Bach Two Part Inventions, blog metrics, harmonic analysis, J.S. Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach, music theory, piano blog, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten

Theory embedded in phrasing/musical expression

What am I doing up at 2 a.m.? To put it simply, answering an adult student’s inquiry about the theoretical analysis of J.S. Bach Invention 13 in A minor. At our last lesson, I had tweaked her curiosity about the harmonic dimension of the last two pages where modulations abound (especially measures 9-18) Yet as I spoke a form of Greek to her, since her Theory background was scant, she knew enough to ask the right questions about 7th chords and their meandering instability.

In response, I could have produced a mini-thesis on the harmonic landscape through broken chord sequences, but instead, I grabbed an extra post midnight cup of Folger’s and created a video with all the spoon fed information she needed. (’twas a mighty leap from pablum to a meat and potatoes main course.)

Nonetheless, my analysis flowed into the universe of artistic expression: how to phrase, shape, and dip in deference to harmonic rhythm.

To this extent, we were on the same page….

J.S. Bach Invention 13 in A minor p. 2

Bach A minor Invention p. 3

2 thoughts on “Theory embedded in phrasing/musical expression”

  1. As always, thank you. This piece is so interesting to me and I want to understand it and hear its harmonies more so my birthday present to myself will be to study music theory. Hope you got some sleep!


  2. Music theory woven into piano study brings a deeper perspective… I slept extra long so I’m rejuvenated for the Messiah Sing Along tonight in the Hills. Heading to gym first. You will notice my room change on Friday.. at least on my side of the aisle. No more accidents waiting to happen between pianos.


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