• E.M.G.

Courante:

Mis à jour : 26 nov. 2018

Listen to the Courante: https://youtu.be/nIfXntk0j70

Read the score: http://hz.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/0/0e/IMSLP07595-BWV0996.pdf


Measures 1 to 7

The main pattern of this Dance appears in the soprano in measures 1. It’s a stepwise motion from the tonic to the dominant with repeated notes. This motif can be divided in 2 parts: the 2 first beats and the 2 last. We can note that the rhythm of the 2nd part of the 2nd beat is a diminution of the 1st beat. In the same way the rhythm of the 3rd beat is an augmentation of the first part of the 2nd.

This motif is harmonized with the following chords: E-, BM, E-, A-, DM and so it brings a modulation to the G major relative key in measure 2. Note the anticipated A before the 3rd beat and F# before the 2nd.

Measure 2 is in the G major key with the chords GM, CM, B-, CM. Note the passing 7th of the GM chord on the 1st beat. However, it comes back soon to the tonic key at the end of the measure with the F#° chord (both a degree VII and II).

In measure 3, after a dominant chord on the 2 last beats, the motif of the beginning of measure 1 appears again an octave upper. Note that the bass is the retrograde of the soprano (E, F#, G and G, F#, E). Moreover, bass and soprano are almost written in mirror at the end of measure 3 and beginning of measure 4. We can also remark the delayed root of the D#° chord on the 3rd beat of measure 3 (or it can also be described as a delayed 9th, a 7th with the bass F# or a delayed 4th of BM without root…). Anyway it’s a dominant chord of the tonic key in which the D# is delayed.


From measure 4 to 6, the soprano plays the same downward pitch contour. At the end of measure 4 some chords bring a modulation to the relative key again (F#° and GM with a delayed 4th). In measure 4 are played stepwise downward chords in the 1st inversion: CM, B- and A- (or IV, II and II of the G major key). The 1st inversion of stepwise chords is used to avoid parallel 5th. Note the delayed 7th between bass and soprano (or a delayed 9th of the A- chord). In measure 6, 1st inversions are used again on stepwise chords (I, II, III and IV). The end of measure 6 and the beginning of 7 consist in a conclusive V – I progression in the G major key.

We can also remark some échappées in the soprano (stepwise embellishments which don’t belong to chord tones): the E on the 2nd beat of measure 4, The D on the 2nd beat of measure 5 and the B on the 2nd beat of measure 6.


Measures 7 to 10:

The 2 first beats of measure 7 consist in a stepwise upward scale of G major. This soprano is harmonized with stepwise chords (GM, F#° and E-). The E- chord is both a degree VI and IV. It brings the modulation to the dominant key B minor. Note that the last 3rd in the bass is a passing 3rd between the C#° and the A#° chords, since the C# in the soprano is going upward to E, which is the 3rd of C#°, the D in the soprano being a passing tone.

In measure 8 alternate dominant and tonic chords. Note the nice delayed upward major 7th A# going to the tonic B in the soprano. End of measure 9 and beginning of 10 is a conclusive V – I progression in the dominant key. We can remark the E pedal in the soprano at the end of 8 and the beginning of 9. Also note the large intervals played by the soprano on the 2nd beat of 9, which announce the end of the 1st part. In measure 10, over the B pedal bass, there is a A#° dominant chord, which can be indicated +7 (a raised 7th degree over the tonic).


Measures 11 to 16:

After this conclusion in the dominant key, there is a tonic chord of the G major relative key which appears without any transition. This type of modulation sounds like a degree VM of a minor key followed by a degree IIIM, or a V/VI in a major key followed by a tonic chord. It consist in playing successively a conclusive V – I progression in some given key and then playing the next new tonic chord.

From measure 11 to 14, there is a melodic sequence, the soprano following the same pitch contour. As illustrated by the similarity between measures 13 and 5, this motif may come from the first part of the Courante.

In measure 11, the tonic chord of the G major key alternates with the dominant chord.

In measure 12, there is a modulation to the tonic key and in measure 13 to the A minor subdominant key. In measure 12, the pivot chord F#° brings a dominant of E- to come back to the tonic key.

Measure 13 uses the same soprano, but it’s not harmonized the same way. This time the E on the first beat of measure 13 is not a 5th of A- but a root of EM (its dominant). So it is a modulation to the A minor key. On the 2nd beat of measure 13 note the delayed 7th A of the B-7b5 chord.

At the end of measure 15 and the beginning of 16, there is a conclusive V – I progression in the A minor key. Note the passing 7th of the B-7b5 on the 1st beat of measure 15.


Measures 17 to 22:

From 16 to 18, the soprano goes upward to a climax (the B on the first beat of measure 18). This motion goes from A to the A an octave upper (the diapason A). We can note the similarity between the soprano in measure 18 and at the end of the 1st measure. This soprano is harmonized by a A7 chord at the end of measure 16, which brings a D7 dominant chord of the G major key at the beginning of 17. At the end of measure 18 there is a pause on the BM chord, dominant of the tonic key. We can also remark the passing 2nd inversion of the B- chord on the 3rd beat of measure 16. Moreover measures 16 and 17 are based on an opposite motion between bass and soprano, the bass following a stepwise downward motion from A to A.


In measure 19, the soprano plays 2 times the same pattern based on 8th and quarter notes. This measure sounds like two 3/4 measures in the 3/2 original measure. As a result, it gives an impression of acceleration. It sounds in the tonic key and chords are E-, A- and BM, E-.

From measure 20 to 22, the soprano follows an upward chromatic motion from C to G. This line which recalls measure 16 is based on the chords: A- A7, B- B7, CM A7 and DM B7. However if we note that the bass at the end of 20 and the beginning of 21 is the same as the previous soprano (C, C#, D, D#), it can be understood as the same progression played 2 times (by the way it shows which chord are exchangeable).

Moreover, let’s remark that measures 20 and 21 sound like three 4/4 measures in two 3/2 measures. This little dance ends with a V – I progression (note the delayed 4th and the anticipated tonic). Remark in the last measure the D#° dominant chord over the tonic bass (a +7 chord).


Finally, in this Courante the musical speech is mainly based on the rhythm of the 1st beat, and on the soprano of measures 1 and 4. There are modulations, chromatic lines (measures 16 and 20), climax (measures 9 and 18), interesting use of registers (measure 11, 18, 19) and rhythm (19, 20 and 21). Also note the use of passing tones and échappées.


The form of this Courante is:

A begins in the E minor key, passes through the G major key (conclusive V – I progression in measure 7) and goes to the dominant B minor key.

A’ beginning in the G major key (just after the conclusive progression in B minor), passing through the A minor subdominant key (conclusive progression in measure 16) and coming back to the tonic key.


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