An Introduction to Bach Studies

An Introduction to Bach Studies

An Introduction to Bach Studies

An Introduction to Bach Studies

Synopsis

This volume is a guide to the resources and materials of Bach scholarship, both for the non specialist wondering where to begin in the enormous literature on J. S. Bach, and for the Bach specialist looking for a convenient and up to date survey of the field. It describes the tools of Bach research and how to use them, and suggests how to get started in Bach research by describing the principal areas of research and citing the essential literature on each piece and topic. The authors emphasize the issues that have engaged Bach scholars for generations, focusing on particularly important writings; on recent literature; on overviews, collections of essays and handbooks; and on writings in English. Subjects covered include bibliographic tools of Bach research and sources of literature; Bach's family; Bach biographies; places Bach lived and worked; Bach's teaching; the liturgy; Bach source studies and the transmission of his music; repertory and editions; genres and individual vocal and instrumental works; performance practice; the reception and analysis of Bach's music; and many others. The book also offers explanations of important and potentially confusing topics in Bach research, such as the organization of the annual cantata cycles, pitch standards, the history of the Berlin libraries, the structure of the critical commentary volumes in the Neue Bach Ausgabe, and so on. This book opens up the rich world of Bach scholarship to students, teachers, performers, and listeners.

Excerpt

This is a small book about a big subject. The literature on J.S. Bach and his music is enormous, and it should be clear from the outset that we have made no attempt to discuss or even to cite everything published on the composer. Instead, our aim is to bring useful bibliographic resources together in one place, to describe the available tools of Bach research, and to provide starting points for reading on many pieces and topics.

We have provided neither a capsule biography of Bach nor a list of his compositions--the world has enough of these already--but we do give detailed information on where to find them. Most research guides on other composers attempt to present a garland of "all the serious writings" on their subject, but the size of the Bach literature makes this impossible. We have tried instead to mention the principal areas of research for each piece or topic and the most important recent literature.

We have focused on literature that is directly concerned with Bach and Bach studies; there are only a limited number of citations of general works on genres, places, etc., on the assumption that readers will already know where to find them. Similarly, in the section on sources of Bach literature, we have limited our detailed listings to publications concerned principally with Bach, again presuming that readers will know how to find general citations in periodical indexes, collections of dissertation abstracts, and the like.

In citing literature on research topics, on genres, and on individual compositions, we have focused on particularly important writings; on recent literature; on overviews, collections of essays, handbooks, etc.; and on writings in English. In a field that has been around as long as Bach studies, knowing the history of scholarship on a given question is often as important as knowing about the current state of knowledge. In most cases, we have not attempted to outline that history, but rely on the books and articles we cite for that; most good studies begin with a survey of scholarship on their subject.

In several places we offer summaries of particularly important and potentially confusing topics in Bach research: the organization of the annual cantata cycles, pitch standards, the history of the Berlin libraries, the structure of the critical commentary volumes in the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, and so on. We hope that these brief discussions will make the technical literature more understandable.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.