das opfer

13 August 2013 - muzikologi psychanalyse

Coincidence or plagiarism? You decide, you decode. I had come across this video back in May 2011 on YouTube, and had used it in one of my ICONEA seminars in London (8 June 2011), and later on at IRPALL’s Musique et Literatture study days in Toulouse (17 & 18 June 2011, Pasacaille et métonymie), to illustrate my argument that metaphor and metonymy could be considered as the engine of Western contrapuntal music, and that the engine of this engine could be a Moebius strip.

I had contacted the named author of this video, Jos Leys, who explained to me that while he had indeed realised this video in a 3D animation program called POV-Ray, it was not his idea or discovery. My querying emails to the actual author remained unanswered.

I note that Marc Morali does not give the title of the work. It is the Crab Canon from Bach’s The Musical Offering, BWV 1079. While visiting King Frederic the Great in Potsdam, in 1747, Bach had some good fun playing the king’s collection of pianofortes, a novel instrument at the time, and as a result, invited the King to give him a theme on which he would improvise on the spot. Bach then used that same theme to compose the canons and fugues which form Das Musikalische Opfer.

Another remark: that something else can be heard in what is actually heard is a musical phenomenon well-known to musicians and musicologists. One example can be found in the opening bars of the last movement of Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony. What is heard is not what is on the score.

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