The Interpretation of the Tempo for Violin Dance Music by J. S. Bach: From the Perspective of Historically-Informed Performances

Chang, Y.-L. and Chen, C.-H.N. (2021) The Interpretation of the Tempo for Violin Dance Music by J. S. Bach: From the Perspective of Historically-Informed Performances. Journal of Music Research, 35. pp. 1-35. ISSN 20798857, DOI

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Tempo, one of the most critical elements contributing to musical texture, gives a composition its life, soul, and power. Given the fact that most music scores before the 18th century do not have clear tempo markings or bear no indication at all, it does not mean that composers did not presuppose an ideal tempo for the performance of their musical works. Instead, the interpretation for the tempo of musical works more or less relied on a commonly accepted convention which was unsaid but applied for music composed prior to the 18th century. This article investigates the interpretation of the solo violin dance music by Johann Sebastian Bach based upon their tempo markings, meter, style and historic background from the perspective of historically-informed performances. Based upon the analysis of selected performances, the authors conclude that there is no “correct answer” to the question about the tempo for these dance pieces. Musicians today can properly decide the tempo of a piece only after they have revisited similar works from the same era while at the same time consider changes materialized during the transitional passage from the mensural notation to the modern metrical system at the juncture of 17th and 18th centuries. On top of this, musicians should focus on bringing out the authentic style by attending to the true spirit and taste of the time in order that they can present a bona fide performance. © 2021, National Taiwan Normal University-College of Music. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Funders: None
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dance music; Istorically-informed performance; Meter; Solo violin works by J. S. Bach;
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Faculty of Creative Arts (formerly known as the Cultural Centre) > Music Department
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2023 14:01
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2023 14:01

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