Post by fshep
Hi Andrew - interesting about the name change. What would that indicate
about how Bach wanted the piece played? I also gather he was strongly
influenced by Spanish music when he wrote it, basing the rhythm on a
sarabande. Perhaps that's why it works so well on guitar.
Bach was influenced by Aztec music!
Seriously, the Sarabande and other forms originated with the Aztecs,
were brought to Europe by the Spanish. The sarabande was originally
used as a dance for fertility rites, no wonder Bach was drawn to it!
One of my college professors once said there were 4 dominant music
styles in the late Baroque period: the Italian style, the French style,
a mixture of the two which is what most composers did, and the most
dominant style, the BACH style!
There are others on this list that can go into more detail than I can
about this topic, Stanley and Sarn to name two, but I will tell in
short what my professor taught us. The Italian style is more direct,
more virtuosic, more "heart on the sleeve". The French is more
introspective, more subtle, more sophisticated. Think Vivaldi and
You can hear all of these elements in the Ciaccona, but there is a
directness and certainly a virtuosity in it, and the whole Partita,
that leans toward the Italian style, and therefore would be why Bach
wrote a Ciaccona, not a Chaconne. It helps to be aware of this when
you play the piece. And the "heart on the sleeve"; it is a piece
thought by many to be a memorial to his first wife, she died of illness
at a young age.
Also, Bach was very partial to Italian music, after all Vivaldi's music
was one of his most important models and inspirations. He sometimes
even signed his name Giovanni Sebastiani Bach!
The bottom line is, he called it a Ciaccona, not Chaconne, and he knew