Compendium of all comments to Bach Chorales on These comments were entered by users on when these scores were resident there. Note that not all chorales have comments. No facility for further comment is offered here.

Title links, including headers for chorales, are to the corresponding playing scores on

2. Ach Gott, erhör' mein Seufzen!     BWV 254

BSG at May 9, 2016

The 6-4, or 6-4-2 maybe, on the downbeat of 8 is pretty astounding (although it must be a suspension of the bass a the end of 7) in its appearance and treatment.

SDG at May 9, 2016

yes, astounding indeed. I only knew a version where they sang in unison, in one voice.. so I was very curious how the rest would sound.. and I love it.

3. Ach Gott und Herr     BWV 255

BSG at Mar 2, 2018

Note that the first line ("Ach, Gott und Herr") is both the retrograde and inversion of the second ("wie groß und schwer"), thus ideal material for canon and other contrapuntal artifice in elaborated settings of this chorale.

4. Ach Gott und Herr (Soll's ja so sein)     BWV 48.3

BSG at Mar 23, 2017

See for a detailed analysis of this extraordinary setting.

5. Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh' darein (Schau', lieber Gott)     BWV 153.1

BSG at Mar 1, 2018

Perhaps the most famous chorale prelude on this tune is the octave Duet of the Two Armored Men from Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte" (The Magic Flute), a clear tribute to Bach in Mozart's last year.

BSG at Mar 1, 2018

It's hard to tell if this chorale (melody) is in B Phrygian or A Dorian. In fact, alternate hymn lines give alternating answers. The first and last are in B Phrygian (of course, set in "Bach Chromatic", not "Modal Phrygian" language, as is his custom).

7. Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh' darein     BWV 2.6

BSG at Jul 30, 2018

Diminished fifth to perfect fifth soprano/tenor measure 3 beats 1 & 2, for doubters ...

BSG at Mar 1, 2018

How crazy wild is Bach's art of wrangling old modal chorales with crazy new-fangled chromatic stuff! M. 3 in particular! Note that the canti of "und laß sich dess'" and "er-bar---men" are identical.

8. Ach Gott wie manches Herzeleid     BWV 3.6

BSG at Mar 22, 2017

Check out BWV 118 ("O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht usw.") for an otherworldly chromaitc harmonization of this tune, last line esp.

10. Ach, was soll ich Sünder machen     BWV 259

BSG at Feb 6, 2018

Yup, BA 39, #7; I checked. Otherwise, I wouldn't believe the diminished 4th in the tenor in m. 8!

11. Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig     BWV 26.6

BSG at Mar 15, 2018

Note the parallel 5ths (S/T) in the anticipation figure in m.4. He does this often with this figure. The direct 5th in the T/B last 2 chords is pretty non-Fuxian, too. Middle of 6, 8, and 10 (S/A) — marginal ...

BSG at Mar 15, 2018

Ein Leben neben Nebel? Nie!

SDG at Mar 15, 2018

That's a wonderful palindrome!

13. Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr' (Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt)     BWV 104.6

BSG at Mar 15, 2018

"Taille" means an oboe-like colla parte instrument (e.g., ob. da caccia) on the tenor part breaking from "colla parte" for the little notes. Not much reasonable you can do with it in this context.

BSG at Mar 15, 2018

The "alto third drop" with a passing tone (m. 4) is exceedingly rare!

14. Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr' (Gutes und die Barmherzigkeit folgen mir)     BWV 112.5

BSG at Mar 16, 2018

This is a really interesting style -- the number of "independent voices" varies from measure to measure. The interaction of the alto, tenor, and oboe in 7 is the most telling/eyebrow-raising in this regard.

15. Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ     BWV 261

BSG at Feb 27, 2018

The counterpoint here is fluid and dextrous beyond belief; the last eighth of m. 5 sounds an alto passing tone in the midst of an arpeggiation of F#7 -- on that eighth, a full C#m chord sounds briefly, but absolutely unrecognizably in context.

16. Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (Ehr' sei Gott in dem höchsten Thron)     BWV 33.6

BSG at Mar 29, 2018

The 6-4-2 on "in" at the downbeat of 14, subverting the natural progression of the leading tone (B) to double the fifth and not the root in the obligatory 6-3 ("die-") which follows, raises eyebrows. Both are "worse" (IMHO) than a possible "direct octave" from the tenor voice into C, something that rarely bothers Bach.

BSG at Mar 29, 2018

Note also the consecutive fifths by contrary motion at "Gei-ste" in m. 9 (S/T). Most authors forbid this, but Bach (elsewhere, too), is not as rigid (ditto octaves by contrary motion).

BSG at Mar 29, 2018

The [6]-[7]-[8] (scale degrees) bass at "da" and "wir" (mm. 11-12) sounding against their own targets at the octave (G and E respectively), instead of doubled at the third or tenth or fully harmonized as 6-5 on the second eighth, are kind of unusual/suboptimal, too. Compare Als der gütige Gott , m. 8, beat 2, for the usual way.

BSG at Mar 29, 2018

There is a parallel perfect fifth at the barline of m. 6 between tenor and soprano ("-ler Gü-"). The B in the soprano is "inessential" to the harmony (the soprano C is essentially the preparation of the minor seventh on "Gü-(te)"), but essential to the melody, and the fifth occurs at the detail (eighth-note) level and should have been "remedied" at the eighth-note level. I have verified it against the NBA edition and a manuscript facsimile. Bach errs/"missed it".

20. Als der gütige Gott     BWV 264

BSG at Mar 29, 2018

From the man who brought you (the original) "Christus, der uns selig macht."
Compare the standard handling of the bass [6][7][8] gesture here in m. 8, second beat, with the highly irregular handling in Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (Ehr' sei Gott in dem höchsten Thron) , m. 11/12 ...

21. Als Jesus Christus in der Nacht     BWV 265

BSG at Mar 29, 2018

The very unexpected Lydian/Dorian B natural on the downbeat of 3 wakes up the ear, but m6 is the most wonderful, with its jazzy syncopated bass and cool cross-relation from the so-modal E minor in D "minor" (viz., Dorian) to the dim7 ("Heil ... war"), a typical JSB "both worlds" (modal/modern) gesture!

23. An Wasserflüssen Babylon     BWV 267

BSG at Mar 30, 2018

This chorale is that upon which JSB improvised for Reincken in Hamburg in 1720, prompting the nonagenarian Dutch-born master to remark, "I thought that this art was dead, but I see that it lives in you."

24. Auf, auf, mein Herz, und du mein ganzer Sinn     BWV 268

BSG at Mar 30, 2018

The lower-neighbor alternations in mm. 0 and 2 (both leading-tones) against the alternated note sounding in another voice are forbidden by some strict rule-sets (let your ear be the judge). mm. 9-10 are really "motet/cantata style", and not "chorale-style" writing at all (only the lined-up text keeps it from being a "chorale-based movement").

26. Auf meinen lieben Gott (Wo soll ich fliehen hin)     BWV 89.6

BSG at Mar 30, 2018

The tenor run up to Eb4 followed by a dim5 leap down at the end of m. 1 ("-hen") is peculiar, and may be word-painting ("to Eb!"). The obvious choice for the tenor in this progression, G3, is taken at "mein" in m. 10. The leading-tone-to-mediant cadence formula at "finden" is also a bit noteworthy.

27. Auf meinen lieben Gott (Dein Blut, der edle Saft)     BWV 136.6

BSG at Apr 3, 2018

This is another (see example of a chorale augmented with a true obbligato creating a texture of more than four independent parts. "Obbligato" means "not optional": You can't dispense with the violin part and "just sing the four choral parts", lest you sing key chords missing thirds (e.g., mm. 11-12). See the extensive remarks on this technique at that URL. Here, though, the violin seemingly has no "agenda" beyond "keep things moving in eighth notes, and contribute" (and the pressure of 5 voices to compromise is considerably less that that of 7).

28. Auf meinen lieben Gott (Führ' auch mein Herz und Sinn)     BWV 5.7

BSG at Apr 3, 2018

The first three beats of m.12 should be studied carefully by anyone striving to master this style. Each of the four lines is moving wholly in steps, and in a single direction each, S/T downward in parallel tenths, A/B contrarily upward in parallel tenths, all moving from i(6-3, gm) to VI (Eb) via two singularly powerful chords born of the "ascending form of the minor scale" seen in the alto. The wholly unusual "modal" (Dorian) a minor on the first half of the second beat, interfacing the gm to the D7 is the heart of its beauty. Note how it just flows from contrapuntal necessity like water in a mountain brook, as it were, yet that fits the harmonic need like glove. And it sounds incontestably "Bachy".

Cf. the amazing (reminiscent) "Sei nun wieder zufrieden", BWV 21.9 , rife with such patterns.

30. Aus meines Herzens Grunde     BWV 269

BSG at Mar 4, 2018

The 5-2 bass suspension at m. 20 ("dein' ein-") is highly unusual in JSB's 4-voice chorale style. Only a little less so the alto 7 over mediant at m. 13 ("Preis").

31. Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir     BWV 38.6

BSG at Feb 10, 2018

Christoph Wolff noted that this is the only movement in Bach (or almost anywhere else) that starts with a 6-4-2 chord. The chorale is (famously) in the Phrygian mode, sharing the "G minor hack" at the end with "Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden", the last setting of the equally Phrygian "Herzlich thut mich Verlangen" in the Matthäuspassion.

32. Befiehl du deine Wege     BWV 272

BSG at Aug 30, 2018

There is a full "German" Augmented sixth chord on the second eighth of 11, resolved without the "Mozart parallel fifths" (to i 6-4, not V).

BSG at Mar 6, 2018

The pedal-point chord (7-4-2) on WOL-ken is foreign to this (chorale) style. The augmented sixth in 11 is fairly rare, too, but there is a great one in "Was ist die Ursach aller solcher Plagen?" in the St.MP.

cadams at Mar 22, 2017

Thank you for these. Always a joy. As a matter of interest, would the bass really have gone down to that C in this particular one?

SDG at Mar 22, 2017

.. maybe if there was a basso profondo at hand.. probably not :)
(I hesitated about it, but I wanted it to stay original..)

BSG at Mar 22, 2017

This hymn is most familiar to Bach lovers to the melody "Herzlich thut mich Verlangen", as in the Matthäuspassion.

SDG at Mar 22, 2017

yes, indeed, but I had that melody already (O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden), so this is a nice (more unknown) alternative to show here. By the way, I as a Dutch guy, have very strong associations with a Dutch hymn (Gezang 427/Joh. de Heer 220). The lyrics are a litt. translation from German. I don't know if the same melody exists in the Germany. The German version (Gesang 361) has the same melody as this score.. I am not sure if we also have this melody/tune in our hymn books. I did not recognize it.

34. Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht     BWV 274

BSG at Apr 4, 2018

Incipient composers -- look at the last beat of measure 1 (the first full measure) and m. 7, and take note of how the "expected dominant-like chord" on the bass of the second scale degree, A, in a scalar sequence, is not "D7, V, in the second inversion (6-4-(3))", but "F# dim" (F# A C) , viio, in the first inversion (6-3), all three of whose upper voices are fuxianly consonant to the bass, this compelling elegance overriding the urge of its tritone (C-F#) to "expand". This is an important Baroque practice! Become a viiolist today!

BSG at Apr 4, 2018

The bass suspension ("verborgen"), perhaps wordplay, is unusual in the chorales. The "dissonant anticipation preparation" of the 4, the Bb in the tenor or "ver-", is very noteworthy, IMO.

35. Christe, du Beistand deiner Kreuzgemeinde     BWV 275

BSG at Apr 6, 2018

Note also m. 14 beat 2; the scalar motion in the bass from D3 down to G3 under the chords i to iv is the goal. But the tenor can neither be G3 nor Bb3 for the whole beat -- the former would create parallel octaves at the eighth note, and the latter at the quarter note. The solution (as usual) is to "counter" the eighth-notes with eighth-notes, avoiding both traps.

Exercise for "students" -- change the soprano on beat 2 to G4 F4 eighths (insert a passing tone to create a minor seventh on the second eighth). What should the tenor be now?

BSG at Apr 6, 2018

Note also the last beat of m. 11, where the melody leading-tone (F#) demands a "dominant gesture", and Bach could have easily put D3 (or D3 C3 8ths) in the bass, to great effect, but he opted to keep the A3 of the previous chord. As a result, he has chosen vii0 (6-3), (F# A C), as the second (6-4-(3)) inversion of D(7) is not permitted here, and this is the standard Baroque solution to a "dominant gesture over the second scale-degree bass".

BSG at Apr 6, 2018

The second beat of m. 8 is interesting, where the resolution of a 9th suspension over a moving bass at the same time-scale produces "parallel 9ths", parallel dissonances, a Bach trademark effect that must be indulged only in moderation. At the third beat of 12, he judged the leap to the unprepared seventh "better" (certainly for the tenors!) than the augmented fourth (Eb->A) it is obviating. (Note that the "minor seventh iv problem" is avoided by he third (Eb, alto) being ABOVE this seventh).

The way the parallel ninths are "adopted" by the parallel tenth figures in the second half of 8 is masterful.

36. Christ ist erstanden     BWV 276

BSG at Mar 20, 2018

Like "Christ lag in Todesbanden", the melody of this chorale is rooted in the Easter plainchant "Victimae Paschali".

40. Christ lag in Todesbanden (Hier ist das rechte Osterlamm)     BWV 158.4

BSG at Mar 18, 2018

Bach lovers know this verse of the hymn from the bass aria in BWV 4 ...

42. Christum wir sollen loben schon     BWV 121.6

BSG at Apr 12, 2018

Cantus notes tied across a barline (mm. 1-2) are EXTREMELY unusual in style of Bach-era "squarings" of older chorale tunes!

BSG at Apr 12, 2018

The F# on "in" in the tenor in m. 14 is remarkable. It is there for its text, and complying with a half-note B minor harmony to which its simultaneous bass and alto sing passing-tones, but in its own time scale it creates dissonances (4th and 7th) with both of them. This is what Bach asks our ears to understand.

BSG at Apr 12, 2018

Note also the tenor going below the bass in m 6 to create a "bad" fourth redeemed by the indicated continuo below it. The almost identical bass preceding in mm. 8-9 raises the possibility that the whole purpose of the suboctave continuo in mm. 4-6 is to facilitate this.

BSG at Apr 12, 2018

The mystically-dark Orgelbüchlein setting of this tune, BWV 611, featuring it in the alto voice, is well worth knowing for its gritty density and a singularly "unusual" resolution of a 6-4-2 dissonance in the pedal.

43. Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam     BWV 280

BSG at Apr 12, 2018

Note also "diminished fifth->perfect fifth" (thanks, Dorian B!) S/T, albeit at sub-beat time-scale, first and second beats of m. 1 (first full).

BSG at Apr 12, 2018

This is a "real Dorian tune!", as attested by its first two measures (and key signature). Nevertheless, Bach's settings of modal tunes are often (but not here) tantalizingly chromatic/non-modal, e.g., Christus, der uns selig macht. Here is a 5-voice chorale setting of "Christ unser Herr" (by a late student of Bach) in the latter style: .

BSG at Apr 12, 2018

The ornamental resolution of the alto 7th in 12 is of an unusual form, creating a passing mediant-ninth chord (F A C# G); the T/B swap on the last beat of 13 mitigates a parallel octave jump (albeit a "fermata" one) at the last beat of 13.

46. Christus, der ist mein Leben     BWV 281

BSG at Mar 14, 2018

M. 3, T/B ("-ben") is a fairly bald parallel-5th evasion in this happy chorale.

48. Christus, der uns selig macht     BWV 283

BSG at Mar 23, 2018

The transition from D minor to E minor between mm. 10 and 11 is remarkable (C 6-3 would have been conventional). It's like he's saying "This is a weird modal chorale, didn't you get the memo?"

BSG at Mar 22, 2018

This is the older (1531) melody, which is the one used in the Orgelbüchlein, not the 1598 one used in the St. John Passion. The first and last lines are identical, others are shuffled, and the "und fälschlisch verklaget"s are wholly different. See discussion at .

49. Christus, der uns selig macht     BWV 245.15

BSG at Mar 22, 2018

This setting opens Part II of the St. John Passion. See the remarks on Christus, der uns selig macht (O hilf, Christe, Gottes Sohn) .

The present setting is in the mode of E Phrygian, the "natural Phrygian", although Bach's use of powerful, affective chords foreign to the old "modal" idiom (e.g., m. 11) is among his most wonderful "tricks".

50. Christus, der uns selig macht (O hilf, Christe, Gottes Sohn)     BWV 245.37

BSG at Mar 25, 2018

It is also very worth comparing this setting with the other, almost identical (modulo key) setting from the Johannespassion, Christus, der uns selig macht . While the latter is a telling of the indignities heaped upon Jesus, the present verse is a prayer, and the difference can be seen in the softening of the pointed harmonies here, e.g., mm. 5, 11.

BSG at Mar 22, 2018

The key signature here is of extreme interest; the tonic ("Final") of this Phrygian chorale is F here, so five flats would be the expectable key signature (every G in the movement is flat). But it's as though he found that "too many", or somehow went the "wrong way" (Dorian) from F (four flats). The Bb minor prelude and fugue in the WTC has all 5 flats needed, and the E Phrygian very-similar occurrence commencing Part II of the Johannespassion has none, as correct.

BSG at Mar 22, 2018

Check out Bach's canonic (alla 15a) chorale prelude BWV 620 in the Orgelbüchlein on this Phrygian theme, , as well as the discussion there and at the Urfassung BWV620a of that, , and the discussion there. From the plainchant, -Patris-sapientia-.

53. Danket dem Herren, denn er ist sehr freundlich     BWV 286

BSG at Apr 24, 2018

The D7 6-4-2 in m. 5, as transition between a minor and viio6-3 (G#dim) is a particularly cool Dorianism -- compare "Drum schließ ich mich", BWV 229.2, where the same technique is used to modulate from the relative major.

57. Das neugeborne Kindelein     BWV 122.6

BSG at Aug 12, 2018

If you like this, you'll love what Bach has 2 movements before this, a supremely exquisite vocal trio with "this very chorale" as Cantus Firmus in its middle, in the alto voice: (also the only Bach cantata movement where a voice articulating a cantus firmus continues to do "other stuff")

59. Das walt' mein Gott     BWV 291

BSG at Aug 9, 2018

What a perfect harmony lesson! The 5-2 bass suspension on the downbeats of 2 and 6 is a bit ununsual in this style, but, hey! The 6-4-2 on the downbeat of 10 (cf the Chaconne) is noteworthy, too.

61. Der du bist drei in Einigkeit     BWV 293

BSG at Aug 10, 2018

This setting is really highly conflicted between the Dorian (m. 1, m 6, m7) and Mixoydian modes (all the rest). Highly evanescent tonaliity ... the ancient modal atmosphere is a bit broken by the tritone tenor leap in 4 (and the chromatics in 5-6). The verbatim copy-paste of 1, 3, and 7 (2 = 8, too) is peculiar for JSB. Trinitarian allusion?

65. Die Sonn' hat sich mit ihrem Glanz     BWV 297

BSG at Feb 22, 2018

My goodness! The Dm7->E on "ge-WEN-det" is outrageous: "Just visit the B to duck the E, then go back to E!", has now earned a place on .

BSG at Feb 22, 2018

The figures as they stand now are my edit to reflect the actual text of this score -- the ones with "*" under them differ from my "blind" guesses at the URL above.

67. Dir, dir, Jehova, will ich singen     BWV 299

BSG at Aug 11, 2018

What a grand hymn!

SDG at Aug 11, 2018

Indeed. I like it very much also! This one was hard to get 'right' (many subtle manual tempo changes).

70. Du grosser Schmerzensmann     BWV 300

BSG at Feb 25, 2018

The diminished fifth to perfect fifth (on "angst", surely enough!) is worth remembering. And the fifth-amelioration in the tenor "by anticipation" (with alto "collusion") at "Geisselung".

71. Du, o schönes Weltgebäude     BWV 301

BSG at Aug 11, 2018

This is an incredibly beautiful hymn, known to most Bach lovers by the verse, "Komm, o Tod, du Schlafes Bruder", ending the great Cantata BWV 56, "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen" (always the B side of 82).

72. Du, o schönes Weltgebäude (Komm, o Tod, du Schlafes Bruder)     BWV 56.5

BSG at Aug 12, 2018

Often cited for the parallel-fifth-evasion-by anticipation (in the iv7->V gesture) at the last beat of m. 2.

73. Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt     BWV 18.5

BSG at Feb 24, 2018

Note also that every single end-of-line cadence chord, all expectably in root position, lacks a fifth; both the second and seventh [leading tone] scale steps fulfilling their natural tendencies outweighed "full sonority" the day this was written (no, there are no independent instrumental parts). Bach usually votes the other way at the final chord, at least (best when alto can drop the third, less so tenor).

BSG at Feb 24, 2018

Note the parallel-fifth-avoidance anticipation (D in the soprano) for the iv7->V in m.8, as well as the augmented chord to harmonize [3][2][1], consonant with the gloomy screenplay of the text. Also the very unusual parallel 4ths in eighths at "Schlang" to add some serpentine motion "justifying" the accented dissonance alto F on "Ev-".

74. Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott     BWV 302

BSG at Feb 25, 2018

Note the A-T voice-crossing on the first two beats; if played on the keyboard or MIDI grand staff choir, bass and alto are in parallel fifths. But not when sung by real chorus sections. Not the same.

75. Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott     BWV 303

BSG at Feb 24, 2018

Bach's way of mitigating parallel fifths introduced by passing-tones in mm. 4 and 12 ("combating eighth-notes with eighth-notes, even dissonantly") is worth noting, as well as the tenor in 12 desperately trying to find a non-paralleling path between his B and F# the other setting.

78. Erbarm' dich mein, o Herre Gott     BWV 305

BSG at Aug 12, 2018

Phyrgian tune known to most Bach lovers for the touching, beloved eponymous F#-Phrygian organ chorale prelude BWV 721, with its beating-heart eighth-note left-hand chords, whose authenticity is nonetheless unclear.

80. Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist     BWV 248.12

SDG at Feb 28, 2018

Also look here in the new group I created:

SDG at Feb 27, 2018

Here is the rest of the poem, because it does not fit in the 'Show more' description above, which has a 5000 character limit:

10. O liebes Kind, o süßer Knab,
Holdselig von Geberden,
Mein Bruder, den ich lieber hab'
Als alle Schätz auf Erden,
Kom', Schönster, in mein Herz hinein,
Kom' eiligst, laß die Krippen sein,
Kom', kom', ich wil bei Zeiten
Dein Lager dir bereiten.

(Oh dear child, sweet boy.
Lovely in your gestures
My Brother, whom I hold dearer
Than all earthly treasures
Come, beautiful one, into my heart
Come most quickly, leave your crib
Come, come I shall in time
Make ready where you shall lie ')

11. Sag' an, mein Herzensbräutigam,
Mein' Hoffnung, Freud' und Leben,
Mein edler Zweig aus Jacobs Stamm,
Was sol ich dir doch geben?
Ach nim von mir Leib, Seel und Geist,
Nim alles, was Mensch ist und heißt,
Ich wil mich ganz verschreiben,
Dir ewig treu zu bleiben!

(Tell me, bridegroom of my heart,
My hope, joy in life
My noble branch from Jacobs root
What should I then give to you?
Ah, take m body, soul and spirit
Take all that is and is called human,
I will dedicate myself wholly
To be true to you for ever!)

12. Lob, Preis und Dank, Herr Jesu Christ,
Sei dir von mir gesungen,
Daß du mein Bruder worden bist
Und hast die Welt bezwungen;
Hilf, daß ich deine Gütigkeit
Stets preis' in dieser Gnadenzeit
Und mög' hernach dort oben
In Ewigkeit dich loben!

Let praise, glory and thanks, Lord Jesus Christ
Be sung to you by me,
because You have become my Brother
And have overcome the world;
Help so that I may value your goodness
Always in this time of grace
And so that I may hereafter in heaven
Praise you for eternity!)

BSG at Feb 27, 2018

The tenor antics in m. 13 are a bit puzzling; the little notes are Oboe da Caccia II and Viola. It's not at all clear to me why Bach didn't, on the last chord, give the alto B3 and the tenor G3. A G chord spaced exactly so occurs in the next chorale, #17 ("Schauet hin") in the W.O., so it's not a range issue; omission of a D seems less a transgression than the ugly tenor line shown, leaping up from a leading-tone to the mediant, or the instrumental line jumping from the seventh of the dominant chord to the tonic. He must have been very committed to this particular voicing/sonority.

82. Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist (Nun lieget alles unter dir)     BWV 11.6

Ido Nachlieli at Oct 30, 2018

this is absolutely amazing! Only once I downloaded this masterpiece i realized the depth and hard work you put into this piece of art. marvelous.

SDG at Oct 30, 2018

Thank you! I do that with most of my scores. The notes are just a small part of it. Then hard work and many, many extra hours are usually applied (bows, beaming properties, ties, extra hidden fermata, breath pauses, tempo changes etc.). Thank you so much for recognizing and appreciating it.

BSG at May 17, 2017

Melody: "Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist". Great!

SDG at May 17, 2017


83. Erschienen ist der herrlich' Tag     BWV 67.4

BSG at Aug 12, 2018

BWV 629 Orgelbüchlein canonic treatment of this chorale: . See also Buxtehude version, a likely inspiration for BWV 629,

84. Erschienen ist der herrlich' Tag (Drum wir auch billig fröhlich sein)     BWV 145.5

BSG at Mar 22, 2018

Check out the Orgelbüchlein canonic prelude on this melody,
and Buxtehude's, which seems its ancestor:

87. Es ist das Heil uns kommen her (Ob sich's anliess, als wollt' er nicht)     BWV 9.7

BSG at Aug 14, 2018

The gesture on the first chord of m.1 is a most interesting one -- it is NOT "just a lower neighbor": lower neighbors do not occur on the accented part of the beat. As can be verified by listening, the secret, which is given away by the BGA figuring of 5-4-2, is that the bass E is a bass suspension resolved to the D# (B 6-3) on beat 2. The F# in the alto is essential, and the following G# a passing-tone. It actually sounds as so! The 4 figure implies an A, the whole being a double dissonance, a 7-4 in inversion, the 4 being the bass and the 7 being the figured 4. Is that confusing enough?

89. Es ist das Heil uns kommen her (Sei Lob und Ehr' dem höchsten Gut)     BWV 251

BSG at Aug 14, 2018

The upper horn part pretty much doubles the soprano. The lower horn part, however, is truly independent -- this is thus a 5-voice setting.

90. Es ist das Heil uns kommen her (Ich rief dem Herrn in meiner Noth)     BWV 117.4/9

BSG at Aug 14, 2018

The parallel T-B seconds/accented upward 6-4-2 bass passing tone in m 3 are pretty bold, too. He uses the same 6-4-2 there in other settings of this hymn here.

91. Es ist genug; so nimm, Herr, meinen Geist     BWV 60.5

BSG at Jun 5, 2018

Yes, indeedy. One of the utmost renowned of all of Bach's know 4-voice settings, on account of its extreme chromaticism, pairs of identical phrases set differently, and use in Alban Berg's Violin Concerto (1935). For detailed commentary and technical analysis, please visit .

93. Es steh'n vor Gottes Throne     BWV 309

BSG at Mar 11, 2018

At "Thro-ne", the diminished 5th in T/B going to an octave is surely an odder choice than doubling the F# (and leap of minor 6th) would have been ... The seventh-to-augmented at "als je" is pretty terrific.

95. Es woll' uns Gott genädig sein     BWV 311

BSG at Aug 15, 2018

Comparison of this with the much more complex #96 is very instructive.

BSG at Jun 6, 2018

This is a true Phrygian (F# Phrygian) chorale, set with many of Bach's typical techniques for harmonizing such. Compare the striking A minor in 17 with the renowned G minor at the end of "Wenn ich einmal" (MattP).

96. Es woll' uns Gott genädig sein     BWV 312

BSG at Aug 15, 2018

What a masterpiece! This is just about "the last word" in Phrygian chorale harmonization. The artful density of this surpasses that of most of its congeners.

98. Freu' dich sehr, o meine Seele     BWV 70.7

BSG at Jun 7, 2018

This joyous hymn is often given in common-time, too. Works well in octave-canon. The unprepared downbeat 6-4-2 at 24 is bold ... The ebullient "chorale-prelude-movement" setting of it, "Der Gott, der hat mir versprochen" in BWV 13, is well worth knowing ...

102. Freu' dich sehr, o meine Seele (Weg, mein Herz mit den Gedanken)     BWV 32.6

BSG at Aug 17, 2018

The wholly-unprepared 6-4-2 on the third beat of 12 is pretty ear-opening.

103. Freu' dich sehr, o meine Seele (Tröstet, tröstet meine Lieben)     BWV 30.6

BSG at Aug 17, 2018

||5ths "anticipated" in m1 TB pretty egregious.

104. Freu' dich sehr, o meine Seele (Kommt, und lasst euch Jesum lehren)     BWV 39.7

BSG at Aug 18, 2018

Comparing these settings of "Freu' dich sehr" side-by-side, and with (BWV 13.3) is illuminating.

105. Freuet euch, ihr Christen alle     BWV 40.8

BSG at Jun 8, 2018

The alto and "bass" Bb passing tones on different halves of the beat at the end of 19 are a bit bold.

BSG at Jun 8, 2018

If this were today, Hammerschmidt would be sued by the estate of Johann Crüger; the first line js that of Jesu, meine Freude. The harmony here is yet anothr for that chorale: the bass almost duplicates 227.1, too, but the second chord here is one even more striking than the minor v there.

107. Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ     BWV 314

BSG at Jun 17, 2018

Note the two-sharp signature; this is a Mixolydian tune (A Mixolydian). G Mixolydian (natural) in the Orgelbüchlein.

108. Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ (Das hat er Alles uns gethan)     BWV 64.2

BSG at Aug 18, 2018

This is the paradigmatic Mixolydian tune (correctly notated in G Mixo.). "Roman numeral" analysis is fruitless in face of Bach's techniques for modernizing modal chorales, which shreds the "key center" notion.

109. Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ (Das hat er Alles uns gethan)     BWV 91.6

BSG at Aug 21, 2018

It is very interesting to look at the tympani part and decide where he uses G, D, or silence, given only those choices!

110. Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ (Gieb dich zufrieden und sei stille)     BWV 248.28

BSG at Dec 4, 2018

Note the A Mixolydian key signature (2 ##).

111. Gib dich zufrieden und sei stille     BWV 315

BSG at Jun 8, 2018

M. 10 could be Mendelssohn or Brahms; what beauty!

BSG at Jun 8, 2018

That is terrifically beautiful! Borderline motet-style writing (this is a Bach original, is it not?), and your rendering sounds it. Bravo!

113. Gott der Vater wohn' uns bei     BWV 317

BSG at Jun 18, 2018

The last chord of m. 1 is a virtual textbook example of the use of vii-6-3 instead of V-6-4-3 as the "correct" chord (in Baroque style) for the second scale degree (E here) as bass before the tonic!

115. Gottes Sohn ist kommen     BWV 318

BSG at Aug 31, 2018

Don't miss Bach's canonic chorale prelude on this, BWV 600, second number of the Orgelbüchlein, (with analysis). Note that many of the 4ths (C here, Bb there) are Lydianized/sharpened in the Orgelbüchlein canon.

116. Gott hat das Evangelium     BWV 319

BSG at Aug 31, 2018

This Lost Cantata excerpt comprises a very interesting working of a B-Phrygian tonal centre, unsurprisingly manifesting as E minor and G major at various point. The final cadence is the typical phrygian cadence from below....

117. Gott lebet noch     BWV 320

BSG at Sep 4, 2018

The first measure is a perfect Lesson 1 in the Baroque use of vii-6-3 instead of V to harmonize [6]-[7]-[8] with contrary motion and no parallels. Ditto m. 9.

119. Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet     BWV 322

Bernhard Sydow at Feb 2, 2019

Vielen Dank. Muito obrigado. Estou fazendo um trabalho de releitura dos maiores clássicos da música luterana - um tanto esquecidos aqui no Brasil. Thank you very much. I am doing a re-reading of the greatest classics of Lutheran music - somewhat forgotten here in Brazil.

Lia Laine at Sep 6, 2018

Gebenedeiet, what a word xD
I like this arrangement, but I don't quite understand why you added a sub-octave bass double to it...

SDG at Sep 6, 2018

It's not my arrangement, to be totally clear. It was an excisting (hymn-) melody that Bach 'took' and made a setting/arrangement of.
I added the 'extra' bass, because usually a basso continuo played along with it (in this case a contrabass) and it adds extra bass to it, otherwise the sound is a bit 'thin' (I add them to all the Bach chorales I put online), I think. It's a matter of taste. If you don't like it, you can download it and switch it off in F10 or delete the extra staff altogether (hit 'i' on your keyboard).

BSG at Sep 6, 2018

In the cantatas (many lost) from which these chorales are extracted, the bass is doubled by instruments at the sub-octave. There are often tenor-bass crossings and resolutions of seconds that ought be ninths that imply the need for such, too.

SDG at Sep 14, 2018

As an example for 'the need for such': Meine Seele erhebt den Herren. I used an extra cello there to make the bass crossing the tenor ever more obvious (because the contra bass lacks clarity in its upper range).

120. Gott sei uns gnädig und barmherzig     BWV 323

BSG at Sep 12, 2018

This has a famous unexplainable parallel fifth in m. 8 (soprano/tenor).

121. Meine Seele erhebt den Herren     BWV 324

BSG at Sep 13, 2018

See (BWV 10#5) for Bach's use of this as a cantus firmus.

122. Meine Seele erhebt den Herren     BWV 10.7

BSG at Sep 14, 2018

The last line of this is spectacular!!

124. Helft mir Gott's Güte preisen     BWV 28.6

BSG at Sep 14, 2018

Mm. 5-6-7 are an object lesson in contrary motion...

125. Helft mir Gott's Güte preisen (All solch dein' Güt' wir preisen)     BWV 16.6

BSG at Sep 15, 2018

The unprepared 4th (G) in the 9-4 suspension on the last beat of m. 10 is extremely unusual, as is the thirdless iv minor 7 chord two beats further (a way to avoid the parallel fifth problem).

126. Helft mir Gott's Güte preisen (Zeuch ein zu deinen Thoren)     BWV 183.5

BSG at Sep 15, 2018

The second alto note (G4) of the second full measure, makes little sense ...(verified against BGA, though ...)

BSG at Sep 15, 2018

The three consecutive dissonances in conflicting accented and weak passing tones S/T in the third full measure are intolerable to my ear; I would reject it in work submitted to me.

132. Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir (Für deinen Thron tret' ich hiermit)     BWV 327

BSG at Sep 16, 2018

Note also the antique vor/für exchange (although the accusative case stays constant).

BSG at Sep 16, 2018

This text, of course, is most often associated with the melody, "Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein", and Bach's renowned "deathbed chorale" BWV 668.

133. Herr Gott, dich loben wir     BWV 328

BSG at Sep 18, 2018

I wonder what liturgical or business considerations prompted Bach to produce this Te Deum/tedium; I cannot imagine it in a cantata or longer work. I can imagine it being sung as the background to a lengthy non-musical liturgical activity, but from what I read about the size of congregations there, these six minutes are as the blink of an eye. At any rate, it provides a useful library of harmonic gestures for common chorale-line motions.

134. Herr Gott, dich loben wir (Hilf deinem Volk, Herr Jesu Christ)     BWV 119.9

BSG at Sep 27, 2018

In m. 7, Bach prefers a leap in a very linear tenor line to either doubling a leading tone (albeit on a line-final chord) or a dim5->pfct5 involving the bass (arguably whole-note level par. 5ths). The penultimate 2 measures are, of course, in motet, not chorale, style.

135. Herr Gott, dich loben wir (Nun hilf uns Herr den Deinen dein)     BWV 120.6

BSG at Oct 12, 2018

The first four chords, three "interpretations" of the tonic, B, are exceptional; one expects the dramatic 6-4-2 on the downbeat (which the ear doesn't yet know IS the downbeat) to lead to a bass G (Em 6-3), but instead we get G# (viio 6-3 of F#m). Not the expected modulation to the subdominant, but to the dominant! Another gem from the JSB Modernized Modal Harmony workshop.

136. Herr, ich denk' an jene Zeit     BWV 329

BSG at Oct 17, 2018

A textbook or course on how to harmonize a chorale-like melody could not be any clearer.

137. Herr, ich habe missgehandelt     BWV 330

BSG at Oct 17, 2018

The triple (A,T,B) passing tone under the A in the last beat of m7, a whole G chord in 6-3, is unusual. The diminished-fourth-leap "resolution" of the leading tone on the last beat of 2 wouldn't have been my choice, FWTIW.

141. Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut     BWV 334

BSG at Oct 23, 2018

The "irregular" resolution of the A in the alto in m. 10, a major seventh over its bass, is astonishing (checked against paper BGA).

boblucassen at Oct 24, 2018

Would it have been fine if it had been a instead a of a c in the bass following the dissonance?

BSG at Oct 24, 2018

7ths resolving downward-outward to octaves are frowned upon by the books, but suspensions of that form (which that would not be) can be found: see BWV 159.5 ( Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod (Jesu, deine Passion) see my note), and anyway, that would create a 6-4 under the D, not an adequate consonance-of-resolution). Actually, 7-4-2 (accented) bass passing tones aren't that rare, but that (7-5-3) would't be one. So I'd say "no". Bb in the alto would have been expected.

148. Herr, nun lass in Friede     BWV 337

BSG at Oct 24, 2018

This is a really imaginative and powerful Phrygian setting. The resolution of the 6-4-2 in m.1 is quite exceptional: the 3rd beat is "bassically" C, and the 4th B. The ornamentation and the violent 7-5-2 on the third beat serve to "lead in to/justify" the necessary bass 8ths on the downbeat of 2.

150. Herr, wie du willst, so schick's mit mir (Aus tiefer Noth schrei' ich zu dir)     BWV 156.5

BSG at Oct 24, 2018

Hence, the so-called Straßburger melody (as used by Samuel Scheidt and others). A favorite (of Gertim's) setting by a living composer is here: .

160. Herzlich thut mich verlangen (Und obgleich alle Teufel dir wollten widerstehn)     BWV 153.5

BSG at Oct 29, 2018

The beginning of this setting with a 6-4-2 is rarer and more shocking than Beethoven's iconoclastic opening of his first Symphony with a C7 chord.

161. Herzlich thut mich verlangen     BWV 161.6

BSG at Oct 29, 2018

The flauto here is totalmente obbligato; this is a true 5-part setting. This is best seen at the downbeat of m 10 (or beat 2 of 8), where the suspended 4th in the flute precludes a third in the chorus. This should be heard with the alto aria which opens this cantata BWV 161, which is centered on this chorale: .

162. Herzlich thut mich verlangen (O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden)     BWV 244.63

BSG at Mar 21, 2017

Kids, DO NOT TRY AT HOME what the man whose birthday is today did in the bass and tenor in the last two chords. Compare "Befiehl du deine Wege" in the same work.

thementalhandle at Mar 22, 2017


163. Herzlich thut mich verlangen (Erkenne mich, mein Hüter)     BWV 244.17

BSG at Oct 29, 2018

It is very instructive to read all the "Herzlich thut mich verlangen" settings in parallel (this can be done with paper), or set them in one score, and compare their contrasting treatments of this beloved tune (especially the 5 settings from the Matthäuspassion). The different applications of major, minor, and the tune's original Phyrgian mode are most instructive.

164. Herzlich thut mich verlangen (Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden)     BWV 244.62

BSG at Oct 29, 2018

This, the final and most setting of this tune in the St. Matthew, is the most remarkable and renowned of them -- the last two measures alone are heart-rending.

166. Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen     BWV 244.3

BSG at Oct 30, 2018

In contrast to the other settings of this melody in both Passions, this is the "standard, vanilla one". Each of the others is exotic in a different way.

167. Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen (Wie wunderbarlich ist doch diese Strafe!)     BWV 244.46

BSG at Oct 31, 2018

Although the opening seventh chord and chromatic bass run are striking ("how to make a thrice-repeated note interesting"), and the colorful "Dorian" ii (C#m in (local) Bm) on "Schuld"(sin). "How amazing is this sentence [judicial] in which the Good Shepherd suffers for the sheep!" ....

170. Heut' ist o Mensch, ein grosser Trauertag     BWV 341

BSG at Nov 1, 2018

This is in G Dorian, the first two measures aggressively so; the E natural, even though not in the cantus, is key to the harmony, as is the (appropriately) "modal" minor dominant on the first downbeat.

171. Heut' triumphiret Gottes Sohn     BWV 342

BSG at Nov 1, 2018

Note how the Phrygian cadence (or "half-cadence in A minor") in 11-12 shows the perfect symmetry and harmony of counterpoint and harmony in the Western system, until we look at the tenor, which is forced into a tritone leap (very common in such circumstances) -- in three voices, this would have been unassailable. But writing credible music is engineering as much as art, and the still-evolving system of tonal music is not jewel-perfect, as the "temperament problem" confirms. Triads comprise three voices yet chorales employ four -- while four, thus, cannot not all can be parallel, four provides the optimal tradeoff of flexibility to, as it were, counter that.

Patrx2 at Nov 1, 2018

Hard to say in this particular example. If one isn't averse to direct octaves (and we can see from m.19 that, when they serve his purposes, Back is not), then doubling A at the octave in the tenor would be smoother and more in keeping with ♭vii⁶ in E Phrygian, given that F is both the third of the chord and the upper leading tone. I suspect that Bach was interested in the "left hanging" quality of F in this context, which gives the cadence a certain urgency, and sure enough, the line rises back to F at the end of m.14, and then drops by step to E at the start of m.15. Now *that* passage is interesting, in that ♭vii is handled as a passing second inversion to I⁶, which serves as either V⁶/iv in a plagal cadence in the home key of E Phrygian *or* as part of a modulating half cadence (V⁶-i-V) in the subdominant minor key. That kind of ambiguity is ingrained in Phrygian polyphony.

BSG at Nov 1, 2018

And, yes, indeed, the ambiguity between tonal and modal models is an earmark of Bach's handling of modal tunes.

Patrx2 at Nov 1, 2018

His takeaway from Froberger (who was brilliant at it), I think. Personally, I'm not entirely sure he brought it off in this setting. The A cadence in the penultimate verset is a bit too strong, so that, despite the introduction of F♯ and D♯ in the final phrase as part of a very strong perfect cadence, the final E major still sounds like a hanging dominant. There are definitely works where he brought it off fully - the 6-voice prelude on "Aus tiefer Not", BWV 686, is incredible.

BSG at Nov 1, 2018


BSG at Nov 1, 2018

Yeah, 686 is pretty fine, too. The "Christus, der uns selig macht" settings in the StJP and the Orgelbüchlein (BWV 620) manage, too. The long pedal points at the end of the latter (as well as 686) help ...

BSG at Nov 1, 2018

M. 14 with alto and tenor in perfect inverse and the passing 6-4 into 15 is very beautiful, all voices utterly motivated and linear. Yeah, A would sure work, and the F sure does add urgency. (How did you get the superscript 6's in a comment!?!?)

Patrx2 at Nov 1, 2018

Unicode, Bernard, much like the flat symbol. It doesn't much help me with any other inversions. though, I'm afraid. Maybe one fine day the Unicode committee will add figured bass symbols to the standard.

172. Hilf, Gott, dass mir's gelinge     BWV 343

BSG at Nov 1, 2018

The Orgelbüchlein setting (BWV 624) of this chorale in canon at the fifth in the right hand against a torrent of triplet semiquavers in the left, is well worth exploring.

BSG at Nov 1, 2018

Bar 11 contains one of those 2-1 T/B suspensions that is only bettered into 9-8 by the contrabass at the octave.

173. Hilf, Herr Jesu, lass gelingen     BWV 344

BSG at Nov 1, 2018

The C in contrabasso in m. 19 is outside of chorale range except in Russian Orthodox choirs, who specialize in 16' bassi, as it were.

BSG at Nov 1, 2018

For another related composer's harmonization of this tune, and its interesting story, see .

174. Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht     BWV 345

eensio at Dec 16, 2018

This is one of the most beautiful chorales I know.

176. Ich dank' dir, lieber Herre     BWV 347

BSG at Nov 2, 2018

It's interesting that Bach didn't consider m. 11 parallel fifths at the half-note. Measure not playable by 2 (average) hands, FWIW, anyway...

boblucassen at Nov 2, 2018

What do you think of parallel perfects because of the crossing? (it sounds like the A(alt) moves down to G(ten). And the F#(ten) to E(alt) in this case for example, creating P5 between F# E and the soprano)

BSG at Nov 2, 2018

He's allowed to do that; if played on the keyboard, it's parallel fifths. But it's not played on the keyboard -- you can find a lot of this, in, say, string accompanimental parts in instrumental works, where the viola jumps up to allow vn1 and vn2 to be more elegant than forced keyboard idiom. What's more, the voices have internal logic, not just dodging fifths (although the latter can occasionally be found, too).

boblucassen at Nov 2, 2018

But doesn't the "in keyboard writing it's fifths" logic work for any set of instruments that is timbrally homogeneous?

BSG at Nov 2, 2018

Look at m. 16 of the Air from the Suite in D:

BSG at Nov 2, 2018

Apparently not -bei- Bach; they are spatially/acoustically separated; didn't use midi.

boblucassen at Nov 2, 2018

Good example, as usual :). I'm going to listen to a recording or 2 to see how I perceive it in practice.

BSG at Nov 2, 2018

This notion also (as noted on the Air) creates situations where straightforward kbd redux of ensemble works produce "errors".

boblucassen at Nov 2, 2018

On a piano with a sostenuto you can have some semblance of unisons in some cases I think. But I agree inherently hacky.

178. Ich dank' dir, lieber Herre     BWV 37.6

BSG at Nov 2, 2018

The harmony variations on the 4-times-repeated opening A (f#m, A6-3, A, D) merits study.

BSG at Nov 2, 2018

Wow! Not well known! The unprepared (quasi-consonant-jazz) Maj 7 (hardly the only one in Jsb) at the beginning of 8, and the stunning chromatic bass at "mein' Sünd' mir"...the G natural in the cantus at m2 is quite unexpected, too (I guess unless you know the tune).

179. Ich dank' dir schon durch deinen Sohn     BWV 349

BSG at Nov 3, 2018

The unprepared minor 7 (of a dom 7 chord) at the end of m. 7, used as the (quasi-)consonant preparation of a 4-3 suspension, is typical of the evolution of the minor 7 and dim 5 from "outright dissonance" in the Renaissance to "consonant chord member" in jazz (with most eras in between).

BSG at Nov 3, 2018

This so pure and pristine gorgeous 3/4 chorale-style; is there a more beautifully prepared and resolved minor 7 than the downbeat of m2 in the whole 389?

183. Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ     BWV 177.5

Lia Laine at Nov 4, 2018

Wow... rarely see a C2 in choral arrangements, not even optional. It's a really heavy piece, isn't it? Thank you for putting this together.

BSG at Nov 4, 2018

See where it says "Cont." in m. 2? The brown notes are for continuo (here contrabass), not the bass voice, when they differ. That's where the C2 is. And what do you mean by "heavy"? Bach took his religion and work with utmost seriousness. It is, as is many of these chorales, the closing movement of a cantata. Perhaps you should try to hear/understand Cantata 177.

BSG at Nov 4, 2018

In addition to this wonderful Cantata BWV 177, this melody is best-known for the plaintive Orgelbüchlein trio setting, BWV 639.

184. Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ     BWV 185.6

BSG at Nov 4, 2018

The operatic diminished 7th as line ending in 12 is extremely unusual in the chorales (stuff of keyboard toccatas) and the text ("be useful to my neighbor") doesn't seem to explain it. This is a true 5-part setting; the harmony is incomplete without the violin.

187. Jesu, der du meine Seele     BWV 354

BSG at Oct 19, 2018

Unlike other "J,ddmS" settings, this one is notated as Dorian; the real key is Bb minor, but we have only four flats here. Compare (two flats short).

188. Jesu, der du meine Seele (Herr! ich glaube, hilf mir Schwachen)     BWV 78.7

BSG at Mar 10, 2018

The little anticipation in the soprano ("werDE schauen"), is a parallel-fifth avoidance with the tenor, in his case IV M7->V. Same at "ich trauen". And the alto syncopation at "Sünd und" (S and A).

BSG at Mar 10, 2018

Visitors here should visit the stupendous opening chorus of Bach's eponymous cantata BWV 78, at , as well as the amazing 7-voice (4 choral + obbligato strings + continuo) setting of this tune that ends the cantata BWV 105, and the accompanying analysis of its contrapuntal engineering, .

189. Jesu, der du selbst so wohl     BWV 355

BSG at Nov 4, 2018

The last 8 measures are a little tricky, but the first 8 are really "Chorale writing 101", one very standard (in this genre), simple, straightforward, gesture completely smoothly joined to the next, and the result is beautiful.

190. Jesu, du mein liebstes Leben     BWV 356

BSG at Nov 4, 2018

The bass-line of 17 is barely singable, even for men who have the low D. This is very, very odd vocal writing (I checked my RK, too).

191. Jesu, Jesu, du bist mein     BWV 357

cadams at May 11, 2016

Ho ho, what fun. It's just possible that the word you are searching for is "peregrinate." (Latin for pilgrim is peregrinator and for pilgrimage is peregrinatio). Thanks for your transcription of the music.

SDG at May 11, 2016

yes, perfect.. that covers the subject/topic.. thanks.

Elwin at May 9, 2016

I like the tune, though I can't understand the words.

SDG at May 9, 2016

Jesus, Jesus, You (du) are (bist) mine (mein),
while (weil) I (Ich) have (muss) to pilgrimage (wallen) on this earth (auf Erden),
let (lass) me (mich) be (sein) totally (ganz) yours (dein)
let (lass) my (mein) life (Leben) be pleasing (gefallen) to You (dir),
I (ich) want (will) to give (geben) myself (mich) to you (dir) completely (ganz)
and (und) cling/lean/hang/stick (kleben) unto You (an dir) in death (im Tode)..
I (ich) only (allein) trust (vertraue) You (dir),
Jesus, Jesus, You (du) are (bist) mine (mein)

Jesus, Jesus, You are mine,
while I have to pilgrimage on this earth,
let me be totally Yours,
let my life be pleasant to You,
I want to give myself to You completely,
and cling unto You in death,
I only trust You,
Jesus, Jesus, you are mine.

BSG at May 9, 2016

Can't imagine that that sense of “wallen” is the right one; I suspect it's more like wander around, mess around, putt around, i.e., waste time on this earth doing useless and ultimately inconsequential things. Was sagen unsre Deutschsprechenden?

SDG at May 10, 2016

To wander around like a pilgrim is actually a translation of 'wallen', but it also would be spiritually/biblically a right translation because the bible says christians are strangers on this earth and they are encouraged to see themselves as 'pilgrims and strangers on the earth', 'temporary residents' whose true home is in heaven.. in that sense it is in the way you stated 'to wander around' like a pilgrim; not having anything to do with a nowadays pilgrimage, which means going to a holy city or place on this earth.. (but 'we're on our way to heaven' and in that sense it also is a pilgrimage..) That also explains 'muss', or have to, that shows he is reluctant to still wander around here.. while he'd rather be somewhere else.. (with Jesus in heaven).

This other verse also shows that desire to be with Him:

Jesu, Jesu, Du bist mein,
Lass mich dort einst zu Dir kommen,
Nimm mich in den Himmel ein,
Dass ich habe mit den Frommen.
Himmelsfreude, Lust und Wonne
Und ach seh die Gnadensonne
Dort mit allen Engelein!
Jesu, Jesu, Du bist mein.

Jesus, Jesus, you are mine
let me be there with You one day,
let me in (into) your heaven,
so that I will have with the holy ones;
heaven's peace, joy and bliss.
and oh, see the Sun of mercy
there with all the angels,
Jesus, Jesus, you are mine

By the way, that is also what this Dutch hymn is about:

Translation of the verses of hymn 89.:
My life is that of a pilgrim: I am traveling through the strange and barren land
toward to You up above, precious Lord,
There You have prepared me a place, where I will praise You in eternal rest,
after all this suffering and struggle
My life is that of a pilgrim: I am traveling to the heavenly Fatherland
Oh, may I be persistent in meekness, guided by Your Spirit,
and save me from stumbling
From You alone comes my strength, support me with Your power
and do clarify the darkness for me,
and let the light of Your grace enlighten me wherever I go.
Though I'm a stranger to this earth, worth nothing to this blind world,
oh comfort, Your hand will guide me
You will come to bring me from all strife into Your glory
where nothing ever can separate me from You
My Jesus, come and do not linger anymore, sometimes I'm afraid in this wilderness.

BSG at May 10, 2016

Indeed, this is a common theme, “Auf Erden bin ich nur ein Gast”, BWV 118. But "to pilgrimage" isn't English, though -- by your own explanation, "wander" would be better, no?

SDG at May 10, 2016

I agree.. with the connotation of being a pilgrim on this earth.. What would be the verb; 'pilgriming'? I see, I wrongly used the noun. Being Dutch it sounded like a verb to me already.. haha.. learning all the time.. one day perfect I will be..

BSG at May 10, 2016

There is no single-word verb in English; one “makes a pilgrimage”. Other than the coincidental 'assuage', 'average', and 'engage', I can't think of or find any verbs that end in the noun-ending, "age" (and those examples don't really). It is a French-origin suffix for deriving one noun from another (although coarse usages like 'to leverage' are slipping into the languAGE.)

SDG at May 10, 2016

ok.. slip of the tongue then.. so to 'pilgrimage or not to pilgrimage' is no longer the question.. it never was.. but, I could however imagine 'to pilgrim' to become (slipping into) a verb.. I am going 'to pilgrim' around the world, meaning going to all the holy places or pilgrimages (I am not intending to) .. like 'to google..' coming from the noun (company/search engine Google.. maybe it depends on how many people and how often it will be done to become a 'verb'.. and googling is a also much easier way to go around the world then pilgriming around.. and it takes you to all places.. even the not so holy ones.

BSG at May 10, 2016

I have never heard of such an activity! It would be very enlightening, indeed, and provide substance for a great book!

SDG at May 10, 2016

all the pilgrimages is maybe it bit too much, but there certainly are travel agencies specialized in pilgrimage tours.. In Europe are some famous trips too.. many make one of the 'pilgrimage' routes to Santiago de Compostela.. (I think it is called 'the way of St. James in English) either by walking or cycling.. not always for religious reasons.

BSG at May 10, 2016

That is only -Christian- pilgrimage. Some sites, such as Mecca, are forbidden to nonbelievers (although "the first" Richard Burton, the author, famously "passed" and wrote about it). Anyway, we should stop adding to this page and continue the discussion privately, if needed.

BSG at May 9, 2016

You can't have a pause between “ergeben”/“und im Tode” — the bass line has to continue unbroken and in rhythm. This is indeed a MS issue; you can pianorolltorture edit note shortings; the comma actually affects the timing.

SDG at May 9, 2016

I changed it..

192. Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod (Petrus, der nicht denkt zurück)     BWV 245.14

BSG at Aug 29, 2018

Note how this setting starts in f#m, and revisits it constantly, although its ending is clearly in A. This chorale can be heard either way (much like "Herzlich thut mich Verlangen"); four movements earlier, in the discarded 1725 version of the StJP, the stunning aria-con-coro "Himmel, reiße", the chorale appears fully in f#m (in this way).

BSG at Aug 29, 2018

This chorale, at the end of part I of the Johannespassion, breathes a deep tenderness. The inverted seventh chords at the end of the first line and "weinet", m. 8, push the usual bounds of hymn-setting for dramatic effect; the chromatic lines in 11 and 13, "nicht (büßen)", "Böse", illustrate the text with great poignancy.

193. Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod (Er nahm Alles wohl in Acht)     BWV 245.28

BSG at Aug 29, 2018

This super-tender setting (compare the chromatics in the previous one) is sung at the Crucifixion scene in the Johannespassion. The contrast of feeling (and message of the text) with "Petrus, der nicht denkt zurück" is worth exploring.

194. Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod (Jesu, deine Passion)     BWV 159.5

BSG at Aug 30, 2018

There is a real, live 7 (7-4-2) expanding to 8 by the bass in the second half of m. 9, alto and bass voices, a supertonic suspension under a fully-formed minor triad resolving to the tonic under it. Many sources advise against 7->8 resolves a bass down, while some sources say it can be found often in repertoire in spite of this. There's another in R/K # 241, "Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht", m. 8, A under G major. There is one in BSG "Wer durch Liebe" at a key juncture (m.99) closing a sequence of bass suspensions (and m. 48).

BSG at Aug 30, 2018

This is one of the super-greats, closing the very, very great Passiontide Cantata BWV 159 (see ). The paradox of the Cross is rarely more vivid, "Thy Suffering is to me pure joy", "Meine Seel' auf Rosen geht/wenn ich d'ran gedenke", whose bitter chromatic harmonies through Gb lead to an upward-feeling rise to "dem Himmel eine Stätt'" immediately thereafter.

195. Jesu, meine Freude     BWV 358

BSG at Jun 3, 2018

Note also parallel-fifth-out-of-minor-7th evasion by leap to a dissonance (G) in a 2-dissonance chord (7-4 over A), third beat, m. 5

BSG at Jun 3, 2018

The two unprepared 6-4-2's in m. 3 of this lost-cantata setting (climaxing in the dim7 in m4) are really "rock-and-roll" on the Bach audacity-spectrum. Gestures like that should really be reserved for thoughts less comforting than "meines Herzens Weide", but ... who am I to complain ...

198. Jesu, meine Freude (Unter deine Schirmen)     BWV 227.3

BSG at Jun 4, 2018

The ||8va discovered was bogus, but the very-near ||8va bet. tenor and soprano in the second-half of m. 1 is real, and can be ascribed to the leniencies necessary in 5-part writing.

202. Jesu, meines Herzens Freud'     BWV 361

SDG at Nov 5, 2018

I very much like measure 10, especially second half going into 11.

BSG at Nov 5, 2018

The sixteenth-notes in 4 are to obscure the parallel fifths generated by an Eb eighth-note there, which is a bit odd, because Bach permits fifths in this context (cadential anticipation accompanied by a seventh) elsewhere.

205. Jesu, nun sei gepreiset (Lass uns das Jahr vollbringen)     BWV 190.7

BSG at Nov 6, 2018

This is a really cool posting; this sounds great.

207. Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der den Tod überwand     BWV 364

BSG at Nov 5, 2018

The transtion from m.6 to m.7 is about as ugly as parallel fifth/8va avoidance gets; the bass and soprano are in very natural relationship, but the soprano and tenor are left to very unpleasant choices; were this not a chorale, they would be suspended across the barline to spin out a better answer. See the Orgelbüchlein prelude cited below for another solution.

boblucassen at Jan 10, 2019

I don't even hear it as written, the tenor D just leaps down to G for me.

SDG at Jan 10, 2019

I did not hear the tenor on 6.2 either and it sounded to me also if it jumped down to G (if that's what you meant)... maybe that was caused by the added contrabass. So, I made the tenor note 10 points louder and now it (D4) can be heard.

SDG at Jan 10, 2019

I was able to clearly hear the tenor notes of 6.3, 6.4 and 7.1, but I made those substantially louder (for you) as well. So it must be noticeable, like written, now. In a real performance, the tenor part stands out more clearly than in MS (because of the more evidently higher frequency ranged male voices and color/timbre, which is lighter and higher/clearer than bass voices (in MS that is far less clear). Let me know, if you can hear what is written now (you may have to hit F5).

boblucassen at Jan 11, 2019

Thank you, it does help!

BSG at Jan 10, 2019

Bach did not use MuseScore (there was no internet at St. Thomas at the time). You hear a simulated keyboard performance as a result; real voices would emanate from different spatial sections of the choir.

boblucassen at Jan 10, 2019

He was more of a SCORE guy I assume? And spatial differentiation definitely works in sufficiently intimate settings, but in larger venues the effect is lost (on me anyway). I don't think the St. Thomas' church had the choir at the back? Because that would surely muddle the voices together, what do you think?

BSG at Jan 10, 2019

At St Thomas the choir is indeed in the gallery at the back: I heard them there at the Tricentennial. But the different sections have different sounds; MuseScore voice ranges are timbrally undifferentiated. If the ear, or fraction thereof, follows choral voices. And to those in the choir it is clear, FWiW. There is probably wifi there today.

BSG at Nov 5, 2018

The short, pungent Orgelbüchlein prelude (BWV 626) shows even more skillful exploration of the harmonic tensions latent in this tune: .

211. In allen meinen Thaten     BWV 367

BSG at Jun 28, 2018

This text is best known to the tune "O Welt, ich muß dich lassen" ("Innsbruck"), where it serves the opening movement of the eponymous great cantata BWV 97.

212. In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr     BWV 52.6

BSG at Jul 2, 2018

There is a more beautiful setting in the MatthP, "Mir hat die Welt..." (the next one in R/K). There is also an "alio modo" tune (minor key) set in the Orgelbüchlein (BWV 640).

213. In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr (Mir hat die Welt trüglich gericht't)     BWV 244.32

BSG at Jul 2, 2018

The parallel-fifth evasions at "trüglich" (unsurprisingly!) (S/B) and "Stricken" (S/A) are pretty bold.

214. In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr (Dein Glanz all' Finsterniss verzehrt)     BWV 248.46

BSG at Dec 4, 2018

The pedal-point (bass) in the first half of m. 10 is a neat madrigalesque gesture unusual in this style.

BSG at Dec 4, 2018

This well-known (St.Mat: "Mir hat die Welt trüglich gericht" ) melody shows no overt modal influence; it is clearly "in A Major" end to end, with internal cadences on D, B minor, and E as expectable. But what an almost Brahmsian wild ride through keys Bach takes us (e.g., m. 4). Most interestingly, under the note A at the opening pickup beat, the chord is not A major but F#m, as if Bach is saying "Don't get too committed to this major-minor stuff for chorales: Modes rule!"

216. Ist Gott mein Schild und Helfersmann     BWV 85.6

BSG at Jul 27, 2018

The diminished-to-perfect fifths in the soprano and alto of m. 5 are to be noticed, too; many rule-sets forbid this.

BSG at Jul 3, 2018

The double jump down to the T/B 5th on the same (m2b4) is also a perfect example what Fux and earlier contrapuntists disdain as "direct fifths", as well as of Bach not caring much about them, at least in not-outer voices.

BSG at Jul 2, 2018

In-your-face accented-passing-tone prize goes to m. 2, beat 4. This is pretty unusual for a 4-voice chorale. This must be the best demonstration of "accented passing tones" (the F & D in S & A) possible.

218. Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist     BWV 370

BSG at Jul 4, 2018

Also watch out for the "old German" "für dir" (für normally takes the accusative), the tip-off that it is an antiquism for "vor", i.e., "That Thy creation shall be before Thee".

BSG at Jul 4, 2018

Note the G Mixolydian mode/key sig., as well as the slightly antique (vii/6-3) cadence to D minor exploiting it (m. 6), very similar to the easy-to-confuse "Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott", and the Mixo.-obligatory final plagal cadence ("F#'s need not apply!").

225. Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit     BWV 371

BSG at Nov 8, 2018

There are several preludes upon this lengthy cantus in the Clavierübung III; the 5-voice organo pleno stile antico canto fermo in basso setting (BWV 671) is my particular favorite.

226. Lass, o Herr, dein Ohr sich neigen     BWV 372

BSG at Nov 8, 2018

The accent and length of the penultimate note are different, but the first line of this is identical to that of the far better-known "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut."

230. Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren     BWV 137.5, 120a

Samuel Ricke at Nov 13, 2018

Amazing, one of my favorite cantatas by J.S. Bach! Thank you!

SDG at Nov 13, 2018

Thank you also for your kind response.

eensio at Nov 10, 2018

Spectacular gorgeous! Thank you for your work!

SDG at Nov 10, 2018


231. Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren (Richte dich, Liebste)     BWV 57.8

BSG at Nov 9, 2018

The minor-seventh chord on the downbeat of 9 is pretty jazzy (it is prepared and resolved completely rigorously, though).

236. Lobt Gott, ihr Christen allzugleich (nun danket All und bringet Ehr)     BWV 195.6

BSG at Nov 13, 2018

Wonderful, short, ebullient, fairly easy Orgelbüchlein setting - BWV 609.

237. Mach's mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt'     BWV 377

BSG at Nov 13, 2018

What a great chorale! The setting is, again, "Chorale Writing 101", all the bread-and-butter of chorale-writing with no exotic tricks. Compare the St. John setting, "Durch dein Gefängnis". The exquisite eponymous opening aria of the Cantata BWV 156, "Ich steh' mit einem Fuß im Grabe" ( ) features this chorale as cantus firmus.

239. Mach's mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt (Durch dein Gefängniss, Gottes Sohn)     BWV 245.22

BSG at Nov 14, 2018

The transition from A minor to C#7 in m. 8 is eye- and ear-opening to the point of calling to mind jazz chromatic chord-handling.

BSG at Nov 13, 2018

This wonderful chorale is poised, of course, at the point in the narrative where the Roman soldiers toss Jesus into prison, explaining how Jesus' incarceration is the instrument of our freedom. The chromatic treatement of "unsre Knechtschaft" is to be contrasted with the last lines of other settings (posted here).

241. Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht, Jesus     BWV 379

BSG at Nov 14, 2018

The resolution of the second scale degree to the first under the tonic chord (resolution of a seventh (7-4-2) by bass descent) at the end of m. 8 is extremely rare and forbidden by many writers. Cf BWV 159 #5.

BSG at Nov 14, 2018

This is NOT the usual melody or hymn associated with this title in Bach! Cf. #242 etc., which are. That's what ", Jesus" is there to indicate.

242. Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht     BWV 380

BSG at Nov 14, 2018

I've written a decent Orgelbüchlein-style chorale prelude on it, too:

BSG at Nov 14, 2018

Bach left us no chorale preludes on this wonderful tune, but there is a cantata on it extant, BWV 124, as well as other movements featuring it, particularly the exquisite duet "Nimm mich mir" from BWV 163: .

243. Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht (Nicht nach Welt, nach Himmel nicht)     BWV 70.11

BSG at Nov 17, 2018

The soprano-alto figure on the second beat of m.4 makes sense as an ornament on the chorale (as well in other settings) (compare m.8), but note that the alto is at quarter-note octaves with the bass, and this little figure is trying to excuse it on the basis of the demands of 7 parts. This would not be acceptable in 4 parts. Note that there is not even a leading-tone (F#) in the chorus in the chord in the second half of the measure -- the string parts are absolutely required (i.e., obbligato).

BSG at Nov 17, 2018

The introduction of the E4 in vn1 in m3 second beat, forcing the cantus into, and to resolve, a 2-3 suspension, is really a grandmaster-like chess-move (against the cantus :). The second violin does the same on beat 4, but that's somehow less striking, because we expect a dominant seventh gesture there.

BSG at Nov 17, 2018

This astounding setting is truly in seven parts. At just about every note, every chord note is (of necessity) doubled. This is much less chaotic than the 7-voiced final chorale of BWV 105..

245. Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht (Jesum lass' ich nicht von mir)     BWV 157.5

BSG at Nov 17, 2018

The ubiquitous repeated quarters in this melody almost provide a melody in half-notes, facilitating two-against-one (quarter notes) and four-against-one (eighth-note) accompanying gestures (yes, to some degree this is true in any chorale in quarter-notes, but not as much as here).

247. Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht (Jesum lass' ich nicht vor mir)     BWV 244b.29

BSG at Nov 18, 2018

I didn't know that. It must have been the Schlußchoral of Part I, which currently ends in E Major (with the magnificent choral fantasia on O Mensch, bewein...", originally part of the St John), not Part II (deeply in flats).....

248. Meines Lebens letzte Zeit     BWV 381

BSG at Nov 18, 2018

This song-like chorale is quite unusual in the degree of its exploitation of accented passing tones and unusual 5-2 bass suspensions. "Nunmehro" (the management of the 4th) is very peculiar....

250. Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin (Er ist das Heil uns selig' Licht)     BWV 83.5

BSG at Nov 19, 2018

Note how mm. 5 and 6 cantus are the identical shape repeated at the lower 4th, which allowed Bach to set an 8-note rising scale (= two tetrachords at the upper fifth) as their bass!

BSG at Nov 19, 2018

This is a true Dorian tune, best known to Bach-lovers from the "Actus Tragicus" cantata, BWV 106. Note the T/B crossings, including the 6-4-looking one in m. 10, that demand contrabass (or 16' organ).

251. Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin (Er ist das Heil und selig' Licht)     BWV 125.6

BSG at Nov 20, 2018

Gertim has researched the manuscript, and the E is definitely there. It does violate all principles of functional counterpoint -- the clear. on-beat dominant seventh chord's seventh is required to resolve down in any inversion, very basic. I cannot figure out what he was thinking.

BSG at Nov 19, 2018

The upward-resolving minor/dominant 7 (alto E) in the last beat of 4 is crazy -- why is that not F#? The Kalmus book indeed shows E; BGA vol 26 for BWV 125 shows the same, BUT the figuring is #, not 7 / #, supporting my supposition. I haven't checked the manuscript, but any competent contrapuntist would mark that as an error.

252. Mitten wir im Leben sind     BWV 383

BSG at Nov 21, 2018

Gorgeous Phrygian tune; compare the ends of mm. 4, 20, 24 and 26 for the identical Phrygian cadence in the cantus (G F E) realized with diverse treatments!

258. Nun danket alle Gott     BWV 252

BSG at Nov 22, 2018

The first horn part doubles the Soprano. The second horn part is a weird beast -- it is harmonically unnecessary (thus defying the term "obbligato"), and not completely contrapuntally independent of the alto.

259. Nun danket alle Gott     BWV 79.3

BSG at Nov 23, 2018

The late showman/virtuoso Virgil Fox made this into a (surprisingly not difficult) beautiful organ piece.

261. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein     BWV 388

BSG at Nov 24, 2018

This tune derives from a German folk-song "So weiß ich eins, daß mich erfreut", as does the Chanukah hymn "Rock of Ages" ("Maoz tzur", not the Protestant hymn by and tune-titled Toplady), instantly recognizable in the first two measures.

262. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein (Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit)     BWV 307

BSG at Nov 24, 2018

This is the cantus (in the tenor pedal) of the wonderful eponymous prelude BWV 734, whose moto perpetuo right-hand sixteenths and eighth-note left-hand calliope-like bass illustrate "freut" quite joyously.

263. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein (Ich steh and deiner Krippen hier)     BWV 248.59

enkidu at Dec 22, 2018

Unusual melody for "Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein". I know Luther also composed this melody, but another is still common today. Even Bach (BWV 388) didn't use it, did he? This original melody from "Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier", which was used in the Christmas Oratorio, is to the present day associated with "Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit".

BSG at Dec 22, 2018

This is the melody he used in the well-known moto perpetuo organ prelude, BWV 734, with this title, although "Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit" is given as a subtitle.

BSG at Nov 26, 2018

See the 3 kings bowing down in the bass in the first measures?

264. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland     BWV 36.8

BSG at Nov 26, 2018

The little figure in the cantus in m 2 and m 8 is impossible to accompany at the quarter note without creating parallel fifths or octaves. Bach's solutions, such as the two here, invariably involve eighth-note-moving harmonies.

267. Nun lasst uns Gott, dem Herren (Erhalt uns in der Wahrheit)     BWV 79.6

eensio at Dec 7, 2018

I agree with Mr Adams: really magnificent work!

cadams at Dec 6, 2018

Thank you for your efforts in giving us all these wonderful scores.

SDG at Dec 6, 2018

Thank you for saying. It makes it all worthwhile...

268. Nun lasst uns Gott, dem Herren (Sprich Ja zu meinen Thaten)     BWV 194.12

BSG at Dec 5, 2018

A three-oboe ensemble is featured in the huge opening chorus of BWV 194. The very unusual middle fifth voice given to it here is so explained, i.e., occupation for the third oboist. The use of the part to carry the cantus C into a 7th as the cantus ascends in 12 is really cute. It doubles the tenor (JSB throws in the towel) in mm 4-7. Can't go below C4.

269. Nun lob', mein' Seel', den Herren     BWV 389

Leon Zimmermann at Dec 6, 2018

great work!

SDG at Dec 6, 2018

Thank you Leon! Great to hear that you like what I put online (as I have noticed before, with the scores of 'mine' that I've noticed you putting in your favorites-list).

272. Nun lob', mein' Seel', den Herren (Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren)     BWV 29.8

cadams at Dec 11, 2018


SDG at Dec 11, 2018

Thank you Charles!

BSG at Dec 11, 2018

Terrific sounding! Terrific!

SDG at Dec 11, 2018

Thanks Bernie!

277. O Gott, du frommer Gott (Ich freue mich in dir)     BWV 398

BSG at Dec 12, 2018

There is also a minor-key tune (D4 G4 F#4 G4 A4 Bb4) to these words, not represented in RK, but the basis of the organ chorale partita BWV 767.

BSG at Dec 12, 2018

It's not too difficult to play, either...

280. O Gott, du frommer Gott (Was frag' ich nach der Welt)     BWV 64.4

cadams at Dec 13, 2018

For what it's worth, when I transcribed the last two movements of Cantata 51 (see elsewhere) the trumpet line was purely entitled "tromba." I believe that something called a clarino trumpet was used by Bach, especially where high notes are needed. For the sake of playback only, it often went above its range), I used a Trumpet in C in Musescore's instrument bank.

284. O Herzensangst, o Bangigkeit und Zagen     BWV 400

BSG at Dec 13, 2018

Pretty good "angst", a 6-4-2 chord at the end of a chorale-line (resolving an octave higher).

285. O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig     BWV 401

BSG at Apr 1, 2018

This monumental hymn derives from the Agnus Dei plainchant. While the most renownwed setting is unquestionably the opening chorus of Bach's St. Matthew Passion (although calling this incomparably expansive movement a "setting" of this hymn is not quite right), the canonic prelude on it in the Orgelbüchlein is well worth knowing. FWIW, the first line is almost identical to that of "Ah, vous dirai-je maman"/"Twinkle twinkle"/"Baa baa black sheep" (known by other names in other tongues), the subject of my chorale-harmonization tutorial, .

286. O Mensch, bewein' dein Sünde gross     BWV 402

BSG at Aug 8, 2018

In m. 14, beats 3-4, the tenor takes an octave leap in the middle of a tritone passing-tone gesture; my computer program noticed an augmented 11th jumping to a direct-5th (tenor and bass)! This IVmaj->iimin->vii->i gesture in F minor is wonderful. It is echoed in 16.

Jan Willem van Ree at Jul 12, 2018

Een prachtige koraalzetting! Erg interessant om Bachs drie 'O Mensch bewein' dein Sünde groß'-zettingen met elkaar te vergelijken.

SDG at Jul 27, 2018

Dank je!

BSG at Apr 1, 2018

This hymn, this setting, is just SO beautiful....

BSG at Apr 1, 2018

There is really "not enough space in this margin" (does that qualify as a "Fermata"?) to say all that needs be said about this magnificent hymn, whose text is a complete biographical narrative of Jesus' time on earth, ideal grist for the poetic mill of a great artist. Bach's elaborate/fantasia setting of this hymn, for chorus and orchestra, which closes Part I of the Matthäuspassion, is indescribable in the drama and force with which it expounds and develops that narrative: . The lengthy, adagio cantilena Orgelbüchlein setting, BWV 622, often cited as the greatest of all chorale preludes, succeeds as well at that dramatic challenge.

thementalhandle at Apr 1, 2018

Thanks for collecting all these chorals, btw!
The eb accidental in m 17.4, probably a "courtesy, cautionary. or reminder accidental" is funny ;)

SDG at Apr 1, 2018

You're welcome! (It is needed, because of the E natural in the same measure; 17.1 bass).

289. O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (O Welt, sieh' hier dein Leben)     BWV 405

BSG at Dec 14, 2018

The Heinrich Isaak melody, as well known, was a secular song, "Innsbruck, ich muß dich lassen".

290. O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (O Welt, sieh' hier dein Leben)     BWV 394

BSG at Dec 15, 2018

The 6-5 suspension-chord at "Ehren", the totally expectable gesture here (cf "-schweren") is notable in the separation of an additional octave between the dissonating 6 and 5. The penultimate beat of the alto is curious, too, E D would be expectable.

295. O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (In allen meinen Thaten)     BWV 13.6

BSG at Dec 15, 2018

The wailing opening eponymous tenor aria of this cantata, , is well worth familiarity.

299. O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen     BWV 405

BSG at Dec 16, 2018

Brahms' super-Bach-like "posthumous" (published) organ choral on this, triplet time manuals-only 4vv, is quite wonderful. Maybe I should prepare it for the site ... Bach's treatment of the thrillng scale in mm. 8-9 is actually pretty conservative.

300. O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen     BWV 406

BSG at Dec 16, 2018

This is (obviously) a different melody for this hymn from #299, that latter well-known by virtue of Brahms.

301. O wir armen Sünder     BWV 407

BSG at Dec 17, 2018

Note how the C C# D D# E chromatic run in half-notes in the "Kyrie" is prefigured by the same in eighth-notes at "grosse Noth" (m. 11).

BSG at Dec 17, 2018

This unsourced chorale is really two, a very simple tune resembling "Onward, Christian Soldiers", an a gorgeous motet-style "Kyrie, Eleison", to which Bach has supplied a chromatic-step bass line, giving rise to powerful harmonies. The "Onward, Christian Soldiers" motif (A A A A, the dominant), occurs in mm. 1, 5, 9, and 13, set by Bach on four different ways in two different keys, a case study in variety (of course, what follows the pattern exerts strong influence upon its setting in each case).

302. Puer natus in Bethlehem     BWV 65.2

BSG at Dec 4, 2018

The careful modulatory sequence in mm. 12-14 is admirably worth study (the bass in particular).

304. Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele     BWV 180.7

BSG at Dec 18, 2018

See also Bach's famous organ prelude on this, BWV 654, as well as Brahm's famous manuals-only posthumous one, as well as @timothyser2's new and brilliant one, .

BSG at Dec 18, 2018

See for a full analysis of this chorale (in Eb).

307. Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig     BWV 410

BSG at Dec 18, 2018

See (my MS/Hauptwerk rendering of the climactic Var X of BWV 768) as well as , Daniel Roth's 1999 St. Sulpice vid of same.

BSG at Dec 18, 2018

The most renowned use of this uncommon chorale in Bach is unquestionably the wonderful organ chorale-partita BWV 768, the only one of the chorale-partitas whose authenticity is certain. Daniel Roth's performance (see other comment) on the not-Baroque-but-not-be-beat organ at St. Sulpice (Paris), where he is -Titulaire-, is not to be missed.

310. So giebst du nun, mein Jesu, gute Nacht     BWV 412

BSG at Dec 18, 2018

This is one of the handful of Schemelli-based ones, is it not (note the song-like rhythms)?

SDG at Dec 18, 2018

Right, indeed. No. 67 from Schemelli's Gesangbuch.

311. Sollt' ich meinem Gott nicht singen     BWV 413

BSG at Oct 17, 2018

Measure 27 (I checked the source) is incomprehensible. The very typical, antique sequence IV-vii(6-3)-I is interrupted by the very common and powerful trick, on the third 8th, of the bass jumping to the dominant to create a full, perfectly prepared 7th chord. Then on the third beat, the seventh is thrown to the wind, echoed in the bass as as "accented neighbor" (not an approved gesture), and V7 becomes V. Do not try this at home!

313. Uns ist ein Kindlein heut' gebor'n     BWV 414

BSG at Dec 4, 2018

"Herr Jesu Christ dich zu uns wend" #139 (as well as the ebullient organ trio, BWV 655).

314. Valet will ich dir geben     BWV 415

BSG at Dec 18, 2018

"All Glory, Laud, and Honor, to Thee, Redeemer King" to Anglophones, sung on Palm Sunday. Bach's huge chorale prelude with the cantus in long notes in the pedal under joyous triplet-sixteenths, BWV 736, is a masterpiece.

316. Vater unser im Himmelreich     BWV 416

BSG at Dec 18, 2018

This is the setting with the unresolved fourth in the second complete measure (tenor) (See my monograph here on the "IV minor 7 problem"). And on the fourth chord, diminished fifth to perfect fifth in the S & A. The (prepared) major 7 at the downbeat of 10 is wonderful.

318. Vater unser im Himmelreich     BWV 101.7

BSG at Dec 19, 2018

Measure 7 is eye-opening -- the very expectable IV-V eighth-note gesture on the second beat goes not to VI (F), but another inversion of IV (D), D7 6-5-3 -- yet followd by the same for V !

323. Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her (Schaut hin! dort liegt im finstern Stall)     BWV 248.17

BSG at Dec 4, 2018

The irregular bass suspensions in the middle of 7 are exceedingly hard to justify/explain ..

324. Von Gott will ich nicht lassen     BWV 417

BSG at Sep 15, 2018

The 5-2 bass suspension on "mich" (m.10; cf BWV 159 #5) resolving, as it were, to a 6-4-2 (B7) on the second eighth, instead of the usual 6, is worth note and study.

BSG at Sep 15, 2018

The fifth-avoidance kludge of the last two chords T/B doesn't really work (in 4v). B3 in the tenor on the last chord would be better, IMO.

330. Wär' Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit (Gott Lob und Dank)     BWV 14/5

BSG at Dec 21, 2018

One of very few tunes containing a real chromatic step (first full measure, #1). The opening movement of the eponymous cantata, BWV 14, with its inversion canons and cantus in the horn, is quite spectacular. The successive ninth chords on the first beat of m. 9 (in the present chorale) are quite ear-opening, too.

339. Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgethan     BWV 250

BSG at Jun 25, 2018

The lower horn part is really interesting; it is not at all independent but for a note or two here or there; otherwise, it runs with alto, tenor (m.0), and bass (m.9) as pleases it.

340. Was Gott thut, das ist wohlgethan     BWV 12.7

BSG at Sep 30, 2018

The oboe/trumpet is "truly independent" here, i.e., this is truly in 5 parts. Note the frequent doubling of leading tones (e.g., 2nd beat of m 2) as a result (in a way that would be unacceptable in 4 parts). Note also the Bb-C against C-Bb at the end of m3.

342. Was mein Gott will, g'scheh' allzeit     BWV 244.25

SDG at Oct 10, 2018

Here is a link to a picture (copy and past the link to the address bar of your internet browser) to show what is normally hidden (except the 'obligato fermata, which I keep visible):

344. Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh' allzeit     BWV 72.6

eensio at Dec 29, 2018

Interesting is in the beginning of measure 10 is the "pseudo"octave passage. And tenors jump afterwards.
Thank you about this work for chorales of Bach!

SDG at Dec 29, 2018

I don't know if it is a pseudo octave (end of 9?) passage ( ). Looks like a full octave to me (tenor-bass). Thank you!

BSG at Dec 29, 2018

What he means is that this is "keyboard bad", i.e., if you play m 9 at the keyboard, parallel octaves A-G between the fingers will result (the 3rd and 4th beats). But it's not for the keyboard! - the concerned parts have no faulty parallels. This happens often in Bach, and is not often discussed and has no real name (other than "parallel avoided by voice crossing"), but the necessary condition is that the motions of the parts make sense individually. I don't see it in m .10 (his comment changed).

350. Welt, ade! ich bin dein müde     BWV 27.6

BSG at Dec 29, 2018

Not "J.S. Bach" at all, by the way --- he cut-pasted it whole (into this excellent cantata). What a shame he didn't have BWV numbers...

353. Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist     BWV 428

BSG at Dec 31, 2018

This chorale fully analyzed, with compositional highlights pointed out, is available at .

358. Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein     BWV 431

BSG at Dec 30, 2018

The famous "deathbed chorale (setting)", BWV 668, is a setting of a verse of this "Vor deinen Thron tret' ich heirmit", although accounts of its "deathbed" origin are contentious.

361. Werde munter, mein Gemüthe (Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen)     BWV 244.40

BSG at Mar 25, 2017

The English version of this hymn, “Come with us, o Blessed Jesus”, is that in 3/4, "Jesus bleibet meine Freude", extracted from Cantata 147, where, known in English as the syntax-challenging “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”, it forms the heart of one of Bach's most beloved and widely renowned movements.

369. Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten (Sing, bet' und geh' auf Gottes Wegen)     BWV 93.7

pswords711441 at Mar 22, 2019

My Oma used to recite these words as a prayer, over and over, in her later years. They kept her present and grounded, though she'd lived through huge adversity. She had obviously followed them as she led her family in enduring the terrible poverty of the 1920s and 30s, resisting Nazism and migrating to the US during WWII.

371. Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten (Ich armer Mensch, ich armer Sünder)     BWV 179.6

BSG at Aug 27, 2018

Alto and bass in the first half of M. 1 would get a "parallel octave by suspension" red-mark in many places.

BSG at Aug 27, 2018

An amazing setting. The Alto f natural in the last bar in particular , either an unprepared flat 9th or suggestive of a change in chromatic quality of a suspension in mid-flight.

372. Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten (Wer weiss wie nahe mir mein Ende)     BWV 166.6

BSG at Aug 27, 2018

This is about the simplest and most straightforward setting of this versatile tune; barely an eighth-note; compare its several brethren in this collection.

379. Wir Christenleut' (Die Sünd' macht Leid)     BWV 40/3

eensio at Dec 5, 2018

I like this chorale. There are fine chromatic in bass and intermediate dominant chords in the last measures.

383. Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält     BWV 258

BSG at Dec 31, 2018

Comparison with Telemann's much simpler harmonization, apparently copy-pasted by Bach for a lost cantata and thus in this collection as #387, Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält (Lass deine Kirch' und unser Land) , is extremely instructive.

387. Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält (Lass deine Kirch' und unser Land)     BWV 219.5

BSG at Dec 31, 2018

Note-by-note comparison of this with Bach's own harmonization in the same key, #383, Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält is extremely instructive.

389. Wo Gott zum Haus nicht gibt sein' Gunst     BWV 438

BSG at Mar 3, 2018

The last line makes me sing "Auf(f) Erd' ist nicht sein's Gleichen...." (i.e., "Ein' feste Burg").

SDG at Mar 3, 2018

yes, indeed. It looks a lot like it.