top-rated free essay

Bach - Air

By Lilibuc Oct 11, 2008 557 Words
Music History Essay

Johann Sebastian Bach – Air
(Part of Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major)

In this essay I will examine the characteristics of a masterpiece called Air, written by Johann Sebastian Bach in the early 18th century.
Bach’s Air on its own is not a complete composition. It’s the second movement of his famous suite that all together contains of five movements. Air has a typical property of suite – A, A, B, B scheme. It means that the movement is divided into two parts – A and B. When the movement approaches the end of A it comes back to the beginning and the part A is repeated. Then it fluently continues to the movement B and when it comes to the end of the whole piece it goes back to the B section, repeats it and that is the end of the piece. In the case of Air, the B section is twice as long as the A section. However, even though suites are in general related to dance, this movement isn’t. It is a rather slow movement without significant changes in dynamics. Also, in comparison to the other four movements this one is quite unique and has specific characteristic that make it different from the others.

There are multiple reasons why this movement is so special. First of all, the thing that is obvious immediately after the first listening is that Air is slower than the rest of the suite and has a special mood because even though it is written in the major key that is usually considered to be joyful and happy, the melody sounds rather melancholic and partially sad. Also, Air has the minimum amount of lines - just four; all the other movements have 10 lines and have a characteristic feature – the upper four lines are written in C major scale but the lower 6 lines are written in D major scale. Therefore, since Air is written in D major scale only, it misses the C major scale. I find very interesting that the scale is actually a minor pentatonic scale with raised four, which corresponds to the blues scale. Continuing with the comparison of Air to the other movements, only Air has different rhythm in the single lines and also it is the only movement where legato occasionally continues even throughout the boundaries of single bars.

While comparing the single lines we observe that they have certain specific features too. There is a pattern between baseline and viola line – they are flowing in contrary movements. Also, there is a pattern in scheme for the first and second violin. It’s possible to say, that the second violin responds to the first one throughout the whole movement. For example, when the first violin plays sixteenth notes the second violin has usually some longer notes to play and vica versa. They basically switch the playing of the melody in the first part (A). Moving to the lower part, when we observe the viola line we see that it supports both the first and second violin.

In a conclusion, Air is an exceptional piece. It creates a remarkable impression just on few lines of scores and it is another prove in the collection that perfectly explains why Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the greatest composers of all times.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • sebastian bach

    ... “Johann Sebastian Bach” Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the greatest composers in western musical history. More than 1,000 of his compositions survive. Some examples are the art of fugue, Brandenburg Concerti, the Goldberg Variations for Harpsichord, the, Mass in B-minor, the motets, and the Easter and Chri...

    Read More
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    ...September 15, 2013 Orchestra Composer Essay Composer Essay: Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 31, 1685 in Eisenach, Saxe-Eisenach to the director of town musicians, Johann Ambrosius Bach, and his wife, Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt. He was the eighth child to be born in the family and was around music since he ...

    Read More
  • Air pollution

    ...Introduction to Air Pollution Air pollution is the presence of foreign substances in the atmosphere, emitted by industries and motor vehicles that cause damage to living organisms. Air pollution characteristics Air pollution characteristics in a particular region are influenced by: The type and amount of pollutant and their source o...

    Read More
  • Johann Sebastian Bach 2

    ...Johann Sebastian Bach Among the influential composers of baroque music, there have been few who have contributed so much in talent, creativity, and style as Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach was a German organist and composer of the baroque era. Bach was born on March 21, 1685 in Eisenach, Thuringia and died July 28,1750. Bach revealed his fe...

    Read More
  • The Biograhphy of Johann Sebastian Bach

    ...The Biography of Johann Sebastian Bach Many people today look back to the writings and works of Johann Sebastian Bach, “Bach,” to learn and admire the indelible marks and influence that he was to the world of music as a composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist of the Baroque Period. Bach was born in 1685 in Eisenach, a tow...

    Read More
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    ... Johann Sebastian Bach Melissa Cabral Professor Craig Pilant HIS 113 (46210) Early Modern Europe Throughout the experimental times in music history, many composers sought out fame during their lifetimes. Though some had success, others such as Johann Sebastian Bach were not as fortunate. Once his time ha...

    Read More
  • Handel and Bach Comparisons

    ...Jacob Zeller Professor Davidson History of Music 114:01 15 November 2012 Bach v. Handel When thinking of composers, whose works changed the world of music forever, many names may come to mind. Among those on that list, both Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel are figures whose effect on music has been felt worldwide. Born in t...

    Read More
  • Bach Cantata 78

    ...Johann Sebastian Bach Cantata number 78 or Jesu, der du meine Seele (Jesus, Thou who wrested my soul), was composed in 1724 for the 14th Sunday after Trinity. The text that was used was based on a hymn by Johann Rist. The scoring for this cantata is transverse flutes, 2 oboes, 2 violins, cello, violone, viola, and continuo with organ. For the...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.