Friday, July 09, 2010

Classical Friday . . . sort of.

Usually Fridays are reserved for literary excursions, but this week, I wanted to do something different. I want to share one of my favorite pieces of music. This particular piece is from "A Little Nightmare Music," by P.D.Q. Bach, the 21st of Johann Sebastian Bach's 20 children.

Prof. Peter Schickele, the only scholar who will study P.D.Q. Bach, divides the life of the composer into three parts: the "Initial Plunge" (when P.D.Q. learned the principles of music), the "Soused Period" (or the "Brown Bag" period, when he forgot what he learned in the Initial Plunge), and "Contrition" (the last short years of his life).

This piece demonstrates P.D.Q.'s excellent grasp and ability to plagiarize. It was a common practice for composers to borrow themes, but this piece is an excellent case-study in the composer's frequent use of tracing paper. Enjoy!

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