MUSICTEACHERS.CO.UK VOLUME 2 ISSUE 9, MARCH 2001  
Online Journal

4 – Aria
The schematic that follows shows the complexity of harmonic writing in this extract. Melodically, the oboe and alto parts are interactive – each relies on the other in a dance-like duet. This is quite typical of Bach’s aria writing (c.f. Cantata 144, for example). Whittaker (The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach Vol. 2, Oxford 1959, 164) describes the opening oboe melody that as “blissfully happy” The text continues: wofern es dein Wille, zerstöret darneider! (if it is Thy will, destroyed below). The soul is already cleansed and ready for holy Zion. The new man eagerly anticipates the life to be. The continuo never falters in its moto perpetuo; in fact the quavers are continual, coming to a halt once before the final ritornello in bar 79. The melody is modified for the second part (bar 48): Nur schone der Seele, und mache sie rein, um vor dir ein heiliges Zion zu sein (Only spare the soul, and make it clean, in order before Thee a holy Zion to be), and the oboe plays a rising aspiring idea. The chief melody serves, in addition to this, as oboe counterpoint.

Bar What happens
1 Ritornello – Rhythm like a siciliano although in 3/8. E-flat major
2-3 Rises to E-flat7 then to D-flat which makes the chord the dominant of A-flat
3.3-4 ½ close
9-10 Full close in B-flat. 2 bar imitation of opening starting in B-flat. The diminished chord on 10.3 takes harmony to c min. for:
11-12 sequence, 2 bars (in relative minor)
13 =3
14 Progression 1 – V7d in B-flat II – lb – figure wrong on beat iii
15 beat 1 – c min.(V7 in E-flat); beat 2 – II7 b; beat 3 – V
16 Chord 1 Vocal part begins (fine on repeat)
17 =1
18 =2
19 =3
20 =4: b-flat minor chord at the end of the bar anticipates diminished 7th chord in 21. Harmony goes away from opening.
21 Dim7 pivots to new key of F
22.3 E-flat chord acts as dominant of A-flat
23-24 2-bar ritornello in E-flat
27 Note Dim7 chord on zerstöret (destroy). Harmony to F major with A-natural
29-32 2 x 2-bar ritornello in E-flat
34.3 A dim takes harmony to B-flat min
38-39 Full close for 10-bar ritornello in B-flat major - this echoes opening but heralds new section starting at
48.3 2nd part – c minor “only spare the soul, and make it clean, in order before Thee a holy Zion to be”
56 Note the rising aspiring idea of the oboe. Cadence in A-flat major
59 Chromatic bass takes harmony to C major, acting as the Dominant of F
62.3 E-flat takes the harmony to B-flat (dominant of E-flat)
66 =1
67 =2
68 =3; beat 3=V7of G major
69 Major/minor twist
70 C7 - dominant of
71 F minor (Chord I)
72-73 A-flat7 (I7); E-natural makes chord act as III of f minor – which in turn becomes Vdim of B-flat
76 B-flat makes chord V of E-flat
76.3-77 VI-1 in F. The A-flat 4/2 chord (V7d) – Ib in E-flat
78.3-79 Full close in E-flat and reprise of section A


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