An Unusual Effect in the Canon Per Tonos from J. S. Bach's Musical Offering

Collins, Denis and Schloss, W. Andrew (2001) An Unusual Effect in the Canon Per Tonos from J. S. Bach's Musical Offering. Music Perception, 19 2: 141-154. doi:10.1525/mp.2001.19.2.141

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Author Collins, Denis
Schloss, W. Andrew
Title An Unusual Effect in the Canon Per Tonos from J. S. Bach's Musical Offering
Journal name Music Perception   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0730-7829
Publication date 2001-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1525/mp.2001.19.2.141
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 19
Issue 2
Start page 141
End page 154
Total pages 13
Editor Robert Gjerdingen
Place of publication Berkeley, CA, United States
Publisher University of California Press * Journals Division
Language eng
Abstract We propose that the phrase repetitions in the canon per tonos from J.S. Bach's Musical Offering are not recognized by listeners as being successively upward. We examine possible causes for this effect and suggest that it may be due to Bach's use of chromatic harmony. To test this hypothesis, we conducted an experiment in which one group of listeners was presented with Bach's canon, while another group was presented with a modified version of the canon in which the harmonies were altered in order to make the upward phrase repetitions more apparent. We found that subjects recognized the ascending pattern in the modified canon with greater ease than they recognized the ascending pattern in Bach's canon. We also consider briefly why Bach may have wished to cause such an effect.
Keyword chromatic harmony
phrase repetitions
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Music Publications
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Created: Fri, 22 Oct 2004, 10:00:00 EST by Elizabeth Jordan on behalf of School of Music