• E.M.G.

Jig from the Lute Suite BWV 996

Mis à jour : 26 nov. 2018

Listen to the Jig: https://youtu.be/aR02og-kP9A

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


It is written in a ternary time 12/8 measure with a continuous flow of 8th notes. There are 2 lines again: a soprano and a bass. There are imitations between those 2 lines in the harmonic sequences.


Measures 1 to 10:

On the 1st beat, the bass begins before the soprano and plays a stepwise downward motion from the tonic to the tonic. The 3 first beats are based on the tonic chord, the last beat on the A- chord. The soprano begins on the 2nd beat and plays a stepwise motion from E to G. Then it plays an arpeggio of the tonic chord. Note that on the 2nd beat the bass uses the retrograde of the soprano (from G to E).


The 2 first beats of measure 2 plays the 2 last of the 1st measure transposed a 5th upper so as to fit with the chords BM and E-.

In measure 3 the soprano follows a chromatic stepwise upward motion from F# to B. Chords are B-, E-, EM, A-, F#M, B-, A- and BM and bring several short modulations (subdominant and dominant). On the 2nd and 3rd beats, the bass uses the motif played by the soprano on the 2nd beat of measure 1.


On the 1st beat of measure 4, the bass repeats the motif played by the soprano on the last beat of 3, but with modifications to fit with the E- chord.

In this 4th measure, there are imitations between the 2 lines. On the 2nd beat, the soprano repeats the motif played by the bass on the first beat, while the bass is playing the 1st beat of the soprano.


Let’s also remark that in measure 4 the 8th notes motif comes from 3rd and 4th beats of measure 2.


The same process is used on the 3rd and 4th beats, but chords are A7 and D7.

Those chords bring in measure 5 a GM chord. All along this measure, the motif played by the soprano on the 3rd beat of measure 1 is used again. Chords are GM, CM, A7 and DM.

On the 2 first beats of measure 6, the motif played by the soprano on the 2 last beats of measure 1 is used again. This time it is transposed in the G major key. Chords are GM, CM, D7 and G7.


In measure 7, chords are CM, D7, GM, E-, A- and D7. It brings a conclusive V – I progression in the relative key. The 2 last beats of 7 are based on the motif played by the soprano on the 3rd beat of measure 1.


In measure 8, the soprano on beats 3 and 4 is a transposition of 1 and 2. On the 2 first beats it is harmonized by GM and A-. On the 2 last beats chords are BM and E-.

Measure 9 begins with a F#M chord, dominant of the B minor key. The soprano uses a chromatic stepwise motion from C# to E. Then chords are B-, BM, E- and F#M, which confirms the dominant key of B minor.

This first part ends in the dominant key. Measure 10 consists in a coda: above a tonic pedal bass (B) are played the following chords: BM (V/IV), E- and BM with passing 6th.


Measures 11 to 20:

Unlike the motif on the 1st beat of measure1 which was going downward to G, measure 11 begins with a stepwise 8th notes pattern too, but it’s going upward to the same note G. So this motif comes from the mirror of the 1st beat of measure 1, the mirror line being G (3rd of E-). Moreover this time it’s the bass which begins first.

In this 1st measure bass and soprano follow an opposite motion: while the upward 8th notes motif is played by one line, the other follows a stepwise downward motion. As a result, listening both to bass and soprano, a downward line merges: G, F#, E, D, C, B and A.

Concerning the key, measure 1 comes back to E minor with the dominant BM. Beats 3 and 4 bring a modulation to G major (CM, D7 and GM).

Measure 12 begins with a D7 chord, followed by a GM chord.


End of 12 and the entire measure 13 are made of a harmonic sequence: E- and A-7, DM and GM7, CM and F#-7b5, BM and E7, AM and D7. Note the chromatic soprano line.

That’s how measure 14 begins with a GM tonic chord. At the end of 14 and on the first beat of 15 is a conclusive V – I progression in the relative key G major.

Measure 15 and the first beat of 16 consist in a harmonic sequence: GM and CM, A7 and DM, B7 and E-.


In measure 16, beats 2, 3 and 4 are based on the following sequence of stepwise chords used in the 1st inversion: CM and B-, A- and GM, FM (a Neapolitan 6th on which the soprano plays F, the bII) and E-.

Measure 17 contains a harmonic sequence too: D#°7, E- and AM, DM and GM, CM and FM (a Neapolitan 6th again), BM and E-.

In measure 18, the 2nd beat uses again the Neapolitan 6th, 1st inversion of the degree bII with the soprano playing bII. This chord is followed by A- and BM.

3rd and 4th beats of 18 recall measure 11, the beginning of the 2nd part. There is the stepwise downward line again from G to A, but this time it is only played by the bass, the soprano only using the upward 8th notes motif. Chords are BM, E-, CM, A-.

End of 19 and first beat of 20, of course, are made of a conclusive V – I. In measure 20, above the tonic pedal bass, the coda uses V/IV, IV and IM with passing harmonic 6th.


The form of this Jig is:

A beginning in the tonic key, passing through the relative key (conclusive progression in measure 8) and ending in the dominant key.

A’ beginning in the tonic key, passing through the relative key (conclusive progression in measure 15) and ending in E minor.


To conclude, in each Dance of this Suite in the E minor key BWV 996, unity is provided by the rhythm, the original motif(s) of the first measure(s), the form A A’ and the repetition of the each 2 parts.

Variety is brought by modulations, harmonic sequences and possible changes in the original motif.

Between the parts A and A’, 2 Dances use interesting modulations: playing the relative tonic chord just after the dominant chord (Courante) and playing the minor dominant chord just after the major dominant chord (Saraband).

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