Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Gerne Will Ich Mich Bequemen

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Johann Sebastian Bach composed this piece. This piece is part of the St Matthew Passion, BWV244. It is a musical composition from the Passions written by Bach in 1727. The St Matthew Passion is written for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra. Picander (Christian Friedrich Henrici) is the libretto of this composition. This is a scared music. Only 2 out of 4 or 5 setting of the Passions survived. Bach was a devouted Christian, so he composed it for Good Friday. Gerne will ich mich bequemen (Gladly will I am comfortable) is the title of this piece. The context of the song is based on biblical story and it is in German text.

It is in Da capo aria form where A section is repeated. The instrumentation for this aria are 2 violin which intermingle between the melody and a basso continuo. Bach give more variation to the melody by switching its mode from major to minor mode. This alter its emotional significance completely and is used to provide vivid contrast. The idea of a change of mode in a melody implies some harmonic considerations. He exploited harmonic variation to marvelous effect in this piece. This shown in the starting of the piece in G minor in the ritornello section and then it modulates to D minor at bar 25, and it is back to G minor at bar 65.

The first section of the piece starts with a Ritornello and then come the aria. After the aria, there is the ritornello section again which use the first half of the Ritornello, this can be found in bar 24. Bach often writes pieces for human voices that can fit in instrumental idioms for example the Ritornello section at the beginning of the piece and where the bassist starts to sing, the melody is similar. This is how Bach imply his knowledge into his work. Symbolism, symmetry and mathematical relationships can be found in this piece : whenever there is this word “Kreuz” which mean cross, Bach will always have a sharp in it.

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The sharp (#) represent + (cross). This is one of the way he uses symbolism. Word painting can be found in this piece in bar 61 “trink” (drink) the melody is going up with chromatic melodies, Bach wanted to portrait the action of drinking. The piece only have 2 dynamic throughout the piece which are : piano and forte There are lots of Diminished 7th chords in this piece which is not common in Baroque period, during these time, Church plays a very important role in music, they believe that dissonance is not a good sound to praise the god.

Bach uses these chords and sudden modulations to accompany Jesus’s apocalyptic prophecy. The recitative often set the mood for a particular passages by highlighting emotionally changed words such as “Gerne” (gladly). There is a bit of development in the B section but we doesn’t conclude that section as a development section because only part of the melody and rhythm change, we still can see the same use of Fortspinnung in the B section.

Fortspinnung (spinning forth), it was conceived in 1915, it is the development or “spinning out” of a short melodic motif to form a complete phrase, often using sequences or intervallic change. It is much used in the Baroque period rather less in the Classical period. In this piece, Bach tries touch upon many basic human problems such as love, hatred and betrayal. The story itself is given to the Evangelist. Sometime Bach put his signature in some of his composition. His signature can be found in bar 65.

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