Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto No. 4 In G Major

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This essay will draw attention to the relationship between the political and social circumstances surrounding the creation and performance of J.S Bach’s Concerto no.4 in G major (Brandenburg). Other factors such as how improved technology (instrumental and print), at that point of time, changed the way that music was created, transmitted and performed will also be discussed.

Johann Sebastian Bach (J.S Bach) was born on March 31st, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany to a prominent musical family. His father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, the director of town musicians, taught him to play the violin and harpsichord whilst his uncle, Johann Christoph Bach, introduced him to the organ. Bach held a few notable musical posts over his lifetime in different parts of
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Playing the solo parts are the concertino consisting of solo violin and two fiauti d'echo. Playing the tutti parts are the ripieno consisting of first and second violins, viola, cello, violone and harpsichord. It is interesting to note that the etymology of ripieno in Italian is ri = again, pieno = full, which leads us to ripieno = supplementary. This more of less summarises the role of the tutti parts, which is to sort of ‘fill in the gaps’ in between the solo parts. This is especially observable in Andante, the second movement, of the concerto.

There has been some controversy over the meaning of ‘fiauti d’echo’ (echo flutes) which Bach wrote in his original manuscript. One possibility is that ‘fiauti d’echo’ refers to a specific instrument that was used in the 18th century. Dart (1960) argues that ‘fiauti d’echo’ could possibly refer to the flageolet as it was popular during the first 20 years of the 18th century. He also assumed that bird flageolets in G sounding an octave higher than written it would eliminate problems of balance in the orchestra and “add brilliant high entries to the fugue” (Dart,

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