#1
This is the first couple bars of a Bach Concerto in Dm BWV 1052. I am trying to match chords against his melody. I am trying to just pick out the triads and match chords against it, but it doesn't always sound so good to me. Are there any special methods/techniques or is there any point at all of doing this? I have no formal music training, I am just using what I know about theory at the moment. I am trying to figure out how Bach came up with this, like how he comes up with the melodies. I think it has to come from some kind of chord structure and that is what I am trying to figure out.

Look at what I did...what are your opinions?

http://imageshack.us/f/22/w3si.png/
Last edited by Unreal T at Aug 28, 2013,
#2
Bach is not thinking about chords. He's thinking about the lines. Mainly the foreground line and the bass line. The foreground line is born out of an short motif, which is then fleshed out into phrases through patterns and sequences, and all material following that is derived from that initial idea. The other lines follow suit in a way that is also consistent with itself and the overall scheme.

Stripping the piece down to blocks of chords does little for understanding Bach, and indeed all of classical music for that matter. In short, classical music is not oriented on chord progressions.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#3
"Modes and scales are dumb and useless. Stop learning them. No, seriously." Are you being serious? Is the music of the classical , baroque, romantic ever using any sort of modes or is it strictly major/minor. Whenever I see a piece of music it will say for example in the key of D minor , or C major. Does that mean the piece is structured fundamentally on Ionian and Natural Minor? There are modes of minor but do they only use the modes of minor to add contrast, and just resort back to the functions of the natural minor scale?
#4
Quote by Unreal T
"Modes and scales are dumb and useless. Stop learning them. No, seriously." Are you being serious?
Yes

Is the music of the classical , baroque, romantic ever using any sort of modes or is it strictly major/minor.
Neither

Whenever I see a piece of music it will say for example in the key of D minor , or C major. Does that mean the piece is structured fundamentally on Ionian and Natural Minor?
No

The key acts more as a structural center in which all sections of the music are related to. A piece in a key could actually contain all 24 keys if they wanted.

There are modes of minor but do they only use the modes of minor to add contrast, and just resort back to the functions of the natural minor scale?
It is simply a waste of time even entertaining the idea of modes or scales

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#5
then why do people always act like the modes are this huge musical revelation and you see people like satriani and vai using them?
#6
Because they're dumb and useless.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#7
I agree with Xiaoxi for the most part but I would say that learning scales and modes help a lot of people. I've met brilliant musicians who know very little theory, and I've met brilliant musicians who seemingly know everything about music theory.

People that depend on scales and modes are the problem
#8
Quote by killerkev321
I agree with Xiaoxi for the most part but I would say that learning scales and modes help a lot of people. I've met brilliant musicians who know very little theory, and I've met brilliant musicians who seemingly know everything about music theory.

People that depend on scales and modes are the problem

Knowing scales and modes is not knowing theory. And knowing theory is not knowing how to make good music.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#9
What do you think went through Bach's mind? Did he just learn from his contemporaries, emulated them and thought it through on his own to expand on their ideas towarrds what sounded good, eventually finding his unique voice?
#10
Quote by sweetdude3000
What do you think went through Bach's mind? Did he just learn from his contemporaries, emulated them and thought it through on his own to expand on their ideas towarrds what sounded good, eventually finding his unique voice?


I would say that that was most likely the case, but I guess you'd have to ask Bach himself.

Edit: Don't know much on the history, but I'm sure in edition to learning/emulating he studied quite a bit of Composition, no? I know he went to school for music at some point.
Last edited by mjones1992 at Aug 29, 2013,
#11
Quote by sweetdude3000
What do you think went through Bach's mind? Did he just learn from his contemporaries, emulated them and thought it through on his own to expand on their ideas towarrds what sounded good, eventually finding his unique voice?

More or less...isn't that how every master artist comes about?

However, if you're talking specifically the common practice style of music, their perception of music is quite different from the way you're perceiving it. Whereas most people hear music vertically, they perceived it horizontally. That's a big part of the disconnect in your understanding.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#12
Quote by Xiaoxi
More or less...isn't that how every master artist comes about?

However, if you're talking specifically the common practice style of music, their perception of music is quite different from the way you're perceiving it. Whereas most people hear music vertically, they perceived it horizontally. That's a big part of the disconnect in your understanding.


I think I get it.. So as I understand it, analyzing common practice style music from a viewpoint of chords following a particular progression vertically doesn't tell you much about the work and it doesn't tell you the permutations in arrangement of multiple tones to form that chord, nor do you get an idea of motivic development or the composer's tendencies used, among other things. The harmonic progressions that result are just an incidental byproduct of this and any idea of 'what key is this piece in' can be blurred/ambiguous. Thinking in terms of modes/scales as artificial restrictions is a futile effort.
#13
Quote by sweetdude3000
I think I get it.. So as I understand it, analyzing common practice style music from a viewpoint of chords following a particular progression vertically doesn't tell you much about the work

Yea. In classical music, "chord progression" is a result of the linear development of melodies and counterpoint. It is the opposite of pop music, in which the chord progression is established first to generate the melodic content.

So to break down the music in its chordal parts, you're looking at things backward.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#14
Quote by Xiaoxi
Yea. In classical music, "chord progression" is a result of the linear development of melodies and counterpoint. It is the opposite of pop music, in which the chord progression is established first to generate the melodic content.

So to break down the music in its chordal parts, you're looking at things backward.


Thanks. I always thought so coming from a background playing Bach, Beethoven, Chopin etc to pop/rock (mainly just to break away to a new instrument and play with other people) but never had the vocabulary to express it. No wonder why I was confused when I started hearing about chord progressions, cowboy chords, modes and power chords, etc. Makes sense though, when I played a fugue, I thought of 3 or 4 people singing in unison, not cookie cutting a bunch of chords and stringing them together.
#15
I didn't want to make a new thread but. Look at this

http://www.mutopiaproject.org/ftp/BachJS/BWV565/ToccataFugue/ToccataFugue-a4.pdf

The first two bars have 64th and 32nd notes. Why aren't they ever played when I listen to people play it? And also, right when it starts off on bar one on first beat all there is , is an eighth note and people always play it sounding like a sixteenth note phrase. I am very confused of this whole situation.
Last edited by Unreal T at Aug 30, 2013,
#16
Quote by Unreal T
I didn't want to make a new thread but. Look at this

http://www.mutopiaproject.org/ftp/BachJS/BWV565/ToccataFugue/ToccataFugue-a4.pdf

The first two bars have 64th and 32nd notes. Why aren't they ever played when I listen to people play it? And also, right when it starts off on bar one on first beat all there is , is an eighth note and people always play it sounding like a sixteenth note phrase. I am very confused of this whole situation.

How so they are not played? The first note is a "trill" (or whatever it is called) - it actually contains three notes. So the first note is actually three notes. And it's a fermata so it can be as long as the player wants it to be. There really isn't any kind of time signature there. There is no "beat" behind it. I think that's called rubato - there isn't a tempo or it is changing all the time. So you shouldn't read the notation like "first beat is here, second beat is here" and play it like a machine with a metronome.

The 64ths make it look really fast but it really isn't. The "tempo" is really slow in the beginning. That's why it says "Adagio" in the beginning. So the 64ths are the descending line you hear after the first three notes (that are here marked as one note and a ~ above it which means a trill).

Sorry if I'm using incorrect terms, somebody that knows them better can correct me.
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#17
64th notes are way too fast even in Adagio tempo range and I never hear it in recordings.
#18
Quote by Xiaoxi
Bach is not thinking about chords. He's thinking about the lines. Mainly the foreground line and the bass line. The foreground line is born out of an short motif, which is then fleshed out into phrases through patterns and sequences, and all material following that is derived from that initial idea. The other lines follow suit in a way that is also consistent with itself and the overall scheme.

Stripping the piece down to blocks of chords does little for understanding Bach, and indeed all of classical music for that matter. In short, classical music is not oriented on chord progressions.


This is right. =)
#20
Put the first 2 measures in a music editor. It sounds different than the recording.
#21
You are following a very mechanical definition of both "adagio" and the 32nd / 64th notes based on a computerized parameter. I'll post a detailed explanation about this later but just disregard what you know right now.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#22
Quote by Unreal T
Put the first 2 measures in a music editor. It sounds different than the recording.

No shit.

Adagio isn't one metronome mark like 60 or 40. And as I said earlier, that's a song that shouldn't be played like a machine with a metronome. There really are no beats or tempo. It's really freely played. And you do hear the 64ths played. They are just played really slowly. Or what do they play then? Do you think they just improvise the intro of the song?

As I said, the first note actually contains three notes because there's a ~ above the 8th note. (And there's also a fermata on the first 8th note and if you play it back on computer, it doesn't care about fermatas.)

This kind of songs especially are hard to notate because the notation really can't accurately describe what to play (so if you make a machine play it, it will sound wrong). There is no real tempo as I said.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Aug 31, 2013,
#23
There have been occasions lately, where we've been on one call-in, our client was on another, and we were isolated until we realized what was happening.
#24
Bach can most certainly be harmonized - Bach's melodic and harmonic habits are what later composers based their harmonic movements on. You just have to derive the implied harmony, which may be ambiguous.
#25
. I am trying to just pick out the triads and match chords against it, but it doesn't always sound so good to me. Are there any special methods/techniques or is there any point at all of doing this? I have no formal music training, I am just using what I know about theory at the moment. I am trying to figure out how Bach came up with this, like how he comes up with the melodies. I think it has to come from some kind of chord structure and that is what I am trying to figure out.

Look at what I did...what are your opinions?

\-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


check out some of ted greenes' approach to bach and classical flavors...


http://www.tedgreene.com/teaching/baroque.asp
#26
does baskin robbins have a classical flavor
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#27
The tempo markings of pre-19th century music had different meanings. As the metronome wasn't invented before the 1800's. So people treated them differently, you just need to be familiar with conventions.
#29
Quote by mjones1992
Don't know much on the history, but I'm sure in edition to learning/emulating he studied quite a bit of Composition, no? I know he went to school for music at some point.


He got a choral scholarship at one point if I recall correctly but he never did anything like what a modern composition student in a university might be expected to do. A lot of the basis of the modern academic understanding of tonal harmony and counterpoint was only being laid when Bach had already come into his own as a composer. For example, Rameau's Theory of Harmony is usually regarded as the book which popularised the idea that harmony derived from triads and 6/3 and 6/4 chords were just inversions of triads, and according to the testimony from CPE Bach, Bach the elder's understanding of harmony was foreign to that of Rameau. Bach would have understood harmony mostly in terms of figured bass.
.