J. S. Bach Ricercar Essay

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Special Topic #4: J. S. Bach Ricercar This piece of music, The Musical Offering, is a set of pieces composed by J. S. Bach in 1747. King Frederick II of Prussia challenged J. S. Bach to improvise a six-voice fugue on the theme of “Regis Iussu Cantio Et Reliqua Canonica Arte Resoluta", and so he did. The first letters of each word of the theme spell out the word “Ricercar”, which was a well-known genre of that time. Throughout this piece, J.S. Bach uses many of the basic elements of music to all work together to create the shape, along with the dramatic flow of this piece. The first element is instrumentation. The instrumentation of this piece is produced by the harpsichord. Much like the piano, the harpsichord is a keyboard, expect the keys are plucked instead of hammered. The plucking produces the timbre of a sharp,…show more content…
Also, the volume remains mostly constant throughout this piece. Another element presented is the rhythm. The rhythm of “Ricercar” consists of a moderate tempo which also is rubato in many areas. There are many rhythmic activities occurring, the amount of activities variate throughout this piece. A third element is the melody. The melody plays a major part in the dramatic flow. It displays a lighthearted, yet mysterious mood. Also, the melody is conjunct. The high-pitched element of the melody creates the rise in tension in the dramatic flow. Also, when the melody scales down, it presents the release. Another element of music used in the harmony. Just opposite of the melody, the harmony is low pitched and dissonant. This creates the rise in tension as well. The harmony is a major key, with modulation to a minor key. Again, the change in keys also is responsible for recognizing the tension and release throughout this piece. The element of texture also plays a big role in creating the dramatic flow. The texture of this piece is a very thick texture with areas that present a thin texture. The
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