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- Basso Ostinato: Passacaglias & Chaconnes
- in a transcription for piano by Fazıl Say (2005)
- Watch the Samuelsens turn Handel's Passacaglia into a crazy theme and variations - Classic FM
- A simple way to learn how to improvise on the Passacaglia
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Basso Ostinato: Passacaglias & Chaconnes
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in a transcription for piano by Fazıl Say (2005)
Director: Francis Annan. Added to Watchlist Add to Watchlist. Photos Add Image Add an image Do you have any images for this title? Edit Cast Credited cast: Drew Balch The ostinato, the repetitive bass line that forms the foundation of a passacaglia, is made up of eight bars, rather than the usual four. The work consists of twenty variations, rather than the usual five or six.
Watch the Samuelsens turn Handel's Passacaglia into a crazy theme and variations - Classic FM
And on top of its initial function, the bass line is then split up and treated as two separate themes that, accompanied by a third theme, form the material for an ingenious fugue. In , Bach paid an extended visit to Buxtehude, the man who undoubtedly had the greatest influence on his variation work, so it would be logical to conclude that Bach composed the Passacaglia shortly after returning from his journey.
This simplified notation was widely used in Northern Germany by the generation of organists that preceded Bach. It was also the notation method he had used for copying music while studying with Johann Christoph, with whom he lived between and This chorale arrangement, dated , was notated by the fifteen-year-old Bach in tablature and is a rare example of his copy work.
A complete collection of German organ work - which Bach copied in secret at night as a boy, according to biographer Forkel - was taken away from him and was lost.
A simple way to learn how to improvise on the Passacaglia
As luck would have it, there was actually an earlier passacaglia with an eight-bar ostinato and no fewer than 29 variations in existence. It was thus a small world, in which music was frequently copied. And could it have set him the challenge that often drove him to great achievements in his teenage years? It could, in any case, be an explanation for the resounding ending with which he closes his Passacaglia so triumphantly.