23 August 2004

Bach studies

Here are two excellent composition study guides covering J. S. Bach's music.

Thanks to The Rambler for posting these.

The Bach Chorales site contains 371 chorales (pronounced /"kV.r\Al/) in MIDI and QuickTime formats, and as sheet music in PDF format. The site has a great deal of very accessible information on the chorales and their place in Bach's compositional output. It also has links to many outside sources and to free client and notation software you can use to view the MIDI files. The site as a whole is very clean-looking.

My recommendation for notation software, for convenience only, would be the free version of the software I use. I use Allegro, and their free version is called NotePad. Oddly, the NotePad link at the Bach Chorale site is broken.

I used my copy of the chorales for sight-reading practice, and The Rambler points out, rightly, that they are perfect for the study of part writing. Their melodies are simple but well placed within the clean harmonizations and voicings of his chorales.

The Well-tempered Clavier site contains most of the fugues from Bach's two books of preludes and fugues. This site is a little busier and uglier (with a tilde in the URL!) than that of the chorales, but it is a much more involved study aid. Click on one of the fugues and, holy shit, you get an interactive Shockwave window with a recording of a real performance tracked across the sheet music. As you're listening and reading the notes, you can also follow a graph of how the main theme is distributed througout the piece in all voices. Along with all of this, you can toggle between David Korevaar's performance notes and Tim Smith's musical analysis. Really outstanding information.

[ posted by sstrader on 23 August 2004 at 6:34:47 PM in Music ]