ZHANG, Shaojing

MMus University of Sydney 2016 Pages: 163

Ornamentation in C.P.E. Bach’s keyboard compositions and its relationship to motivic and harmonic structure

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Link to Thesis: http://hdl.handle.net/2123/15494

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Building on the existing analytical literature, I examine ornamentation in C. P. E. Bach’s keyboard works, looking particularly at the interaction between the ornamentation and deeper aspects of the music, including motifs, harmony and voice-leading structure. It is natural for people to assume that embellishments are not essential elements of a composition. The Oxford English Dictionary defines an ornament as “an accessory or adjunct, primarily functional, but often also fancy or decorative.” Felix Salzer (1986) observes that typically, “at best, ornaments are granted an animating effect,” and that any “deeper significance” is rejected. On the other hand, Salzer credits Heinrich Schenker with contributing to the understanding not only of practical performance issues, but also of “the profound meaning of ornaments, their inner content, and their psychological effect;” or in other words, “the true meaning of Bach’s embellishments.” Eight keyboard sonatas and sonatinas composed by Bach during the 1740s exist in two versions, the later of which arise from revisions made several years after the original composition...

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