Variation 7

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These are program notes from our May 28, 2017 concert.

Bach’s Goldberg variation number 7

This collection of pieces begins with an Aria which is the Theme and from it Bach makes 30 different variations.  Often in this type of work the melody of the theme is what is varied. Bach however chooses to build his variations on a G major descending scale pattern like this: G, F#, E, D, B, C, D, G. Above each of these notes he builds a pleasing chord progression.  It’s clever and complicated. Variation #7 is “al tempo di Giga” which at first would indicate a fast tempo if we think of jigs today. However scholars agree this one is not “fast and fleeting”, but rather a French Gigue in a rather stately style in 6/8 time. It certainly follows the bass line and chord structure of the theme. If you listen to this work, focus on the way Bach varies each movement.

Written by Mary-Jane Dolbear

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