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Is there anything Bach did not do??? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 12th March 2014
  #1
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Is there anything Bach did not do???

Hi, thanks for looking. I have been thinking about this for a long time (starting a thread on it).

Is there anything in music that JS Bach did not do?

So first off the ground rules.

You may answer, double bass pedal metal bro!!!

True, Bach did not write anything with a double bass chug riff....but

Here is what I mean, is there any musical technique Bach did not use

Chord

Chord Progression

Writing styles (obviously he did not do 12 tone etc, but is there a harmony created in 12 do he did not use?)

Other harmonic devices

Scales (you may find a couple thing here, maybe not... hence this thread)

....I think you get the point. I started this thread just out of my own curiosity, hopefully I can learn something. Go....
Old 12th March 2014
  #2
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Carnalia Barcus's Avatar
 

I'll give you more here, but first you need to give an answer to this:

Okay, so you're saying that if we only look at the last six sixteenth notes of both bars 16 and 17--if we ignore all of those other notes in those bars, and we basically ignore everything except for the treble clef A-D, G-C, F-Bb in bar 16 (even though those other notes during the last six sixteenth notes function as part of the chords), and ignore everything except for the treble clef F-Bb, E-A, D-G at the end of bar 17 . . . you're saying that if we do all of that, we somehow have a section of BWV 565 where for at least a few bars, the chord progression is ONLY power chords?

That's a simple yes or no question. I'm hoping for an honest, direct, non-bs'ing answer.
Old 12th March 2014
  #3
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His music was more or less Baroque. I don't think he extensively used 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths and so on. But I'm not an expert on Bach.
Old 12th March 2014
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank_Case View Post
His music was more or less Baroque. I don't think he extensively used 7ths, 11ths, 13ths and so on. But I'm not an expert on Bach.
Yeah, I'd doubt that there's anything resembling, say, a Ma9(b13) chord (which you could think of as being a major triad with a major 7th above the root, a b7 above the third, and a b9 above the fifth, or it's a major triad with a diminished triad built on the #5 as the upper structure (usually with the dim triad in first inversion)) . . . and forget about Bach doing something like sustaining Ma9(b13)s as block chords, in succession, in parallel, down a whole tone scale re progressions.
Old 12th March 2014
  #5
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jaxman12's Avatar
Bach was the height of the Baroque period. His influence was so great that when he died, that was the end of the Baroque era.

Quote:
I don't think he extensively used 7ths, 11ths, 13ths and so on
He did use 7ths and 9ths, etc. in his works. I am no Bach historian either, but his Prelude in C in a good example. I don't think I can post the piece here due to copyright laws, but you can see an image of the sheet music if you google it.
Old 12th March 2014
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
...
Great idea for a thread. Btw, I've now started referring to chromatic mediants as the "ahh fxxk it" rule thanks to you.

I think that though he was one of the greatest composers, there is still a lot of ground that Bach didn't cover. Mostly stuff that came around later, like the extreme altered jazz chords that have been mentioned already. I think he probably tried those chords out, but they just didn't fit the church writing at the time. Another thing I'd be curious to learn is if Bach ever wrote melodies with more "exotic" modes, like the phrygian dominant, or the Japanese Yo scale.
Old 12th March 2014
  #7
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This is just mindbogglingly silly. It's like saying that because he used all seven pitch classes he encompasses all music.
Old 12th March 2014
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnalia Barcus View Post
I'll give you more here, but first you need to give an answer to this:

Okay, so you're saying that if we only look at the last six sixteenth notes of both bars 16 and 17--if we ignore all of those other notes in those bars, and we basically ignore everything except for the treble clef A-D, G-C, F-Bb in bar 16 (even though those other notes during the last six sixteenth notes function as part of the chords), and ignore everything except for the treble clef F-Bb, E-A, D-G at the end of bar 17 . . . you're saying that if we do all of that, we somehow have a section of BWV 565 where for at least a few bars, the chord progression is ONLY power chords?

That's a simple yes or no question. I'm hoping for an honest, direct, non-bs'ing answer.

Not only power chords true, however the original question asked included a melody over power chords, in which case it was pretty close. Considering if you look at those melody notes in relation to the "power chords" under them they will in fact form chords, and a chord progression that Bach had most likely done.

So...

A song entirely based on parallel fifths, no.

Parallel fifths used in a piece, yes.
Old 12th March 2014
  #9
ark
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Here are six pieces (all deservedly well known) that are stylistically so far ahead of Bach's time that I can't think of anything he did that was even close.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UJOaGIhG7A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58QwgOzsRKc (music starts at 1:53)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1J6MxVQyKU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kotK9FNEYU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wClwaBuFOJA (music starts at 1:10)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HilGthRhwP8 (music starts at 0:34)

Note: When I say "so far ahead," I mean in the sense of time, not quality or merit.

Last edited by ark; 12th March 2014 at 08:19 PM.. Reason: Added last sentence
Old 12th March 2014
  #10
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1) feel free to post any example of Bach music as it is all public domain


Bach most certainly used all of these extensions 9th, b9th, etc in his pieces, even in block form.

http://www.musanim.com/pdf/bwv565-a4.pdf

check out measure 100, diminished chord, with a b9 in the bass



Pretty hairy for 1730 or so..... I will find a few more cool ones later

Beethoven referred to him as the "eternal God of Harmony"

If you think Bach did not use extensions, please check out his organ music, it is some of the most complex music harmonically there is.
Old 12th March 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ark View Post
Here are six pieces (all deservedly well known) that are stylistically so far ahead of Bach's time that I can't think of anything he did that was even close.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UJOaGIhG7A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58QwgOzsRKc (music starts at 1:53)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1J6MxVQyKU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kotK9FNEYU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wClwaBuFOJA (music starts at 1:10)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HilGthRhwP8 (music starts at 0:34)

Note: When I say "so far ahead," I mean in the sense of time, not quality or merit.

Ok here is what we are looking for, I assume by time you mean use of rhythm. Very true. I would be curious through analyzation to see what harmonic concepts are unique to the right of spring that bach did not use. Good post!!


So first thing (if I understand you post), rhythmic concepts. (If you care to elaborate I will edit this)
Old 12th March 2014
  #12
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It's really hard to determine what J.S. Bach was "deficient" in as a composer. One first must identify what musically preceded him, as he (likely) had no ability to ascertain future musical trends.

Maybe he was lacking the ability or willingness to maintain relentless harmonic sameness while elaborating melodically in that uniformly constant harmonic context. I doubt it though, as he does have some pieces which aren't immersed in chordal flux.

It is possible however, that Gregorian chants actually bored him tremendously and sparked an inner muse entirely rebellious to such monotony !

As someone else said though, it may actually be in the area of intricate rhythmic development.
Old 12th March 2014
  #13
ark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
Ok here is what we are looking for, I assume by time you mean use of rhythm.
No, I mean calendar time: Each of these pieces is in a style that was completely unknown in Bach's day.
Old 12th March 2014
  #14
ark
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Putting it differently, I think Bach did everything that was possible in his time, and probably even expanded on what was considered possible. However, there are entire ways of thinking about music that were completely unknown to Bach and his contemporaries, and it would have been as unlikely for Bach to write music that adopted those ways as it would have been for Shakespeare to write about the Internet.
Old 12th March 2014
  #15
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This is always great fun, check out jazz guys playing Bach.... it can be scary how ahead of his time he was, here is a cool example

Canadian Brass Jazzed Up Bach - YouTube

if you want to hear more, they are all over youtube



P.S. please keep the thread civil
Old 12th March 2014
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ark View Post
No, I mean calendar time: Each of these pieces is in a style that was completely unknown in Bach's day.

Ok, care to expand on what is it about those styles that "breaks new ground".

Certainly rhythmically there are unique things here.
Old 12th March 2014
  #17
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Re : Canadian Brass Jazzed Up Bach

I never really cared for the jazzing up of Bach, even though I'm 50% formally jazz trained. I -personally- find the approach of Claude Bolling and such others to be presumptuously inappropriate. Others respond differently, I know.
Old 12th March 2014
  #18
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Carnalia Barcus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
Parallel fifths used in a piece, yes.
Okay, but I didn't say "parallel fifths used in a piece" did I?

I said a chord progression that consisted solely of power chords, right?

I have more to say after that, but answer that question first, otherwise you'll overlook it.
Old 12th March 2014
  #19
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Here is a cool analyses of the dm lute prelude, a couple of standout harmonies

Bach's Changes

f#dim7/E

dmin/Bb

bmin7b5/E

b9, 13's, clusters oh my!!!
Old 12th March 2014
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
Bach most certainly used all of these extensions 9th, b9th, etc in his pieces, even in block form.
Did he use a Ma9(b13) anywhere?
Old 12th March 2014
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnalia Barcus View Post
Okay, but I didn't say "parallel fifths used in a piece" did I?

I said a chord progression that consisted solely of power chords, right?

I have more to say after that, but answer that question first, otherwise you'll overlook it.

based solely on power chords no, but that is hardly creative, or something Bach would not have understood. Had you played that for Bach, he would have laughed at you.

Also, I do believe you mentioned a melody above the power chords, which is why I gave the example I did.
Old 12th March 2014
  #22
ark
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Each of the six videos I posted is music that breaks new ground in a different way, so it would be a lot of explanation. But part of each of them does so in ways that do not involve rhythm.

Briefly:

#1 (Stravinsky: Sacre du Printemps) is full of harmonies that Bach and his contemporaries would have considered unresolved dissonances to the extent that they would not have been permitted, period.

#2 (Ravel: L'Enfant et les Sortilèges) begins with a long sequence of mixed 5ths and 4ths that would also have been considered harmonically impermissible.

#3 (Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra) uses yet another notion of what constitutes harmony that Bach would have found as foreign as, um, Hungarian.

#4 (Coltrane: Giant Steps) uses harmonies that Bach would have found familiar, but chopped up and reassembled in a way that I think would have sounded chaotic and almost incoherent.

#5 (Varèse: Ionisation) is a pure percussion piece with highly irregular (but very precise) rhythms.

#6 (Penderecki: Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima) is what today we would call sound design, although it is done entirely with traditional string instruments.
Old 12th March 2014
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnalia Barcus View Post
Did he use a Ma9(b13) anywhere?

I will try to find one. Just to be clear (in c) c e g b d ab

Almost positive I have played a Bach piece with a major chord with a b6 in the bass, I will double check.
Old 12th March 2014
  #24
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The chronology of harmonic rebels (groundbreakers, pioneers) ... gotta love it ! heh
Old 12th March 2014
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ark View Post

#4 (Coltrane: Giant Steps) uses harmonies that Bach would have found familiar, but chopped up and reassembled in a way that I think would have sounded chaotic and almost incoherent.
Good post!!!

There are only a few people who I heard going through music school that I though that Bach would have to go home and study, Coltrane was one of them.... Also the first time I heard Art Tatum I thought the same thing.
Old 12th March 2014
  #26
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Carnalia Barcus's Avatar
 

Why is it so friggin hard to get you to answer a question plainly and straightforwardly. Is English not your first language? (If it isn't, I apologize, but it sure seems like it would be aside from the fact that it's like pulling teeth to try to get you to directly answer questions.)

When someone asks, "Okay, but I didn't say 'parallel fifths used in a piece' did I?" You'd answer either "No" implying that I didn't say that, or "Yes", suggesting that you disagree and believe that I did say that.

Likewise with "I said a chord progression that consisted solely of power chords, right?" To which the logical answers are either "Right" or "Yes" or "Wrong" or "That's not what I understood" or "No" or something like that.
Old 12th March 2014
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
I will try to find one. Just to be clear (in c) c e g b d ab

Almost positive I have played a Bach piece with a major chord with a b6 in the bass, I will double check.
Yes, CMa9(b13) is C E G B D Ab.

But a major chord with a b6 in the bass (or anywhere) is NOT a Ma9(b13) chord. It would be missing two crucial chord tones, the major seventh and the ninth.

Additionally Ab C E G, with Ab in the bass, is simply an AbMa7(#5). That's a different chord obviously. (You could write it as C/Ab, though (and sometimes probably should if you're handing out parts), but it's going to sound like an AbMa7(#5).)
Old 12th March 2014
  #28
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Stubbled upon this

Bach’s “12-tone” Chorale Phrases | For M is Musick

Bach 12 tone???? Obviously not taken as far as more modern composers but... not bad for 1740.
Old 12th March 2014
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnalia Barcus View Post
Yes, CMa9(b13) is C E G B D Ab.

But a major chord with a b6 in the bass (or anywhere) is NOT a Ma9(b13) chord. It would be missing two crucial chord tones, the major seventh and the ninth.
The piece I was referring to is a guitar transcription.... and we only gotz 4 fingers so.... something has to give. I will look for the full monty. Good post!!!
Old 12th March 2014
  #30
ark
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Bach used all 12 pitches in a single, unaccompanied voice in the first three measures of this piece:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYvf9vybTnE
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