Chapter

The G-minor <i>Adagio</i>

Joel Lester

in Bach's Works for Solo Violin

Published in print October 1999 | ISBN: 9780195120974
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865406 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195120974.003.02
The G-minor Adagio

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The slow movement that begins each solo sonata is a prelude to the fugue that follows, akin to the prelude-fugue pairs in Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Many of these preludes are built upon a thoroughbass with an opening key-defining harmonic progression, a descending bass scale, a dominant pedal, and a cadence. This thoroughbass supports the melodic elaborations of the G-minor Adagio, all held together by motives, with continually heightening levels of activity creating the rhetoric of the movement. Performance suggestions arise from these considerations. The G-minor Adagio shares many features with other opening movements in the solo-violin works.

Keywords: prelude; thoroughbass; Well-Tempered Clavier; motives; heightening activity; performance

Chapter.  9072 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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