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Bach: Chorale Harmonization and Instrumental Counterpoint

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1871082722
ISBN-10: 1871082722
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Kahn & Averill Publishers (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1871082722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1871082722
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,222,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a music student who was looking for a good resource to better understand Bach's style, I decided to pick up this book. I found it made many helpful observations that aided in my understanding of Bach's style in his chorales and instrumental music (i.e. favored progressions, voice leading). It is designed for students who have already studied Harmony (and Counterpoint for the second half of the book) and who require more detail on what Bach would or would not have done in different situations. Exercises are also provided, starting with an existing soprano and bass part where the student adds the alto and tenor, followed by many more where only the soprano is provided and the student adds the three other voices. As there are so many different ways to harmonize a melody, answers are not provided, and a teacher will be required to correct the work.

The quibble that prevents this book from getting 4 or 5 stars in this review is that there is no included Bach Anthology. I had hoped for the price that there would at least be some chorales and some Bach keyboard pieces for harmonic and countrapuntal analysis. In fact the book makes the point that the reader should analyse several Bach chorales before even attempting the given exercises, yet there are none included in the book. Also several examples say things like "see chorale no 19 measure 10 for an example of this". Therefore, in order for this book to be of use, you'll need to also purchase Bach's 371 chorales for the first half and his 2-part inventions and 3-part sinfonias for the second half.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
True to Mr. Ducharme's instructions, I had a Riemenshneider collection and a 2-and-3-part invention score handy. I found the book interesting, well written, and informative, but there are still a few questions which bother me.

Number one:
<<<<<What is the scope of this book?>>>>>

A complete analysis of Bach's music cannot be covered in 80 pages. Studies of individual compositions have been treated in volumes thicker than this one.

Number two:
<<<<<What is the purpose of this book?>>>>>

On the first page of the second part of the book, the author writes this disclaimer: "The intention is not to provide ready-made formulae for putting together pieces in the Bach style--which would be imnpossible anyway--and the following pages should be regarded only as a method of fruitful study of the works themselves."

Yet the author repeatedly instructs the reader on what to do and what not to do, and with no other referent than the example set by Bach. Why must we use the Picardy third for ending chorales in a minor key, but not necessarily for ending dance movements in a minor key? Because that was Bach's habit! Why can't we write dominant thirteenths? Because Bach didn't seem to like them!

If producing more music in the style of Bach was Boyd's secret wish, I would say that that is an unworthy cause. Although much of Bach's music has been lost, we still have over a thousand of his compositions, and that is enough to last any devotee for a lifetime.

I am reminded of a story told by Chotzinoff (0306707772), about a composer named Giuseppe Martucci. For reasons of friendship, Toscanini profusely performed Martucci's works.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just what I needed/
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