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Vaughan Williams on Music$
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David Manning

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.001.0001

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Gordon Jacob, Passacaglia on a Well-Known Theme

Gordon Jacob, Passacaglia on a Well-Known Theme

Chapter:
(p.413) Chapter 99 Gordon Jacob, Passacaglia on a Well-Known Theme
Source:
Vaughan Williams on Music
Author(s):

David Manning

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.003.0100

The musical form known as “passacaglia,” which is first cousin to the “chaconne” and “ground” of Henry Purcell, has always been a favorite device with composers. The violin chaconne and the organ passacaglia of Johann Sebastian Bach are well known. The Variations in C minor of Ludwig van Beethoven and the Finale of Johannes Brahms' Fourth Symphony are also in the passacaglia form, though not so called. The device consists in a melodic or rhythmical pattern that persists without interruption throughout the piece, usually in the bass, surrounded by simple or complex figuration as the composer desires. The “well-known” theme on which Gordon Jacob founds his passacaglia is the tune “Oranges and Lemons,” whose bell-like character is well suited to contrapuntal treatment.

Keywords:   musical form, passacaglia, Johann Sebastian Bach, C minor, Ludwig van Beethoven, Gordon Jacob, Oranges and Lemons, contrapuntal treatment

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