Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Wason, Robert W. "Two Bach Preludes/Two Chopin Etudes, or Toujours travailler Bach--ce sera votre meilleur moyer de progresser." Music Theory Spectrum 24 (Spring 2002): 103-20.

The imprint of J. S. Bach has long been widely recognized in Chopin's music, especially in his etudes and preludes. A close structural study and comparison of Chopin's Etudes Op. 10, No. 1 in C Major and Op. 25, No. 12 in C minor with Bach's preludes in the same keys from Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier demonstrate a profound level of resemblances in their long-range harmonic structure. Such a structure has its foundation in "the rule of the octave," an eighteenth-century method for harmonizing each note in a descending octave bass progression. The two etudes discussed not only reveal Chopin's deep knowledge of and interest in Bach's music, but also illuminate an underlying continuous compositional practice from the eighteenth century to early nineteenth century.

Works: Chopin: Etude, Op. 10, No. 1 (103-4, 108-14, 117-19), Etude, Op. 25, No. 12 (113-19).

Sources: J. S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, Prelude in C Major, BWV 846 (103-6, 113, 117-19), Prelude in C Minor, BWV 847 (106-8, 113-19).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Tong Cheng Blackburn

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