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Talk: Research in Music Series - Owen Belcher

Event Details

September 26, 2018
12:20 pm

Old Chapel

Room: 1st Flr Conference Room

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Gary Karpinsky

Analyzing Bach's Cantatas: A Case Study.

Owen Belcher, Music Theory faculty, UMass Amherst.


Despite Bach's status for performers, listeners, and scholars, the genre in which he was most prolific - the church cantata - has received little attention from North American music theorists. There is almost no detailed analysis of cantatas. On the other hand, chorale harmonizations abstracted from cantatas and passions play a crucial and long-standing role in theory pedagogy. After a brief contextual  overview, this talk focuses on the analysis of a single movement, the trio aria "Zedern muessen von den Winden," from what is believed to be Bach's earliest surviving cantata, Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150. The discussion demonstrates an interpretive approach that combines technical considerations with hermeneutics, and which is modeled after David Lewin's philosophy of analysis.