• E.M.G.

Saraband from the Lute Suite BWV 996

Mis à jour : 26 nov. 2018

Listen to the Saraband: https://youtu.be/xXiN4wfz8aA

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


Measure 1 to 4:

This Saraband is written in 3/2 measures. The main motif of this dance appears in measure 1: a downward motion from the dominant (with the C upward neighbor tone) to the tonic. Measures 3 and 4 seem to be almost like a rhythmic augmentation of measure 1. In measure 2 chords are CM and F#-7b5 with a delayed 7th in the bass. In measure 4 is a conclusive V – I progression in the tonic key.


Measure 5 to 8:

In measure 5, chords E- and D7 bring a modulation to the relative key. The soprano looks like a rhythmic diminution of the pitch contour of measure 1.

In measure 6 the GM chord is both a tonic chord and a degree VI of the E minor key. At the end of measure 6 a F#- and a +63 (inversion of D#°) bring back the tonic key.

Measure 7 is made of E-, A- and F#°. On the 1st beat there is a passing harmonic 3rd in the bass between E- and A-. Note the 8th notes embellishment of A on the last beat.

Measure 8 is a pause on the dominant chord with double neighbor tones (E and C).


Measure 9 to 16:

This 2nd part begins with a B- chord, the new tonic chord, just after the previous dominant chord BM has been played. It may be assumed that this change of mode from major to minor was surprising at that time.

In the first measure (9) the soprano is the transposition of measure 1 in the dominant key. However a dominant chord of this key appears on the 2nd beat (F#M).

In measure 10 there is a modulation to the G major key, the new tonic chord appearing just after the previous tonic B-. Then there is a subdominant CM chord. In measure 11, over an upward bass, are the chords +63, GM and A- with a delayed 7th. Those chords bring in measure 12 a pause on the dominant chord DM.

In measure 13 there is another sharp modulation to the B minor key since the new dominant F#7 chord is played just after the previous (DM). After a tonic chord on the 2nd beat there is a 16th notes downward scale of B minor. In measure 14, a C#-7b5 chord brings a +63 chord. Note the embellishment of the 3rd E by the soprano.

In measure 16 and at the end of 15 and is played a V – I conclusive progression in the B minor key. Remark the delayed 4th of F#M on the 2nd beat. It can be also noted the clever use of the tonic and the 2 subdominant chords on the 1st beat of measure 15. Indeed, the B is a common tone between B- and E-. E and G both belong to E- and C#°.


Measures 17 to 24:

From measures 17 to 21, the bass follows a stepwise chromatic motion.

In measure 17, on the 1st beat, B- is both the previous tonic and the new degree II of the A minor key (the subdominant key). In measure 18, the previous tonic chord A- is also the new degree IV if the E minor key. In measure 19, a E- chord could have been expected but this is a degree VIM (CM) which is played on the 1st beat (with the delayed root in the bass).

On the 2nd beat of measure 19 is played a F#M chord which brings the B minor key.

Remark that on each last and 1st beats of measures 18, 19, 20 and 21 the soprano plays a raised 7th degree of the key of the moment followed by the tonic.

In measure 20, after a B- tonic chord is played a BM chord, dominant of the E minor key.

In measure 22 there are E-, CM and F#-7b5 with a delayed 7th in the bass.

In measure 23 there is a BM dominant chord. Note the passing 6th G – E between the soprano and the intermediate line and the delayed 4th on the 2nd beat.

In measure 24 there is the conclusive V – I progression in the tonic key with the delayed 4th and the major mode.


The form of this Saraband is:

A is in the tonic key with a conclusive progression in measure 4. It ends with a pause on the dominant chord in measure 8.

A’ begins in the dominant key (note the B- new tonic chord played just after the pause on BM). There is a conclusive progression in measure 16. It ends in E minor.

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