The role of the cadence as determining factor of phrasing of the organ toccatas, preludes and fantasias of Johann Sebastian Bach

Du Plooy, Jacobus Stephanus (1996) The role of the cadence as determining factor of phrasing of the organ toccatas, preludes and fantasias of Johann Sebastian Bach. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

This study examines the phrasing of J.S. Bach's preludes, toccatas and fantasias for organ. Consequent upon Bach's silence on the subject and the inadequacy of available sources, the cadence has been used as a means to determine the phrasing of these works. The goal of this thesis is to identify those characteristics of the cadence that can assist the performer in two ways: On the one hand, to select the appropriate type of break between phrases, and, the other hand, selecting the appropriate changes in tempo and articulation essential to the shaping of phrases. The term, 'cadence', therefore, applies not merely to an isolated entity of two chords, but rather to a broader formula including the progressions towards and away from it. This investigation follows an eclectic approach. Accordingly, the exploration of various sources is combined with diverse methods of analyses. The first method is a detailed structural analysis of Bach's cadential progressions, and more specifically, the way in which he integrated the basic musical elements into them. This shows the points of tension and relaxation, two musico-psychological effects fundamental to any decision regarding phrasing. The second method puts Bach's cadences within the context of the larger musical structure, including the 'extra-musical' (i.e. grammatical, rhetorical and 'affective') forms. This method organises cadences according to their various punctuation functions, hence main and secondary cadences. The cadences of twenty-eight works - those works of which the authenticity is more or less secure - are analysed. Descriptions cover a selection from these works considered to be the most representative. A significant number of examples, induding performing suggestions, accompany and elaborate in detail on all descriptions of cadences. An application of the findings is presented by an analysis and di scussion that elaborates in detail on the suggested performance of two works, BWV 542 and 541. These two works epitomize, and simultaneously form the culmination of the two principal styles (i.e. the improvisatory and motorically-orientated) prevalent in Bach's free organ works. Examination of the findings of this study and implications for further research conclude this thesis.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Johann Sebastian Bach, Organ, Toccatas, Preludes, Fantasias
Subjects:M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Music and Musicology
ID Code:3423
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:19 Sep 2012 14:19
Last Modified:27 Jun 2013 13:49
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