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Music Examples: Cantatas BWV 1-224 | Other Vocal BWV 225-524, 1081-1127 | Instrumental BWV 525-1080 | Bach's Contemporaries | Videos of Performances of Bach’s Works | Realizations of Bach’s Works using Various Tuning Systems | Sources | Explanation

Realizations of Bach’s Works using Various Tuning Systems - Main Page

With regard to Bach’s church music, the organ provided an immutable pitch reference for both orchestra and singers. Accordingly, organ tuning is of interest, if we wish to explore the spiritual sound world of Bach’s day.

The tuning of most surviving historical organs was altered during the 19th century. As physical evidence of their original intonation is scarce, we typically rely on documents to reconstruct a possible past state; writings often of theoreticians rather than the secretive organ builders who originally tuned the instruments.

While it is impractical to physically retune a rare historic instrument from its modern state as an experiment, it is possible to record the sound of each pipe and play it back at a slightly changed pitch. If the alteration is small, moreover, e.g., less than one semitone, then no change in timbre is perceived. This is a practical possibility today, as there are several niche “sample set” providers. An organ of interest is captured, stop by stop, recording each note in turn with high quality microphones. Various rare historic organs, including several that Bach may have played, have been captured in this manner and retuned for the videos below.

Charles Francis (January 2013)
 

Work

Mvts.

Videos

Cantata BWV 1

Mvt. 6: Chorale

BWV 1 - Realizations (NT)

Cantata BWV 10

Mvt. 7: Chorale

BWV 10 - Realizations (WTT)

Cantata BWV 26

Mvt. 6: Chorale

BWV 26 - Realizations (WTT, WTTV)

Cantata BWV 52

Mvt. 6: Chorale

BWV 52 - Realizations (WTT, MTTPA)

Cantata BWV 55

Mvt. 5: Chorale

BWV 55 - Realizations (WTT)

Cantata BWV 60

Mvt. 5: Chorale

BWV 60 - Realizations (MTTPA)

Cantata BWV 67

Mvt. 7: Chorale

BWV 67 - Realizations (WTTV)

Cantata BWV 70

Mvt. 7: Chorale
Mvt. 11: Chorale

BWV 70 - Realizations (WTT)

Cantata BWV 83

Mvt. 5: Chorale

BWV 83 - Realizations (WTT)

Cantata BWV 89

Mvt. 2: Alto Recitative
Mvt. 6: Chorale

BWV 89 - Realizations (WTT, WTTV)

Cantata BWV 90

Mvt. 5: Chorale

BWV 90 - Realizations (MTTPA)

Cantata BWV 98

Mvt. 1: Chorus (Chorale)

BWV 98 - Realizations (WTTV)

Cantata BWV 106

Mvt. 3b: Chorale

BWV 106 - Realizations (WTT)

Cantata BWV 115

Mvt. 6: Chorale
Mvt. 1: Chorus

BWV 115 - Realizations (WTT)

Cantata BWV 116

Mvt. 6: Chorale

BWV 116 - Realizations (WTTV)

Cantata BWV 118

Complete

BWV 118 - Realizations (WTTV)

Cantata BWV 125

Mvt. 6: Chorale
Mvt. 1: Chorus

BWV 125 - Realizations (WTT, MTTFS)

Cantata BWV 139

Mvt. 6: Chorale

BWV 139 - Realizations (WTT, MTTPA)

Cantata BWV 140

Mvt. 4: Chorale
Mvt. 7: Chorale

BWV 140 - Realizations (WTT, MTTPA)

Cantata BWV 147

Mvt. 6: Chorale

BWV 147 - Realizations (WTT, MTTFZ, NT)

Cantata BWV 157

Mvt. 5: Chorale

BWV 157 - Realizations (NT)

Cantata BWV 163

Mvt. 6: Chorale

BWV 163 - Realizations (WTT, MTTPA)

Cantata BWV 167

Mvt. 5: Chorale

BWV 167 - Realizations (WTT, WTTV)

Cantata BWV 188

Mvt. 6: Chorale

BWV 188 - Realizations (MTTPA)

Cantata BWV 199

Mvt. 6: Chorale

BWV 199 - Realizations (WTT)

Motet BWV 229

Aria

BWV 229 - Realizations (WTTV)

Motet BWV 231

Complete

BWV 231 - Realizations (MTTFZ)

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244

Mvt. 3: Chorale, Mvt. 38: Chorale, Mvts. 15-17-62: Chorale

BWV 244 - Realizations (WTT)

Johannes-Passion BWV 245

Mvt. 22: Chorale

BWV 245 - Realizations (WTT)

Chorale BWV 377

Complete

BWV 377 - Realizations (WTT)

Chorale BWV 382

Complete

BWV 382 - Realizations (MTTPA)

Chorale Prelude BWV 616

Complete

BWV 616 - Realizations (NT)

Chorale Prelude BWV 622

Complete

BWV 622 - Realizations (WTT, MTTPA, ETT)

Chorale Prelude BWV 644

Complete

BWV 644 - Realizations (WTTV)

Chorale Prelude BWV 646

Complete

BWV 646 - Realizations (MTTPA)

Chorale Prelude BWV 651

Complete

BWV 651 - Realizations (NT)

Chorale Prelude BWV 652

Complete

BWV 652 - Realizations (MTTFS)

Chorale Prelude BWV 686

Complete

BWV 686 - Realizations (WTTV)

Chorale Prelude BWV 721

Complete

BWV 721 - Realizations (WTT)

Motet BWV Anh 159

Complete

BWV Anh 159 - Realizations (WTT)

Abbreviatons of Tuning Systems

ETT = Equal-Tempered Tuning
WTT = Well-Tempered Tuning; described in: The Esoteric Keyboard Temperaments of J. S. Bach by Charles Francis (2005) [PDF]
WTTV = Well-Tempered Tuning - Variant with Synchronised Third. See: Tuning Procedure for Variant with Synchronised Third
MTTPA = Pietro Aron Meantone Tuning - Quarter Comma Syntonic
MTTGZ = Gioseffo Zarlino Meantone Tuning - Two-Seventh Comma Syntonic
MTTFS = Francisco de Salinas Meantone Tuning - Third Comma Syntonic
NT = Just Intonation / Natural Tuning

Source: Charles Francis (January 2013)
Contributor: Charles Francis (January 2013)
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Music Examples: Cantatas BWV 1-224 | Other Vocal BWV 225-524, 1081-1127 | Instrumental BWV 525-1080 | Bach's Contemporaries | Videos of Performances of Bach’s Works | Realizations of Bach’s Works using Various Tuning Systems | Sources | Explanation

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Last update: ýJanuary 11, 2013 ý00:47:23