The influence of Baroque dance in the performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's Six Suites a Violoncello Senza Basso
Qureshi, Rifat Javed
Doctor of Musical Arts
A major part of Johann Sebastian Bach's works was influenced by dance. Only recently, musician-scholars have begun to analyze carefully the effect of dance on instrumental suites from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. In the Six Suites a Violoncello Senza Basso, I discuss the evolution of the dances found in this collection (allemande, courante, sarabande, minuet, bourree, gavotte and gigue) and present their basic step patterns. Bach composed in a contrapuntally complex texture and on the surface obscured dance elements: yet, the dance pulse must be recognized and understood. In this study, the original violoncello part is reduced to its basic melodic structure and rhythmic pulses to reveal dance step patterns. The performer is given instruction on how to imitate these dance inflections with the instrument. Even though these instrumental suites were not intended to be danced to, the performer cannot ignore the importance of dance in this work. As a result, this knowledge will help the performer create spirited and intelligent performances.
Dance; Music; Music education