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What you will need to know

How to construct chords

Inversions
Numerals/chords Cadences

Key signatures
Related keys Techniques that are typical of Bach

How to construct chords

In a major and minor scale, 1 3 5 gives you the

root triad

Inversions
Different ways of playing the same chord Indicated in shorthand using either a, b or c

Root (a)
G E C The 1st is in the bass

1st Inversion 2nd (b) Inversion (c)


C G E The 3rd is in the bass E C G The fifth is in the bass

Inversions

Root (a)
G E C The 1st is in the bass

1st Inversion 2nd (b) Inversion (c)


C G E The 3rd is in the bass E C G The fifth is in the bass

Clefs
Chorales are written for four-part harmony

choirs on a SATB score which looks like this:


Treble clef typically female singers

Bass Clef male singers

Revision of the Bass Clef

G B C D E F

Numerals and Chords


Roman numerals are often used to indicate chords.

These are the most commonly used chords in Bach chorales

Numerals and Chords


So if we are in the key of C:
G E
C I

A F
D II

B G
E III

C A
F IV

D B
G V

E C
A VI

F D
B VII

G E
C VIII

It helps to write out a little grid like this each time

once youve identified the key(s) as it will guide you on what notes to use for your chords.

Cadences
Think of cadences as musical punctuation. They will either sound complete or incomplete. They consist of two chords and occur at the end of phrases. Phrases

are sometimes indicated using phrase marks:

Name

Chords involved

Explanation This is the full stop of cadences. It sounds finished and so it is often used to end a section of music. This cadence is essentially a comma. It sounds incomplete and therefore like more needs to follow.

Perfect Cadence

VI IV II V IV V Anything V

Imperfect Cadence

Plagal Often referred to as the Amen cadence due to its use in choral pieces on this word this cadence is also like a coma but sounds softer than the imperfect cadence.

IV I

Interrupted V - VI

This cadence is like a semi-colon, as the music has more to give before finally going to a perfect cadence. It quite literally interrupts a perfect cadence as the listener is expecting to hear chord I after the dominant but instead hears chord VI.

Typical Structures
Modulate to the relative minor or major

(depending on which you started on, ie. If you start in major modulate to the relative minor) Modulate to the dominant of the relative minor Modulate to the dominant Modulate to the dominant of the dominant, etc. Modulate to the subdominant
Tonic imperfect cadence Dominant perfect cadence Tonic perfect cadence

Relative minor perfect cadence

Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott, Chorale No. 292


Identify the tonic Identify the first cadence together as a class.

Identify the next three cadences in groups


Identify the last two cadences individually

Look at the keys used how they are related?

Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott, Chorale No. 292


This choral harmonically cadences in (phrase by phrase):
the tonic on the dominant (tonic key) the tonic in the minor dominant the relative major the tonic

Modulation

D C

How to modulate
Tonic Key (Eg. C major) C I F IV G V

Dominant Key (Eg. G major) G I D V G I

In the key of C: C D E F G A B C In the key of D: D E F# G A B C# D In the key of E: E F# G# A B C# D# E

3 up from the tonic if you are trying to get the relative

major

In E minor
Eg. A B C D E F# G A

G major

3 down from the tonic if you are trying to get the relative

minor In F Major Eg. G A B C D E

D minor

F G A Bb

Related keys

How to approach a chorale


Identify the key dont just assume its major, look for accidentals 2. Identify the implied cadences look at what is given in the exercise 3. Identify the chords you could write out a grid of all the chords in the scale to use as a reference point 4. Enter the bass line this will ensure your harmony doesnt make any unexpected leaps 5. Enter the tenor and alto parts to complete the chords 6. Add decoration look for logical places where you could suspend notes or add a passing note. Be careful you do not alter the harmony by doing this!
1.

Decorations
Contrary motion two melodic lines moving in opposite directions

Passing notes
Passing notes unessential notes between notes essential to the harmony. They are often in step Not usually accented in Bach chorales Sometimes they appear in parallel 3rds and 6ths

Suspensions
These are when you suspend (hold) a note causing a dissonance,

in the harmony that follows, that needs to be resolved by the note afterwards
suspended note (which will appear repeated) can either be tied or

sounded.
Suspensions typically occur when the melody line, usually the

soprano part, falls by a step.

Suspensions II
Suspensions can also occur in the alto and the

tenor part:

Auxiliary notes
Auxiliary notes are unessential notes to the harmony

that move stepwise either up or down between two essential harmony notes, often the same note.
They are like passing notes but always go either up

one step or down one step. Here is an upper auxiliary note: