Harmony and Form

Topic 1: "Harmony & form" in Suite No 1, BWV 1007​

The choice of starting with “Harmony and form” is not random. We tend to naturally decide our interpretations and shaping of the music based on the melodic features and structures, just like the music of the romantic period is composed. In the baroque period however, the harmonic progression stands stronger than the melodic structure, so we need to focus on the harmonies and their functions to understand how to phrase and shape the music. Then later we can concentrate on what the melodic gestures are telling us, which is the topic for the next set of lectures.

You will learn very simple harmonic functional analysis: namely Tonic, Subdominant and Dominant. These three main groups of chords are those needed for a performer to understand the underlying phrasing and movement. We are not staying in G major throughout each movement, so we will go through the different tonal regions Bach is moving between and see what that does to the music. We will then go through bar for bar and section for section to see what the harmonic functions do within the context of the music. With this, we can easily mark out the phrasing and suitable dynamics.

There are different options of phrasing at times, and we will consider a few of those options. Occasionally, going against the natural phrasing given by the harmonies is a way to create some exciting effects, but this is on a more advanced Bach level, and I will advise you to follow the more basic rules in the first instance.

Contents of the lectures​

  • Characteristics of the movements
  • Simple functional analysis
  • Different sets of hierarchical rules:
    • Importance of notes
    • Trills and chords
    • Level of motion/energy
  • How to choose tempo
  • Dynamics

You will receive the functional analysis in advance so that you can print out and annotate on them during the lectures.

Lecture 1

Pré-recorded – receive a link to watch

  • Prélude
  • Allemande
  • Courante

Lecture 2

Pré-recorded – receive a link to watch

  • Sarabande
  • Menuet I & II
  • Gigue


£30 for one lecture and the analysis
£50 for both lectures and both analysis

For Norwegians:
Du kan også betale i NOK:
350,- for ett foredrag og analyse
600,- for begge foredrag og begge analysene