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Thread: Passacaglia for certain solo instruments - how?

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Default Passacaglia for certain solo instruments - how?

    I recently listened to Britten's third suite for solo cello, which ends with a substantial passacaglia. Now, I know what a passacaglia more or less is, but as a non-musician what I can't understand is this - as the passacaglia requires a bass pattern and the variations to play with/over it, how can a solo instrument such as the cello provide both at the same time with just the one action?
    Last edited by elgars ghost; Jun-16-2021 at 21:58.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    By continuing to develop the theme in different registers, by using double stops and implied counterpoint. In a passacaglia the bass line is generally played slowly allowing time to access other notes in between. Other earlier examples include Biber's passacaglia for solo violin and Bach's chaconne. A chaconne and passacaglia are essentially the same thing.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Thank you, tdc - from a layman's perspective it's always good to have something like that explained clearly.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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