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Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.5

Analysis of the third movement

Bach’s use of structure and tonality

First, we can look at the way in which the final movement of this concerto is organised, by using a simple tabular approach that shows the main thematic material and key centres.

The overall structure of the movement is fairly simple ternary form or ABA, arranged as follows:

Section A                     Bars 1-78        Begins in D major (tonic) and moves to A major

(dominant)

Section B                     Bars 79-232    Begins and ends in B minor (relative minor) with some

sections in F# minor and A major. Includes a reminder of the A section material.

Section A                     Bars 233-310  A repeat of the opening A section.

The themes are presented in fugal style, meaning that there are always several melodic lines weaving together and imitating each other, creating a polyphonic, contrapuntal texture. In a fugue, the main melodic idea is called the subject, and is usually followed by the same idea in another part, beginning on a different note and called the answer. The first part will normally continue to develop the subject while the answer is being played (called a countersubject) and other parts may come in with subjects or answers. This particular movement has many entries of the subject and answer, creating complex polyphony.

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