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Compare the handling of tonality and harmony in these two works.
Tonality: Bach in D major (1) with modulation to dominant A at the end
of section 1(1) and moves through various closely related keys (1) in second
section (2 for relevant examples and bar references) on the way back to
recapitulation in b.29 in tonic (1). Key always clear through perfect
cadences (1)
Debussy nominally in E major/C# minor (1) because of key signature and
final chord (1) but there are no perfect cadences (1) to confirm a key.
Blocks of music – two or four bars – use the notes of the local ‘key’
modally (1). Some triads favoured as points of rest, e.g. G# minor in b.2,4,
16, 18 etc. (1) and D# major in b.14, 55, 59 (1)
Harmony: Bach uses functional harmony (1) with emphasis on primary
triads (1) and liberal use of suspensions, passing notes and appoggiaturas (2
for examples). Some chromatic chords such as diminished 7th in b.12 (1)
and Neapolitan 6th in b.23 (1)
Debussy uses triads, especially as points of repose (2 for examples). Piece
has a range of harmonic devices, including parallel 7th chords at the start
(1), chords in contrary motion in bars 6-7 (1), parallel sevenths moving in
whole tones in b.11-12 (1), quartal harmony in bars 23-8 (1) and open 5ths
in bars 63-5 (1)
Outline the structure of Bach’s Sarabande, referring to thematic motives
and keys.
Rounded binary form (1) with recapitulation of opening material from
b.29 (1). Asymmetrical 12 bars to 25 (1) with final 10 bars a paraphrase of
the opening section (1)
Melodic material spun from a few short motives (1), including the
descending three note figure in RH b.1/I (1) which pervades the music
both as a melodic shape (1 for example, e.g. groups of three notes in RH
b.4) which can also be inverted (1 for example, e.g. RH b.5i) and as a
rhythmic unit (1 for example, e.g. RH b.9i). Another important figure is
the three note unit first heard in RH b.1ii-iii (1) found throughout the
piece (2 for examples)
The piece starts and finishes in D major (1) with a firm cadence in the
dominant, A at the end of section 1 (1). Bach moves through closely
related major and minor keys (2 for examples with cadence points ) before
returning to the tonic in b.29 (1) via a sequence of rising fifths in bars 257 (D to A to E) (1). The final 10 bars stay close to the tonic (1)
In Debussy’s Sarabande, compare and contrast bars 1-14 with bars 42-55.
Passages are the same length (1) and use the same melodic material for the
first 8 bars (1) with changes of octave (1).
1-4 and 42-5: parallel harmony in 1 and 3 replaced by single D major triad
(1) and played forte from b.42 (1). Same resolution onto E major and G#
minor in 2,4 and 43,45 (1)
5-8 and 46-9: bare octaves in 5-6 harmonized in 46-7 (1) and some of the
dissonances from contrary motion chords in 6-7 smoothed out in47-8 (1).
Both cadence on B major chord (1).
9-14 and 50-55: new melodic material from b.50 (1) but phrased in 2 + 2
bars as in 9-14 (1). Both sections cadence on D# major chords (1) but pp in
b.14 and f in b.55 (1). B.14 is the end of a section, whilst b.55 leads into
the climax of the whole piece (1)