domenica 8 febbraio 2015

The learning of a Bach Chorale, phrase by phrase

BWV 147We can learn to sing a Bach Chorale with a simple teaching aid prepared for the purpose. It is not just for beginners, both for the high quality of the author, and for the need to use the German text (translations are not advisable). However, we choose the famous Choral "Jesus bleibet meine Freude" BWV 147, which is certainly not among the most difficult.

An audio file can be prepared by live performances at the keyboard: an electronic organ or piano. The choice of the piano is preferable because the piano produces more effectively the musical phrasing, by means of changes of dynamic and accentuations; however presents the disadvantage of not reproduce the human voice and the words of the text. 

To overcome this problem, many choirs use other methods of study: the most used is the realization of the parts in MIDI format. This technique undoubtedly presents some advantages: first, allows singers to listen to the single part, but also the part inserted inside the polyphony; furthermore, using a new technologically advanced system, you can hear even the words of the text, always made with the procedure of electronic processing.

Our perplexity, regarding the use of the MIDI, consists of the mechanicalness unmusical effect, which excludes not only the dynamic and accentuations, but even the breaths and the natural mobility of tempo. Even the execution of the text may have problems of accentuation and pronunciation. The ongoing technical development are trying to adapt the mechanical means even in the face of these problems, however, we are still far from a result that can be considered similar to that of a human performance.

I therefore propose the audio files teaching performed live. I introduce first of all the reading of the text:

Jesus bleibet meine Freude,
Meines Herzens Trost und Saft,
Jesus wehret allem Leide,
Er ist meines Lebens Kraft,
Meiner Augen Lust und Sonne,
Meiner Seele Schatz und Wonne;
Darum lass ich Jesum nicht
Aus dem Herzen und Gesicht.

 (translation)

Jesus remains my joy,

the comfort and life's blood of my heart,
Jesus defends me against all sorrows,
he is my life's strength,
the delight and sun of my eyes
my soul's treasure and joy;

Of my soul the joy and treasure;
therefore I shall not let Jesus go
from my heart and sight.


The musical part:
Jesus bleibet meine Freude

Here is the rhythmic reading of the text. Listen: Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, lettura ritmica

In audio files dedicated to individual sections, I propose the rhythmic reading of each phrase, followed by listening to music, every phrase proposes the immediate repetition of the musical line. Listen: Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, soprani

For the altos, to accustom the ear is also expected to listen to their part together with that of the sopranos, who in the live performance often deceives the singer less experienced. Listen:  Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, contralti
  
Listen now part of the tenors: Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, tenori

And finally the bass part; also this provides the end listening along with the part of the tenors. Listen to the bass part: Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, bassi

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