1476959 - 07/19/10 09:42 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: moscheles001]
Morodiene Offline
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I was always taught that modulation had to do with a harmonic progression. In fact, in many theory classes we were taught to modulate though a series of chord changes, rather than melodic changes. Perhaps that was a an inference rather than a defined term. We were never taught Bach's was of transition" modulation as keystring pointed out.

My point wasn't to get in a debate about the definition of the word modulation, however, but to point out that in Baroque music, they were less concerned with harmonic progressions (homophonic) and more focused on the independent voices (polyphonic). That is why one can play many Baroque pieces one voice at a time and still have a nice melody. And that is why trying to understand Baroque modulations in a harmonic context is erroneous. IMO. wink
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#1477151 - 07/19/10 02:51 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Morodiene]
Mark Broder Offline
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Bach uses the B natural as a way to get to the new key of Bb major (relative major of G minor). He does this by moving through the chords: G major (using the B natural)- G7 - C minor - F major - Bb major (following the circle of 5ths). He arrives at a final cadence in the new key of Bb major: Bb - Eb - F - Bb. The movement of the two voices creates harmonies and the music modulates (changes key) from G minor to Bb major (this is a common modulation from the minor to its relative major, or vice versa).
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#1477156 - 07/19/10 02:58 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Mark Broder]
keyboardklutz Offline
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#1477180 - 07/19/10 03:42 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: moscheles001]
VJ. Offline
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Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 91
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Andy,

Well you are right. I am lost again. I've been looking at music in terms of chords (arpeggiated) and their progression. Even, in Anna Magdalena's book, I could always see the music in terms of so called modulation (it seems now it is not so).

Morodiene,

When you say Bach doesn't modulate and just changes a few notes to change keys, how do I approach and learn his pieces. Am I right in assuming that, even though he does not modulate, he changes notes so that the keys change to the neighboring key? (I know this is so dumb basic question. But want to get cleared before I move on reading more theory).

Could you both please shed some light for me? frown

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#1477186 - 07/19/10 03:47 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Mark Broder]
VJ. Offline
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Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 91
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Thanks, Mark. Nice detailed explanation on the piece.

Regards,
VJ

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#1477352 - 07/19/10 07:47 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: VJ.]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: VJ.
Andy,

Well you are right. I am lost again. I've been looking at music in terms of chords (arpeggiated) and their progression. Even, in Anna Magdalena's book, I could always see the music in terms of so called modulation (it seems now it is not so).

Morodiene,

When you say Bach doesn't modulate and just changes a few notes to change keys, how do I approach and learn his pieces. Am I right in assuming that, even though he does not modulate, he changes notes so that the keys change to the neighboring key? (I know this is so dumb basic question. But want to get cleared before I move on reading more theory).

Could you both please shed some light for me? frown



Like I said, Baroque music is polyphonic, meaning that each individual voice (or line of music) has equal importance. The way they composed music back then they did not think in terms of harmonic progression or chords, but in terms of melodic line. So by changing one or two notes with accidentals, Bach could "modulate" to another key. He wasn't really doing it in terms of chord progressions, but in terms of what differences there are in the notes between two scales.

For example, if you are in C major, what's the easiest way to get to G major? Today's theorist would tell you "Do a V-I progression in the key of G (or D major chord or D 7 to G major chord)." However, all you need really is to add an F# to get there. What if you wanted to get to F major from C? Just add a B-flat. Those are simple, but you can do more: -throw in a G# and you're in A harmonic minor.
-throw in an e-flat and you're in c melodic minor
-throw in a C# and you're in d melodic minor!

So essentially, you have 5 new keys you can go to with just a change of one key! You can then modulate from there:

-Say you sharped scale degree 4 to get to G major (with the F#) you can then do the above 5 options: sharp scale degree 4 of G, flat scale degree 7 (which brings you back to C major in this case), sharp 5 to get to the melodic relative minor, flat 3 to go to the parallel melodic minor, and sharp 1 to get to the melodic minor built on the 2nd scale degree (a minor in this case).

I hope that you take some time to play around with this idea, at least the first set of modulations you can do. It really adds a whole new world to playing and appreciating Baroque music in all its elegance!
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#1477546 - 07/20/10 01:05 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Morodiene]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Plenty of Baroque music has chords - it's when chordal harmony began. You're talking Renaissance there Morodiene.
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#1477675 - 07/20/10 08:24 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: keyboardklutz]
moscheles001 Offline
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Baroque composers thought in terms of melody and harmony simultaneously. They had to in order for the melodic lines to work together.

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#1477702 - 07/20/10 09:14 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: moscheles001]
Morodiene Offline
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Perhaps you're right in that they considered both. While they certainly weren't ignorant of chords and let the chords fall where they may as in Renaissance, they still paid very close attention to melodic lines. If you are looking at modulations, I think they are better understood from a melodic standpoint as I said. I do not think that one can analyze Bach and other Baroque composers with a purely chordal context - they did come out of the Renaissance, afterall. Modern harmonic analysis had not yet come about. So many of his modulations were not conventional in harmonic analysis. Thinking melodically they make perfect sense, however.
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#1477718 - 07/20/10 09:39 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Morodiene]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Modern harmonic analysis had not yet come about. So many of his modulations were not conventional in harmonic analysis. Thinking melodically they make perfect sense, however.
Don't know what that means - Bach had his own major theory on harmony which disagreed with Rameau's. Then there's figured bass...
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#1477723 - 07/20/10 09:43 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Morodiene]
keystring Offline
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I think I understand what you are saying, Morodiene. Above all, this is in the context of someone trying to understand the music in order to play it. If later music is understood through chord progressions, that same way of looking at music won't work well with this earlier music.

With this music, I will hear a melody that starts and finishes. Another voice takes up that melody or sings and answering melody. It is like hearing your favourite tune but for some reason somebody keeps humming the first line over and over. If I listen for that tune trading back and forth, then it all makes sense and is easier to play. Sometimes the tune shifts into another key, but the main focus is the tune. Is that what you are saying?

I was thrown first of all when you wrote that it does not modulate. It's not just a word but a way of seeing the music. To me the first thing is an awareness that the music has shifted - the tonal centre was A and it was minor, but now it is C and it is major so everything has the feel of C major and not A minor. Since it has shifted into this new key, I think of it has "having" changed (modulated), so that change must have happend somewhere. I thought of that moment of changing as "modulating", whether it happens gradually over set chord progressions, or suddenly by adding an accidental to a chord effectively changing the key like you described. You are not saying that the music does not change into other keys, but that this formal progression doesn't take place. And that is because the OP is looking for that kind of pattern which isn't there.

This has actually helped me, because in my theory book we are asked to look at form. Although we are only to recognize final cadences, I was still intrigued by the way these little pieces seemed to shape-shift harmonically - a steady slide from one key to the next in only 3 short measures. It was exactly as you describe.

Any of us doing (or having done) harmony theory with the endless SATB and Bach will know that there are indeed chords and chord progressions which is why you are getting argument. Yet there is also this other focus, and music started from an earlier age as you say. I can't imagine that a culture ever starts a new era cold turkey, without having bits of the old era lingering in their art.

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#1477751 - 07/20/10 10:32 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: keystring]
moscheles001 Offline
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I'm sorry if it seemed as if I was arguing. That wasn't my intent; I was just putting forth what I had found in a theory text.

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#1477791 - 07/20/10 11:32 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: moscheles001]
keyboardklutz Offline
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No need to apologize, when Bach heard a theme he understood its potential both vertically and horizontally in an instant.
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#1477809 - 07/20/10 11:57 AM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: keyboardklutz]
Morodiene Offline
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I am not disagreeing you, kbk. But I' am saying that to ignore the melodic modulation in favor of a modern harmonic progression viewpoint is erroneous. In fact, some modulations are better understood in melodic ways.
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#1477811 - 07/20/10 12:02 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Morodiene]
moscheles001 Offline
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I read somewhere that Bach's counterpoint is important in the develpment of music because it is simultaneously concerned with melody and harmony; that both develop simultaneously. I wish could remember where I read it . . . .

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#1477819 - 07/20/10 12:15 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Morodiene]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I am not disagreeing you, kbk. But I' am saying that to ignore the melodic modulation
'Melodic modulation' could only exist in the absence of other parts.

Here's Kirkpatrick - 'I do not think I ever play a Bach work of any kind without hearing it in a harmonic context. Even if it appears to be a predominantly contrapuntal work, even if it is only a two-part invention, my inner ear hears it dripping with harmony.'
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#1477858 - 07/20/10 01:08 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: keyboardklutz]
Andy Platt Offline
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I find it amusing that in all this discussion about Bach and harmony (all great stuff, by the way), nobody has mentioned that this particular piece is very likely to have been composed by Christian Petzold (like it's sibling the minuet in G major).
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#1477897 - 07/20/10 02:01 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Andy Platt]
moscheles001 Offline
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Yes, we did forget that point, didn't we? Well, Bach admired Petzold's music, so what's true for Bach could be true for Petzold. And my original point about modulation wasn't specifically about Bach's music.

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#1477904 - 07/20/10 02:12 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: keyboardklutz]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I am not disagreeing you, kbk. But I' am saying that to ignore the melodic modulation
'Melodic modulation' could only exist in the absence of other parts.


That is your opinion, and I disagree. You yourself said that harmonies were taken into consideration but there was still attention given to the melodic line: "No need to apologize, when Bach heard a theme he understood its potential both vertically and horizontally in an instant."

Quote:
Here's Kirkpatrick - 'I do not think I ever play a Bach work of any kind without hearing it in a harmonic context. Even if it appears to be a predominantly contrapuntal work, even if it is only a two-part invention, my inner ear hears it dripping with harmony.'


I certainly did not say there wasn't harmony! Of course there is. I'm saying that his modulations were mainly conceived in a melodic context. I guess this is getting a bit ridiculous. Obviously you don't agree that Baroque composers thought in terms of melody.
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#1477910 - 07/20/10 02:22 PM Re: Bach G minor Minuet [Re: Morodiene]
moscheles001 Offline
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Registered: 09/13/08
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I thought we agreed that Baroque composers thought in terms of melody, but that they also thought in terms of harmony. So that they composed vertically and horizontally simultaneously.

Or am I not understanding?

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