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Cello Lessons: Separating Melodic Voices from Bass Voices

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[MUSIC]
The defining characteristic of Baroque
music, of Bach's music, and
of this piece in particular,
is this idea of polyphony,
that there's multiple voices
happening at the same time.
So a big part of our job,
as an interpreter of the Bach Courante,
is to separate these voices, and
show the listener where the melody is,
and let the bass notes
kind of accompany that.
What I would advise against,
is kind of playing every note
equally, like this
[MUSIC].
I want to point out what I
see as the melodic voice,
I see this as the melody [SOUND]
[MUSIC]
I think that's the melody in this piece.
And then the bass notes
are [SOUND]
[MUSIC].
And so, if you start to hear
these two different voices,
as like a conversation that happens, it's
almost like you are your own cello duo.
And you wanna be able to
use articulations, and
maybe volume even, and even timing.
You wanna use all of our musical tools,
in order to make these two
voices sound like different characters,
as part of a conversation.
[MUSIC]
I'm kind
of, stiffly,
trying to show you
these two voices.
The other important thing
about separating these voices,
is that Bach's music is harmonic music.
okay?
So the bass notes, in particular,
are going to show us what
the harmony is doing.
If you can bring out
the connection of the base notes,
it's gonna show us the phrasing
that Bach had in mind.
The opening chords are [SOUND]
[MUSIC]
So the first phrase,
the harmony,
is [SOUND]
[MUSIC].
Tracking these harmonic progressions,
can help define the phrase
links in Bach's music.
And I want you to go through this piece,
and
I'll even demonstrate in my sheet music.
I'll put little parenthesis around some
of the bass notes to indicate that it's
a separate voice from the melodic voice.
I'll do that for
the A section in the music, and
then I'll want you to do the same
process in the B section.
And that way we'll have
this musical conversation
going on through the whole piece.
And when you identify the bass notes,
that's gonna help us a lot in our next
lesson, when we talk about Bach's harmony.
[MUSIC]