9th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music


Analysis of a movement of a J.S.Bach's Cello Suite with a view to re-composition/ improvisation and performance

Eugenia Russell

The analytical issues the Cello Suites raise may prove of immediate relevance to a musician's interpretation of the music. For the inner structure of a work to be brought into light, an understanding of its way of construction is required. The struggle for such an understanding will be demonstrated in this paper under the guise of commentary: a) commentary as analysis, and b) commentary as paraphrase / re-composition.

Improvised sections may be processed through computers (and so notated) and become subject to further analysis, i.e. one can search for similar patterns in the original and the improvised sections (those possibilities will be discussed during the paper). Another aspect of my thought is how to bring analysis into performance, i.e. make our (analytical) thought processes demonstrable. The concept of foreground, middleground, and background will be used to reflect the different levels of operation of the process of hearing. Aesthetic considerations will be brought into debate both concerning the analyses of the Bach and the analyses of my own work i.e.the improvisations themselves.

By using the example of Bach, issues of notation, temporality, expressiveness, the element of the sacred / secular, and communication of the music / meaning, which formal Analysis sometimes overlooks, will be brought into focus. Analytical methods will be applied throughout the dissertation, and in that light it can serve as a rationalization of the process of creation, and of the birth of an artefact.

Conference Timetable
List of Participants
Last updated on 22 May 2000 by Yo Tomita