Bach Giga from D Minor Partita

October 12, 2018, 9:57 AM · What are some of the trademarks in this piece that make this a work of Bach and no other composer?

Replies (12)

October 12, 2018, 10:38 AM · I'm no expert but I think the way Bach writes sequences -- of which there are many in this piece -- is characteristic. Compare them, for example, to Vivaldi.
October 12, 2018, 10:47 AM · I'm not sure the use of sequence distinguishes Bach from Vivaldi. In fact, I'd say that Vivaldi uses just as much, if not more, sequence as a standard device in all of his music.

If there were one factor, I might say it is Bach's underlying harmonic progression, which is much more sophisticated than that of other composers of the time such as Handel or Telemann. It was also more interesting than many of the composers that followed, such as Mozart and Haydn. After Bach died, harmony was pretty much static and formulaic until Beethoven.

There's a reason that the chord progressions of Bach are exhaustively studied by thousands of first-year college students.

October 12, 2018, 11:12 AM · Raymond - does anyone doubt it? I've read the theory that Anna Magdalena Bach may have been responsible for the cello suites, and part of me thinks that's plausible
October 12, 2018, 1:32 PM · You mean Anna Magdalena said to her husband: "Hey Bach, you should really write some cello suites"?

BTW I have heard that Vivaldi's sequences generally go upward while Bach's go downward. This is the case in this particular movement anyway (and seems to be true in a general way). Bach also quite often breaks the general rule that sequences are supposed to be limited to three "repetitions". But since almost any composer uses sequences regularly they are not a very distinctive feature anyway.

Another feature is the way phrases are connected. Often the final note of a phrase serves also as the first note of the next phrase which leads to a sort of never ending melodic line, e.g. in the middle of measure 5 (plus this ends a first half of a period counting at 4 and a half measures--unconventional, no?).

October 12, 2018, 1:56 PM · In bars 10 and 11, in beats 5/6 and 11/12, I see groups of three (b flat, c natural, b flat) and (a natural, c natural, a natural). Is this motif characteristic of Bach? Is there a technical term for it?
October 12, 2018, 2:41 PM · Are you writing a term paper?
October 12, 2018, 8:17 PM · "Are you writing a term paper?"

Not according to his profile.

I find the theory that Anna Magdalena Bach wrote the cello suites to be ridiculous.

October 12, 2018, 8:44 PM · "Trademarks" or hallmarks?
October 12, 2018, 8:54 PM · No more term papers for me but I wish I had taken a music theory course when I was in college. I’ve tried to read some Bach biographies but I get a little lost in the numerous theoretical examples that the authors provide.
October 12, 2018, 9:27 PM · All you have to know is I-V-I.
With a bunch of other stuff just before V.
October 12, 2018, 9:30 PM · I meant “trademarks” or distinctive characteristics.
October 13, 2018, 2:38 AM · The cello suites are stylistically so different from the violin S&P I can't help wondering (when I need a change from "who wrote Shakespeare?"). The opening of suite No. 1 seems frankly banal, particularly when played with excessive reverence; man gazes raptly at the sky over his left shoulder while sawing cello in half, doodle-diddle-diddle-diddle.

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