The Partitas

Joel Lester

in Bach's Works for Solo Violin

Published in print October 1999 | ISBN: 9780195120974
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865406 | DOI:
The Partitas

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A wide variety of dance movements characterize Bach's three solo-violin partitas. All the movements, except for the Preludio of the E-major Partita and the Chaconne ending the D-minor Partita, have two reprises and, following Bach's usual practice, fall into two parallel sections with heightening levels of activity both within each section and between the two sections. The term “partita” means a suite (a series of dances) as well as a set of variations. Different sorts of variations characterize the solo-violin partitas: the B-minor Partita follows each dance with a “double” or variation on the complete preceding movement; the various movements of the D-minor Partita are all variations over a similar thoroughbass, followed by the Chaconne (Bach's longest set of variations).

Keywords: partita; suite; variations; Chaconne; thoroughbass; parallel sections; heightening activity

Chapter.  7279 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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