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Old 03-13-2013, 05:31 PM   #1
macashmack
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"Bach - His Greatest Works" confusion.

I have an album "Bach - His greatest Works" and the songs on there are called things like "Allegro 2" and "II. Largo" or "I. Allegro" and there is also a "I. (allegro)"! Why would he name his things this? Are they part of a bigger thing that I don't know about?
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:41 PM   #2
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The names are all genres, or styles, or music from the time period. During that period, it was generally believed that music should only be music. So, composers named their pieces with generic titles as to not impose any images onto the listener. This is called "absolute music". Any piece is a title or libretto is called "program music".
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:06 PM   #3
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bach was in the illuminati tbh
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:03 PM   #4
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Those are the movements within the pieces.

Is this the album? http://www.allmusic.com/album/bach-...ks-mw0001811522

If you import the songs to iTunes or something it will probably not include the piece titles on each track, instead it will show only the movement number and title.

Last edited by cdgraves : 03-13-2013 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:06 PM   #5
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^^ Yeah. Depending on the piece. In this case, the movement names refer to tempo/ style. In suites, the names refer to a certain type of dance.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:39 PM   #6
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Standard movement structure in the baroque was fast slow fast or fast slow medium fast.

So, for example, in the Brandenburg Concertos most of them are named something like

I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Presto

All he's indicating there is how fast to play the piece.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:55 PM   #7
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Until the 20th century or so, most classical music did not have a real title, in the sense that you're thinking of with popular music and songs.

They just called everything by the form, type, and tempo directions. That would be something like:

Symphony No. 4 in Bb major, III. Allegro ma non troppo - Andante - Vivace con spirito.

This indicates that it is the 3rd movement of a symphony (orchestral sonata suite). This movement contains 3 main sections as dictated by the tempo/pacing indications: Light/brisk but not too much - Walking pace - Fast with high spirit

Most of the music like this, especially Bach, didn't have any tangible intentions behind it (ie. this is about ________, this is to express ________ ). The music is abstract and about nothing aside from itself. Designations such as Beethoven's "Moonlight" sonata was something popularized by the public or the publisher. Beethoven didn't actually call it that or had intentions to make it about being under the moonlight.

The format that you see under the printed titles of these recordings are mostly the publisher's choice.
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