Friday, April 15, 2005

Ron Nelson- Passacaglia

I’m playing the synthesizer in Ron Nelson’s “Homage” on Bach’s Passacaglia, so I thought I’d analyze it, especially since we just recently analyzed the original version. As in Bach’s original, this piece fundamentally revolves around the 8-measure bass continuo. This piece takes the exact Organ pedal from Bach’s piece and adds parts form their. The work is itself a variation on the Bach bass theme. It is very neat to see the difference between having just an organ play all the parts and then an entire band. Having all the other instruments allows for a much greater amount of variation. The bass part is passed around in multi-voices and goes through different amounts of timbre. Also, the return of the theme is backed with more power when more than one group of instruments playing the theme and a group of drums emphasizing the arrival. I believe that the main instruments that play the theme are the synthesizer (of course), the trumpets, and the trombones. In this piece, the most important elements aside from the obvious return of the theme that contribute to structural sensations are the extreme changes in dynamics and densitiy (usually a combination of both.

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