J. S. Bach's Partita in E minor, BWV 830: Motivic analysis and its influence on interpretation
Doctor of Musical Arts
The E minor Partita of J. S. Bach involves one of the most controversial issues among musicologists and performers, the rhythmic interpretation of the last two movements: Tempo di Gavotta and Gigue. There are two views: one supporting duple subdivision of the beat as notated, and another choosing triple subdivision of the beat, which modifies what is notated. In the first chapter, the author discusses the coherent use of three basic motives---a minor second motive, a consecutive descending four-note motive, and a repeated-note motive---in the E minor Partita and the functions and effects of each motive in different movements. In the last two chapters, the author demonstrates how the motivic structure of the piece can influence one's interpretative decisions, such as articulation and grouping and especially rhythmic interpretation of the Tempo di Gavotta and Gigue movements.