HOW TO USE THIS VIDEO ...
This video is designed to help you learn to follow contrapuntal music. Various aspects of the music are encoded to make them easy to recognize visually, so that your eyes can lead your ears.
This piece is composed in four parts; these are distinguished by color:
Soprano (red), played on oboe
Alto (green), played on English horn (like an oboe but pitched lower)
Tenor (blue), played on bass clarinet
Bass (violet), played on bassoon
Five elements of the piece are highlighted and distinguished by style of graphic:
Main Theme, ellipses connected by lines
Counter-theme, circles connected by lines
Chromatic Lines (notes moving by the smallest step), boxes that rotate
Four eighth-notes in a row, dots which get connected when they play
Octave leaps in the bass, rhombi
Everything else is shown in light-colored bars.
Here are some suggested steps for using this video ...
1. Focus your attention on the main theme whenever it occurs. Things to notice: (a) The theme is sometimes "decorated" by adding shorter notes between the longer ones. Can you hear that it's the same? Can you sing it either way? (b) The theme sometimes starts at the beginning of a measure (aligned with a bar-line) but sometimes starts partway into a measure. Can you feel that it is syncopated (not happening on the beat)?
2. Focus your attention on a single part (instrument) for the whole piece. Things to notice: (a) Which part is easiest to keep track of? Which is hardest? (b) Sometimes it's easy to hear a part, and sometimes it's hard; what makes the difference?
3. Focus your attention on the "four eighth-notes in a row" pattern. Things to notice: (a) Whenever the main theme happens, this happens immediately after in the same part (in fact, these notes are usually considered to be part of the main theme; they've been treated separately here since they also occur in other places). (b) They go in both directions. (c) They sometimes happen in more than one part at the same time; when this happens, can you hear both at once?
4. Focus your attention on the counter-theme. Things to notice: (a) It alternates quickly between two instruments. (b) It's always accompanied by chromatic lines, the octave leaps in the bass, four eighth-notes in a row pattern in the bass. Can you hear all these elements at once?
5. Focus your attention on the new elements whenever they start. Things to notice: (a) except for the very end, one of the highlighted elements is always happening. (b) Often, more than one of the highlighted elements is happening at a time.
6. Don't focus your attention on anything in particular. Just watch the video. Things to notice: (a) I like it better than I did the first time I listened to it.
7. Focus your attention on the hands playing the music on the piano. Can you follow each of the highlighted elements, and see how they're being played? Things to notice: (a) It doesn't match perfectly.
8. Watch some of the other YouTube videos of this piece. Things to notice: (a) Some of these are performances on a single (keyboard) instrument; can you hear the separate parts?
Here are some other YouTube videos of this piece:
(clavichord, Matteo Messori)
(harpsichord, Robert Hill)
(organ, Glenn Gould)
(organ, B. Foccroulle)
(organ, Todd Wilson)
(viol consort, Jordi Savall)
(brass, Canadian Brass)
(string orchestra, Rudolph Barshai)
9. Follow each of the parts in the score: