Friday, September 28, 2007

Regarding the French Suite in general...

These suites, not particularly 'French' in idiom, lack preludes, and are shorter and less elaborate than the Partitas and English Suites. Nevertheless, they contain some of Bach's most popular and accessible keyboard writing. (from the Urtext Edition of the French Suites)

When I read that, I got an idea to play around with adding a prelude before I play the French Suite No. 6 – especially since I have a favorite prelude in E Major from WTC Book II. I’ve been fascinated by the effective use of the step interval in the broken chord that Bach uses a lot in the Allemande. For example in the B Major arpeggiated chord ending the first section, the notes in the right hand are b, c#, #d, f#, b, followed by f#, d#, f#, b. The c# does not belong the b major chord, but the extra step creates such a beautiful effect. This addition of a step in the skip pattern is also used in the WCT Book II E Major prelude. It makes me wonder if the passing tone used with the triads is what I really love about these pieces and not the "joyful" key of E Major.

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