“The Ensemble of Performers” in the Textures of Clavier Compositions by J.S. Bach

Keywords: musical dialogues, suites for clavier by J.S. Bach, intertextual interactions, intonational formulas, plotlines of “music within music”.


The musical text of any of Johann Sebastian
Bach’s works for clavier contains numerous
artistic signs, semantic figures and expressive
elements. Some of them bear within themselves
significations of diverse nuances of meaning
and feelings through recreation of the scenes
of music-making. Upon the definition
of the semantic equivalent they align
themselves into concrete plotline situations.
The intonational formulas, the vertical
and horizontal structures-dialogues,
the acoustic images of musical instruments
(including the human voice) imprinted
in the musical texts of a composition —
all of these semantic “characters”
and “protagonists” designed to express
the spirit of time, omnipresent,
old and eternally new.
The acoustic images in the structure
of the musical texts may be extremely different:
in the guises of duos, trios, baroque models
with the participation of solo, basso continuo
and tutti parts in their various alternations
and combinations. The musical materials
of suites and partitas are used in the article
to trace the intertextual migration of typified
models of “migrating” images with
the unfolding of the plotlines of “music
within music.”
Typified dialogic structures are disclosed
in the texture of the musical composition,
and upon deciphering they become conducive
towards a competent expressive articulation.

The Art of Music