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Thread: Bach Cello Suites Harmonic Analysis

  1. #1
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    Feb 2015
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    Default Bach Cello Suites Harmonic Analysis

    Hello, recently I've begun learning to sing the Bach cello suites as a way to train my ear (and of course, to enjoy my life to the fullest!) Except for the very low and high notes, they are happily in my register.

    I took classical music theory in college about 15 years ago but since have mostly played jazz and rock. I understand the basics of theory, figured bass, cadences, and the concept of sequencing. Still, oftentimes I can't really explain what's going on though it sounds great and makes sense intuitively.

    Wondering if people can point me in the right direction regarding how to understand what is happening theoretically in this music. For example I have found this discussion of the Sarabandes, which includes helpful harmonic reductions:

    ... though even these can leave me a little bit in the dark as to why things are the way they are 'harmonically'.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Over the long term I would like to learn these 'by heart' (from memory), so recommendations regarding memorization would also be helpful.


  2. #2
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    Jun 2012
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    Bach outlines what is happening in the suites, so it should be like every other musical analysis: you listen for chord qualities.

    For instance, this one starts on I. Then IV (with tonic still sustained on bottom, known as a "pedal tone"), V, I. Then go on from there.

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