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Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major #2908281 11/04/19 05:26 PM
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Gary001 Offline OP
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I noticed after listening to a youtube video of "Aria in F" that it's the same piece as "Theme in F Major" from "Succeeding with the masters Baroque Volume 1".

Firstly, is anyone aware of why the two pieces are named differently? "Theme in F Major" is marked "BWV Anh. 131" whilst "Aria in F" (as can be seen in this youtube video) is marked "BWV Anh. II 131".

Aside from a few staccatissimo and staccato markings in bar 4 and 5 along with a couple of slurs differences the real difference I can find is the first note of bar 4. In "Theme in F Major" it's a C, whilst in "Aria" it's 2 notes lower for an A. Any idea why the two scores may differ on a note? slurs/staccato I'd expect an editor to add/change, but is a note change ever done?

FWIW I prefer the sound of the piece with "C" note.


PW Recitals: LVI, XIX, XIV, XII, XI
Recent Recording: No. 9 - Nana de Mercedes (Javiere Navarette)
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Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908304 11/04/19 07:08 PM
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Bach didn't publish any of this music - it was all found in manuscripts and collected. He probably didn't name them either. The "Anh II" means a piece of "dubious authenticity". The slur and staccato markings were probably added by an editor. You could look on imslp.org for the actual BWV volume and see what that version looks like.

Sam

Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908308 11/04/19 07:31 PM
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The piece comes from the Anna Magdalena notebook. A collection of pieces from various composers and copyist. This one is from an unknown composer. There is no title on the copy and there are no slurs nor any marks in bar 4 and 5, those are added by the editor. So it is called an air or a theme, phrase by convenience as it looks like that.

Bar 4 i have seen editions with an A and others with a C. The manuscript says A but seems like a possible error so some editors will correct into a C. Whatever sheet you have just use it.

Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908374 11/05/19 02:23 AM
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At least, these are proper names. I have seen so much worse - fantasy names by the editor, and no mention of the composer. "A night in the museum" "At the playground" just to name some examples.
I wish all editors would use proper names, or at least write a note with the correct marking, such as "BWV Anh. II 131".
By the way, now that we are talking about this aria, I have always wondered if all of this piece is in F major. Or could it be that the second and the third phrase - starting with the RH c in measure 3, and finishing with LH c in measure 11, are in C major?

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Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908390 11/05/19 04:26 AM
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Good observation Animisha. It's really common for pieces to move through other keys. C is the dominant of F (ie the key that starts on the 5th, or dominant, note of the F major scale is C), and so a very typical modulation is from the tonic F to the dominant C. A modulation to the relative minor (D minor in this case) would be another really common choice. Longer, more complex pieces may move through a number of different keys.
We'd still say the piece is in F major though.


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Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908420 11/05/19 06:44 AM
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Thank you for your answer Barbaram! I have hardly studied any music theory, so it's quite exciting to notice these kind of things spontaneously. It all started with me noticing that in measure 7 and in measure 11 LH played c g c and not f c f, which I would have expected in a piece in F major.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908469 11/05/19 08:50 AM
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One of my students played this for an exam last year. She and I really enjoyed working up this piece.

Some clues in this piece that can help you identify the modulation:

The B-natural in bar 6. B-natural does not exist on the F major scale, but it does exist on the C major scale. Furthermore, it is the leading note (seventh degree) of the C major scale. This is a strong suggestion of modulation. In general, you can start sniffing around for modulation if you see accidentals. Accidentals often indicate modulation, but it's not a sure thing. They may just be there for decoration.

The cadence in bars 6-7. Notice that we have a G major chord in the last two beats of bar 6 (G B-natural D), then a C major chord in bar 7 (or at least the skeleton of one - C and G). G major to C major is a perfect cadence in the key of C major (V chord going to the I chord at the end of a phrase). The perfect cadence is perhaps the best way to establish a new tonality. This cadence does not just suggest a tonality: it screams the tonality.

Also notice the C7 chord in bars 8 and 9. This C7 chord is in its dominant seventh form: C E G B-flat (note the minor third between the G and the B-flat). This strongly suggests that we are going back to the key of F major. (And yea, verily, bar 10 opens with an F major chord.) Notice that B-flat does not exist on the C major scale, but it does exist on the F major scale.

But wait - the phrase ends in bar 11 with a C major chord! This is actually an imperfect cadence. Note the last chord in bar 10: B-flat major. A cadential progression of B-flat major to C major doesn't make a lot of sense in a piece with a C major tonality. (It would make more sense in a modal piece, such as Scottish bagpipe music or the music of the mountains where I grew up, but that's not what we have here.) But if we are in the F major tonality, it makes a lot of sense: the IV chord (B-flat major) goes to the V chord (F major), making an imperfect cadence. This cadence feels unresolved - there is more music coming.

The last beat of bar 11 is very clever - it could be a iii chord (A minor) or the I chord (F major).

Ah, probably more than anyone cared to know about this piece.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908503 11/05/19 10:33 AM
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Thank you Dr. Rogers, the parts that I understand are very interesting!


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Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Animisha] #2908523 11/05/19 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Thank you Dr. Rogers, the parts that I understand are very interesting!

Have a look at this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_form

Binary form is the precursor of sonata form (which is the predominant form used in the Classical period), and is extensively used in the Baroque period, as in almost all Bach keyboard pieces as well as movements from suites, partitas, 'sonatas' etc. Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas are in binary form, not sonata form.

The pieces would be in two parts (each with repeat signs), and usually - but not always - modulate either to the dominant (if the piece is in a major key) or relative major (if minor key). For instance, a piece in A minor would modulate to C major (= relative major, with the same key signature) at the repeat sign, and start in C major in the second section, returning to the tonic A minor at the end. Whereas a piece in A major would modulate to E major (the 5th degree of the scale = dominant) at the repeat sign.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908533 11/05/19 12:28 PM
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Gosh - that takes me back to two years ago (almost to the day) when I played that piece for an ABRSM exam.

I'd never really given it much thought so this makes very interesting reading (although it's still above my head).

Thanks. smile


Learning to play. Consciously incompetent, which apparently is a good starting point. smirk
Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908556 11/05/19 02:17 PM
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In fact the piece does not really modulates to C major in the sense that we use it in our modern harmonic theory; the first phrase ends with a typical cadential formula on the dominant. The second part starts with a standing on the dominant in the home key. Unlike in the classical sonata form which is based on the tension between the home key and the dominant (in major), the C major tonality is not really used.

Thats is one major difference between the baroque binary or ternary form and the classical sonata form. The cadential formula is here a typical legacy of the mid baroque writing style with a chromatic emphasis on the note being cadenced. We can recognized a very common melodic counterpointed formula with the bass going 3-4-5-1 (C being 1) and the top line 5-4-3-1 with a lower auxiliary on flat 7.

The piece is not very well written so it is doubtfull it was from JS Bach, most likely a student or one of his son eary composition. In particular there are 2 octaves in bar 4 and 5, the first one on a strong beat and even though they are not direct, it still does not sound very well and could have been easily avoided (for example on the second one, one can replace the F by A-F). I am not sure what the title by Johann C. Bach refer to because he was born in 1735 and the notebook is dated 1725 ...

Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908563 11/05/19 02:27 PM
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ABRSM attributes this piece to J. C. Bach. From Piano Exam Pieces - ABRSM Grade 1 - Selected from the 2017 & 2018 Syllabus:

"This charming little piece was written by Bach's youngest son Johann Christian when he was little more than 10 years old. He wrote it out in the Clavierbuchlein, or Little Keyboard Book, that Bach dedicated to his wife Ana Magdalena in 1725. This manuscript album, filled up gradually over the next 20 years or so, gives a vivid picture of domestic music-making in the Bach family home during that period."

I can't say it really matters to me which of the little Bachlings wrote it. It's not overly sophisticated, true, but it's a very pleasant piece for a Grade 1 student.


Austin Rogers, PhD
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Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2908574 11/05/19 02:54 PM
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Dr. Rogers! I would have played it with the phrase in m.7 ending at the F in m.1 so I'd be back to I. Not good?

Last edited by wszxbcl; 11/05/19 02:56 PM.
Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2908586 11/05/19 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
ABRSM attributes this piece to J. C. Bach. From Piano Exam Pieces - ABRSM Grade 1 - Selected from the 2017 & 2018 Syllabus:

"This charming little piece was written by Bach's youngest son Johann Christian when he was little more than 10 years old. He wrote it out in the Clavierbuchlein, or Little Keyboard Book, that Bach dedicated to his wife Ana Magdalena in 1725. This manuscript album, filled up gradually over the next 20 years or so, gives a vivid picture of domestic music-making in the Bach family home during that period."

I can't say it really matters to me which of the little Bachlings wrote it. It's not overly sophisticated, true, but it's a very pleasant piece for a Grade 1 student.


In fact no one knows who wrote that piece. In 1725 Johann Christian Bach was not born yet .... So it is possible that the sheet has been added much later but it is also possible that it was already there, and other names also circulate, but one thing is certain is that we do not know with certaintly who is the composer. So the statement of ABRSM is overly assertive. Henle for example published it with the label Unknown Composer. It is a good piece indeed for a beginner even though it is not of the best counterpoint.

Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2908604 11/05/19 04:39 PM
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Gary001 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers

Ah, probably more than anyone cared to know about this piece.


I expect I'm not the only one who appreciated the extra insight smile


PW Recitals: LVI, XIX, XIV, XII, XI
Recent Recording: No. 9 - Nana de Mercedes (Javiere Navarette)
Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: wszxbcl] #2908773 11/06/19 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Dr. Rogers! I would have played it with the phrase in m.7 ending at the F in m.1 so I'd be back to I. Not good?


I believe you should definitely play the C before the repeat sign. The A part is intended to end on the dominant chord (the chord built on the fifth degree of the scale) - in this case, C major.

I love picking apart pieces and analyzing the harmonic structure. I drive my students crazy with this, but I've managed to convert at least two of them in to music theory geeks like me!


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Bach Aria in F / Theme in F Major [Re: Gary001] #2908806 11/06/19 08:58 AM
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Yes, I play what's written, the C then end on the F.


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