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A Majestic Trill from Schumann

Take a look at that bass trill in measure 6 of the Sempre marcatissimo movement of Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, op.13: This trill seems rather benign on the page. Schumann draws no special attention to it among the several other trills … Continue reading

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“Correcting” Bach’s Parallel Fifths: Breitkopf Editorial Practices

In an earlier post I examined 20 instances of consecutive perfect fifths and octaves in the Bach chorales (not counting 26 “fermata” consecutives occurring between the final chord of one phrase and the first chord of the next). Since writing … Continue reading

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3-Second New Music Quiz

Here’s a “3-second” quiz for you composers and new music enthusiasts out there. Identify fifteen 20th-century composers and works by listening to a 3-second excerpt. (Okay, some excerpts are more like 5 or 6 seconds, but who’s counting?) It’s indeed … Continue reading

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How Bach Prevented Consecutive Fifths and Octaves

In a previous post, I examined 46 instances of consecutive fifths and octaves found in the Bach chorales. Here is a summary of what we learned: Bach did on relatively rare occasion write consecutive fifths or octaves involving non-chord tones … Continue reading

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Consecutive 5ths and Octaves in Bach Chorales

So did Bach actually write consecutive perfect fifths or octaves in his chorales, breaking the First Commandment of part-writing? The short answer is yes, he certainly did. The long answer, however, will be far more informative if it addresses additional … Continue reading

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Intertextual Connections: Mozart, Beethoven & Rachmaninoff

Last week when revisiting the sonata-form first movement of Mozart’s Symphony No.40 in G minor from 1788, one brief passage began triggering intertextual thoughts. I had heard music very much like this before, but where? After some mind-scrambling, I came … Continue reading

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Why that note?!? — Bach French Suite No.1 Sarabande

“Why that note??” is a new series featuring musical pieces or passages in which a single note (or other musical detail) seems unjustified, out of place, or just simply wrong, within a given context. I suspect that in most cases, … Continue reading

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