Annotation for Burkhart, Charles
Mid-Bar Downbeat in Bach's Keyboard Music
Annotation (by Jonathan D. Flowers):
- Many baroque movements in common time contain phrases that
begin on the third beat of a measure. These beats thereby gain
an initiative impulse commonly associated with a downbeat.
Burkhart proposes that these "mid-bar downbeats" can arise
from three situations:
added beats, and
successive downbeats. In each case,
accents suggested by cadential and tonal functions alone--overrides
the constraints of durational
rhythm (i.e., the notated
meter). Burkhart analyzes mid-bar downbeats in the following Bach
keyboard works: French Suite No. 6 in E, Allemande; "Little"
Prelude no. 8 in F; Two-Part Inventions No. 12 in A and No.13
in A Minor; and French Suite No. 6 in G, Gigue. From his
analyses, he suggests ways in which performers can bring out
these mid-bar downbeats. By becoming aware of where and how
these events occur, performers can discover appropriate means
for projecting them. Burkhart's essay intends to offer a
Schenkerian perspective on the study of metrical displacement
in Grave (1985).