Motivic Continuity in the Instrumental Suites, Sonatas, and Partitas of J. S. Bach

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This article explores J. S. Bach’s use of motives as a means to create unity in his large-scale instrumental works. Using the G-Major Suite for Cello, BWV 1007, as a case study, it traces how Bach takes simple elements and expands them to create a multimovement dance suite. To support its arguments, the article considers other solo instrumental compositions by Bach for keyboard and violin. By looking at motive as a way to unify multiple movements, performers of Bach’s music can modify their interpretations in order to illuminate motivic connections.

Vincent Benitez

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Last modified on Tuesday, 09/03/2021

Josquin Larsen

Josquin Larsen, violist, is active as a soloist, and chamber and orchestral musician throughout the United States and abroad. He is on the music faculty at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

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