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Look Inside Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint

Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint


Part of New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism

  • Date Published: November 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521803465

£ 77.00

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About the Authors
  • In Bach's Germany musical counterpoint was an art involving much more than the sophisticated use of advanced compositional techniques. A range of theological, cultural, social and political meanings attached themselves to the use of complex procedures such as canon and double counterpoint. This book explores the significance of Bach's counterpoint in a range of interrelated contexts: its use as a means of reflecting on death; its parallels to alchemy; its vexed status in the galant music culture of the first half of the eighteenth century; its value as a representation of political power; and its central importance in the creation of Bach's image in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Touching on a wide array of contemporary literary, philosophical, critical, and musical texts, the book includes new readings of many of Bach's late works in order to re-evaluate the status and meaning of counterpoint in Bach's work and legacy.

    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… this is a book with spaces for thought, infused with a sense of excitement about the material. it is probably the most important monograph on counterpoint in the eighteenth century to have appeared since Warren Kirkendale's tirelessly detailed Fugue and Fugato in Rococo and Classical Chamber Music.' Eighteenth-Century Music

    Review of the hardback: '… the concept behind the book, its thorough and scholarly execution, and the high intellectual level of the writing, all make it an indispensable study for students of Bach's late published works.' Early Music

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2002
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521803465
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • contains: 31 b/w illus. 65 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Vor deinen Thron and the art of dying
    2. The alchemy of Bach's Canons
    3. Bach's taste for pork and canary
    4. The autocratic regimes of A Musical Offering
    5. Bach the machine
    6. Physiognomies of Bach's counterpoint.

  • Author

    David Yearsley, Cornell University, New York
    David Yearsley is an assistant professor at Cornell University. His scholarly work has appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Early Music, Music & Letters, and the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music.

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