Title page for ETD etd-04242012-192522

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hsu, Chung-Hui
URN etd-04242012-192522
Title The Solo String Works of J. S. Bach: The Relationship Between Dance and Musical Elements
Degree Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Lilleslatten, Espen Committee Chair
Grimes, Jan Committee Co-Chair
Parker, Dennis Committee Member
Wei, Yung-Chiao Committee Member
Gansle, Kristin Dean's Representative
  • Tempo
  • Interpretation
  • Dance Music
  • Dance
Date of Defense 2012-04-19
Availability unrestricted
In 1685, the Doge of Genoa made a visit to the French court and asked Louis XIV to host a ball. Louis XIV responded affirmatively and arranged a magnificent dance in his private apartment. The type of dance that took place was a kind of social dancing which later became the standard included Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue, Minuet, Gavotte, Bourée, Loure and Chaconne. These dances were called theatrical dances when they were used in theatrical production by professional dancers. During this period, the relationship between composer and choreographer was sometimes inseparable. Maestro Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) and his well-known choreographer Pierre Beauchamp (1631-1705) collaborated on several operas for Louis XIV. The dance part, also called dance notation, was published by Raoul-Auger Feuillet (1653-1709).

The purpose of this research paper is to present the relationship between dance and musical elements in Bach’s solo string works. Before the chapters, I will briefly introduce a survey of dance in European music. King Louis XIV of France (1638-1715) was a great dancer. Under his regime, his noble dance style became the fashion throughout Europe in the seventeenth century. Following the discussion of French fashion and taste, I will explain the interrelationship between dance and music in the first chapter. In the next chapter, I will discuss the basic step structure and aspects from the dance notation system of Beauchamp-Feuillet as they apply dance to the music in the Baroque era. In the third chapter, I will combine Bach’s dance music with French noble dances, especially for the dances in triple meter, which were Courante, Sarabande, Minuet, and discuss these titled dances used in Bach’s solo works for strings. In the final chapter, chapter four, I will provide my own experiences as a string player and suggest how to choose a good tempo when performing Bach’s dance music.

The consideration of the dance components in music, whether literal or implied, should influence and even inspire any musical performance today. If a dancer needs to study the music before he dances, shouldn’t musicians be aware of the proper dance elements in their art form?

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