The two genres followed rather different courses in Germany and in France. The German organists created a tradition of majestic ground-bass compositions that were given shape and cohesion by increasingly brilliant figurations. Lully's grandiose instrumental and vocal production numbers continued to be emulated in the eighteenth century by Rameau and Gluck, and Mozart still includes an orchestral chaconne in the ballet for Idomeneo , which is altogether innocent of the German variation tradition.
Often the passacalles are in duple time, note 34 suggesting roots that predate the Italian appropriation and redefinition of the genres. In the first suite of Les Nations , note 35 a collection of chamber music from , there is a piece entitled "Chaconne ou Passacaille. But why then did he include in the second and third suites of Les Nations respectively a passacaille and a chaconne , note 37 the former suitably in minor and marked noblement , the second in major with a bass strongly reminiscent of the old ciaccona formulas?
He starts clearly enough in chaconne character: short two-bar phrases and a bass that moves immediately to V, but there is a second section in minor, which commences with a four-bar descending tetrachord. Whether or not my explanation of the title is the right one at this point it seems as good as any , Couperin's exciting composition is a worthy apotheosis of the two genres, recapturing the high spirits that accompanied them during their early days.
Vida vida; vida bona; vida bamanos a chacona! He is currently working on a book on the beginnings and early history of keyboard music notation. Return to text. The author is working on a larger study of the passacaglia passacaille and the ciaccona chaconne , and welcomes comments and information on the subject. He hopes to incorporate results of this work in his "Chaconne" and "Passacaglia" articles for the revised edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and in a detailed study of Frescobaldi's Cento partite sopra passacagli.
A classic example of such an attempt--if not ultimately successful--is the wide-ranging and still useful survey by Kurt von Fischer: "Chaconne und Passacaglia: ein Versuch," Revue belge de musicologie , 12 : Hudson concerned himself with the two genres in several other important studies; particularly valuable is Hudson's study cited in the previous note, which includes a comprehensive anthology of each, covering their history to the middle of the eighteenth century.
I shall refer to items in vol. Hudson, "Further Remarks," especially pp. Example 5 in Hudson, "Further Remarks" shows six forms for the passacaglia, three forms for the ciaccona, and three "neutral" forms which could serve either type p. See also Hudson, The Folia , 3: xiv-xxxi and 4: xiv-xxix.
Girolamo Frescobaldi, Il secondo libro di toccate Rome: Borbone, , 87, 88; mod. By "high art-music tradition" I mean at least for this period the tradition in which musical compositions are preserved and disseminated in the form of carefully notated scores. Respectively in Toccate e partite Florence: Landini, , 1: 17, 2: 16; and Canzoni da sonare Rome: Vincenti, , 53, Whether in the seventeenth century unnotated nuances of performance contributed to the distinction, will have to remain a matter of speculation.
Girolamo Frescobaldi, Toccate d'intavolatura.. Etienne Darbellay, Monumenti musicali italiani, 4 Milan: Suvini Zerboni, , 89 and respectively. I shall use "cycle" to refer to an individual variation or unit, and "set" for the entire piece. Tim Carter drew my attention to the role of these suspensions in avoiding parallels when the bass descends by steps, as in m. At the beginning of the ciaccona, where the bass descends by fourths followed by ascents by steps, such suspensions are not necessary, but they appear in m.
COUPERIN, F.: Suites for Harpsichord Nos. 6, 8 & 11
Clearly there is a close connection between the character of the bass line and that of the contrapuntal texture. Frescobaldi, Toccate Such a study might also take account of the passacaglias and ciacconas during the preparatory, pre-publication stages of the Aggiunta , about which thanks to Etienne Darbellay's work we are now fairly well informed; see his Le toccate e i capricci di Girolamo Frescobaldi: Genesi delle edizioni e apparato critico, Girolamo Frescobaldi , Opere complete, suppl.
That Frescobaldi regarded the association of the passacaglia with minor and the association of the ciaccona with major as the norm is evident from the way each begins and ends in their appearances in the and publications, as well as from their initial appearances in the Cento Partite. Later composers, too, when presenting an example of each in the same context e.
François Couperin: Pièces de clavecin: Book 2: Ordre 8 in B Minor – Passacaille in B Minor
As with Frescobaldi, this distinction never precluded internal excursions to the other mode, which in France became almost the rule. In its final version, the B-flat major passacaglia consists of fourteen cycles in B flat followed by five cycles, marked "altro tuono," in G minor; according to Darbellay the G-minor portion was a later addition, and originally formed part of an early version of the Cento Partite; see Darbellay, Le toccate e i capricci , Frescobaldi, Toccate , 74 and Opere complete , 2: 96 Return to text.
Frescobaldi, Opere complete , 2: , mm.
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The editions of the two books of toccatas received unusually wide circulation, and copies still survive in many parts of the world. Of Bernardo Pasquini, for example, only passacaglias survive among the keyboard works, and of Pachelbel only ciacconas. Instances of a composer's changing the designation when recycling a piece are very rare and, in any case, could mean that the composer changed his mind about which term was more appropriate rather than that he was indifferent.
Slower tempo for the passacaglia is sometimes suggested by a meter based on larger note values e. The scarcity of German examples may in part derive from the fact that most seventeenth-century keyboard music from that region survives in manuscript anthologies rather than in printed, composer-prepared collections. Johann Mattheson, writing somewhat retrospectively as well as disparagingly about the " Ciacona, Chaconne , with its brother, or its sister, the Passagaglio , or Passecaille ," claims that the passacaglia ought to go faster than the ciaccona "and not the other way around" , because, he asserts, it is only used for dancing!
Harriss [Studies in Musicology, no. A nice example of the latter can be heard in Act I, Scene 6 of Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea , when Valletto warns Ottavia that Seneca's pompous advice is nothing but songs; as he holds the final syllable of "canzoni," the continuo bass quickly plays twice through the ciaccona bass in Monteverdi's favorite, "Zefiro" version. Ossi, " L'armonia raddoppia , A few modest examples of this format also show up in late seventeenth-century Italy; see for example the Passacallo by Bartolomeo Laurenti, HP Johann Helmich Roman Thomas Tallis c.
Giovanni Maria Trabaci c. Antonio Vivaldi , Violin Concerto 5 in c Op. George Philipp Telemann. Henrico Albicastro. Thomas Crecquillon v. Domenico Scarlatti , Sonata in G K.
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Henrico Albicastro c , Concerto a 4 in D op. Chiara Margarita Cozzolani c. Francesco Bonporti , Serenata 8 in F Op. Felice Giardini , Quartet in Bb op. Giuseppe Brescianello c. James Paisible c.
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www.cantinesanpancrazio.it/components/ramehabuw/858-come-verificare.php William McGibbon c. The Balcarres Lute Book 17th c. Fluency and grace in movement were stressed, all to be accomplished with ease. Of course all of that is related to the dance, which was considered part of a general education, especially among the nobility. Louis XIV was an excellent dancer and is said to have practised the courante for several hours a day in his youth. France led the way with dance music, contributing more to the history of music in the seventeenth century in that domain than in any other.
The two—music and dance—were virtually inseparable, with gesture taking precedence over thematic discourse. Couperin wrote pieces for the harpsichord. Of those, were published in his four books of harpsichord pieces, grouped into 27 Ordres. Rather than using the more conventional name of suite with its implied sequence of dances, the title ordre gave him more freedom in arranging the movements.
In the first book Ordres 1 to 5 , published in when Couperin was already forty-five, he was no doubt collecting a lot of previously composed material, as the number of movements reaches a record twenty-four in the second Ordre. You want order? Already, though, with the publication of his second book in , we have a new sense of unity that then remains to the end. No autograph manuscripts of any of the four books survive, although we are in possession of the original printed versions that were corrected by Couperin himself.
The structure of the individual pieces falls roughly into three categories: the binary movement with two sections each repeated and sometimes adding an extra repeat of the very last phrase ; the rondeau a recurring refrain interspersed with episodes; 43 of the pieces are in this form ; and the chaconne, along with its close relative the passacaille again a refrain or recurring set of harmonies upon which variations are based.
In the preface to his first book of pieces, he wrote:. Two and a half centuries later we are still perplexed by many of these titles. The next thing we are struck by is the huge number of ornaments and unusual signs in his pieces.
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This is probably enough to put a lot of people off playing it from the start. Leaving them out is not an option! Again it is all related to gesture: ornamentation is there for an expressive purpose, to emphasize one note, to make you wait for another. It is all part of the melodic line and flow. Couperin felt this very keenly and was most explicit with his markings. Still in despair at what he was hearing, he wrote in the preface to his third book of pieces :. Indeed it takes a great deal of time and patience for it to become second nature.
This aspect of his work has not always been well understood. An ornament badly played is like a smile in a toothless mouth. Having initially read through all pieces, I chose those which I felt translated the best to the modern piano, and which I found the most interesting. This was the first time he used the same key throughout, and that alone gives this ordre a sense of unity that is lacking in many of the others. It is one of the most successful in concert performance as it has all the necessary ingredients to make a satisfying whole.
In the third couplet, which moves up the keyboard, the melody is presented in thirds to provide a charming effect.
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The ornamentation is rich but not unnecessary: every note speaks and has a role to play. Wilfrid Mellers, who wrote the first English biography of Couperin in , remarks on the closeness of such a melodic line to the French language, which I believe is very true. This is certainly one piece where that is needed.
Here we are more reminded of Bach in his use of imitation and harmonic progressions. The title is indeed a mystery and Couperin left no clues. Everything is spread out, yet we hear each individual line clearly. That is easier said than done, as anyone who has attempted to play this piece knows well. It has a slightly hypnotic effect, no doubt due to the recurring theme and the sounds emanating from the lower register. Again in rondeau form, it has a musette imitating the drone of a bagpipe as the second couplet. This calm evocation of nature must have made an impression on J S Bach as he copied it into the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach , his second wife.
It is thought that Bach and Couperin at one time corresponded they certainly never met, as both of them stayed in a relatively small area all their lives , but evidently their letters ended up as jam-pot covers or so the story goes! She certainly gets very insistent by the end! With wit, he portrays this annoying insect turning in circles and buzzing around, really making a nuisance of himself in a passage with left-hand trills. It brings this charming, good-natured ordre to a perfect conclusion. Three of the pieces are in F minor; three in F major. We are not sure who this particular Verneuil was—there were several of them around at court.
In this Third Book, Couperin introduced a new sign which looks like an apostrophe and which he explained thus:. That, of course, is one of the basic rules of musicianship, but it is still necessary to say it to students almost three centuries later! Lengthening the dotted notes a Baroque performance practice is necessary to give the right swing to the rhythm. On a two-manual harpsichord this is no problem. With only one, this particular piece becomes impossible. So Couperin advised putting either the left hand down an octave or the right hand up.
I chose to do the latter. The effect is different, of course, but is still effective. The title is slightly baffling: obviously onomatopoeic for the first half, but Les Maillotins? Rosalyn Tureck says it has to do with a name given to a band of revolutionaries who rebelled against the re-imposition of taxes in , after the death of Charles V. They carried mallets, hence their name Les Maillotins.
Clark and Connon again come up with something different: a famous family of rope-dancers called Maillot who performed at the Foire Saint Germain. For sure the piece is another rondeau with three couplets and a witty coda tacked on to the end. It is also a bit of a finger-twister. Its comic nature is emphasized by the plentiful use of ornaments that must be executed very quickly and clearly. It is written entirely in the key of B minor—a solemn, majestic, solitary key which was unusual for the time.
The chromaticisms in the second section are remarkable for their intensity and expressiveness. Another allemande follows, but this one is completely different in mood. Again telling us to play lightly, Couperin charms us with this steadily-moving dance played, for the most part, in the lower part of the keyboard.
Related Pièces de clavecin 8th ordre, Passacaille - Harpsichord
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