Urtext = Plain Text? – An Analysis of the Prélude in G Major, Part 4 (Measures 31-42)


This is a translation of the post „Urtext = Klartext? “, January 21, 2014
by Dr. Marshall Tuttle. 

Michael Bach

This is the fourth part of my presentation transcription
Urtext = Klartext?

of 4 May 2013 at the Foundation Domnick Nürtingen near Stuttgart


It is helpful to open a second browser window with the blog post “The slurs in the Prelude of the Suite in G Major for Solo Cello “
in order to have the score visible.



JSB = Johann Sebastian Bach
AMB = Anna Magdalena Bach
2-slur, 3-slur, 4-slur = slurs over 2, 3 or 4 notes
1. Zz = 1st beat of a measure
c4 = c ‘ (middle C)
DD = dominant of the dominant
D7 chord = dominant seventh chord
D9 chord = dominant ninth chord

The terms “Master tone” and “Servant tone” are borrowed from Thomas Mann ‘s novel Doctor Faustus. They distinguish between chord tones and non-chord such as passing notes. For details see Part 1 of the analysis.


Preliminary remark:

The aforementioned sequence of thirds c4 – a3 – fis3 – d3 – h2 – g2 – e2 includes, as discussed, the triads of the D7 chord, the tonic and the relative minor. The triad of the relative minor to the dominant is also included:

 Prélude G Terzfolge e2-c4

Looking at sequence of thirds starting with the note C2 and rising up to A3, the result is the triads of the subdominant, the relative minor, the tonic, the relative minor of the dominant, and the dominant. That is, the seventh C4 of the D7 chord is in this order the root of the subdominant chord.


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