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Re: [earlyflute] Re: Ornamenting J.S. Bach - Trevor Wye on C Major Sonata

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  • Susan Maclagan
    Dear flute friends....The Bach C Major Sonata was recently discussed on FLUTE. I thought you might enjoy reading what Trevor had to say about the Sonata since
    Message 1 of 24 , Feb 12, 2012
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      Dear flute friends....The Bach C Major Sonata was recently discussed on FLUTE. I thought you might enjoy reading what Trevor had to say about the Sonata since we're also discussing it (I have his permission to post it). Please see below......Best wishes, Susan Maclagan, author "A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist", Scarecrow Press, 2009
       
       
      Date:    Fri, 3 Feb 2012 08:55:44 +0000
      From:    Trevor Wye <tw@...>
      Subject: Bach C Major Sonata

      Hello Trevor,
      >
      > Greetings from Vermont.?? I have a student who is currently working
      > from your "Music for Solo Flute" published by Novello.?? She and I are
      > enjoying it very much.?? We just got to the pair of menuets from
      > Bach's
      > C major sonata and, much to my surprise, I found the right hand line
      > of
      > the keyboard part given instead of the usual flute part for the first
      > menuet.?? I am curious as to why you did that.?? I told my student I
      > would inquire.
      >
      > Thank you very much.?? I do enjoy your editions and practice books
      > very much!
      >
      > Best,
      > Lois Price

      Dear Lois,
      Thanks for your letter.
      The C Major Sonata is a mixture of part continuo and part obbligato, as
      if the composer had changed his mind toward the end.
      I don't think there has ever been such a curious mixture. 'Continuo' is
      a bass to which the harpsichordist may 'realise' or construct right hand
      chords and embellish and support the solo line, as they see fit. An
      obbligato part is, in effect, a trio of right hand, left hand and solo
      line and may not be changed.
      Composed c. 1731, the authorship is not generally in doubt, though some
      believe that the continuo part may be the work of CPE with corrections
      and/or additions by his father; what is in doubt is the form of the
      composition. Perhaps this was originally a work for solo flute, a
      companion piece to the Solo Partita in A minor  and only later was the
      continuo/obligato part added. The added bass is entirely unnecessary and
      even gets in the way. If one compares it with other Bach bass parts, it
      surely was never written by Bach and must be the work of a student. The
      Adagio may have been altered to adapt to the added continuo part. Half
      way through the Minuets, perhaps Bach looked over the shoulder of CPE
      and suggested - as an exercise - to finish the job by writing an
      obbligato part instead of continuo. What was CPE to do? The solo line in
      Minuet 2 already suggests the harmony as part of the melody, so the only
      possible solution was to transfer the solo flute line to the right hand
      of the harpsichord and write a flute melody more lightly above it.
      I am sure this is the answer as the right hand part only descends to low
      D, the lowest note of the traverso, somewhat curious in C major! The
      continuo part seems to be unnecessary as the flute 'solo' contains all
      the harmony and rhythm required- except for the slow movement.
      If the Partita was JS's first flute piece, which may be possible, then,
      perhaps Buffardin (possibly the first performer) said, 'Look Jazz (he
      was known as Jazz!), you have given me no place to breathe! You write as
      if for a solo violin!'
      Bach replied, 'Buffers my dear chap, (they were on first name terms), I
      am so sorry. Of course I should allow more space in the phrasing to
      accommodate your technical needs. May I, by way of apology, write a more
      simple solo Sonata, perhaps in the companion key of C? You can then
      perform them as a pair!'
      The manuscript is lost.
      In the 1980's, I suggested to a very talented student that she might
      play the two sonatas as a pair in an a forthcoming concert. Commonly,
      Telemann did
      just that by writing a 'serious' trio sonata and pairing it with a much
      lighter one, by way of a dessert.
      It was a delight to hear and perhaps this was the first performance of
      them together as solo sonatas.
      The student was Rachel Brown.

      Trevor

      www.trevorwye.com
      See a carrot played at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyAI3EHULRs:
      Andersen 24 Studies op15 with piano part at www.scorevivo.com
    • pa1z@me.com
      Hello all, Well I am not 100% sure that we should base conclusions for instrumentation because of breathing possibilities. There are many woodwind parts for
      Message 2 of 24 , Feb 13, 2012
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        Hello all,
        Well I am not 100% sure that we should base conclusions for instrumentation because of breathing possibilities. There are many woodwind parts for instruments other than flute in Bach that are difficult in that respect....Not to mention some arias…!

        Even on keyboard he often requires some strange solutions like using left and right hand thumbs in a scale or the melodic line of a fugue..

        I think he just pushed the limits for everyone, not only flautists ;-)
        Ciao tutti, Theo


        --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, "satosius" <satosius@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        > Hello Susan,
        >
        > > If the Partita was JS's first flute piece, which may be possible, then,
        > > perhaps Buffardin (possibly the first performer) said, 'Look Jazz (he
        > > was known as Jazz!), you have given me no place to breathe! You write as
        > > if for a solo violin!'
        >
        > Hey! was J.S.Bach a Jazz musician ? Not J.Beck ?
        > If so, J.S.Bach was better at swing.. further also "inegale".
        > Therefore he could find many places to breathe in solo A minore, especially Allemande.
        > On the other hand Buffardin might not be a Jazz man, so could not swing.. therefore he stranded ?
        >
        > > Andersen 24 Studies op15 with piano part at www.scorevivo.com
        >
        > I've got Andersen's Etude op.15 overseen by T.Wye, his advice encouraged me when I had been studing Boehm system, but it seems now out of print. It is also effective for 8-key simple system as well as op.21 (overseen by G.Barrère), I study op.15 on 9-key simple system flute between practicing op.21.
        > In the first case, there are chances to adapt alternative fingerings for difficult passages, in the latter case, there are common difficulties to expressions and phrasing etc. I think.
        >
        > thanks,
        > Satosius
        >
      • keithfre
        ... I think it was Ray Brown (correct me if I m wrong) who said Bach had the best bass lines in the business . -Keith
        Message 3 of 24 , Feb 13, 2012
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          > Hey! was J.S.Bach a Jazz musician ?
          I think it was Ray Brown (correct me if I'm wrong) who said Bach had "the best bass lines in the business".

          -Keith
        • Ron
          ... Thanks for posting that. It is encouraging to see that somebody else had come to the same conclusion about the unnecessary continuo. A few more thoughts:
          Message 4 of 24 , Feb 13, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, Susan Maclagan <susan_maclagan@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dear flute friends....The Bach C Major Sonata was recently discussed on FLUTE. I thought you might enjoy reading what Trevor had to say about the Sonata since we're also discussing it (I have his permission to post it). Please see below......Best wishes, Susan Maclagan, author "A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist", Scarecrow Press, 2009
            >  
            >  
            > Date:    Fri, 3 Feb 2012 08:55:44 +0000
            > From:    Trevor Wye <tw@...>
            > Subject: Bach C Major Sonata
            >
            > Hello Trevor,
            > >
            > > Greetings from Vermont.?? I have a student who is currently working
            > > from your "Music for Solo Flute" published by Novello.?? She and I are
            > > enjoying it very much.?? We just got to the pair of menuets from
            > > Bach's
            > > C major sonata and, much to my surprise, I found the right hand line
            > > of
            > > the keyboard part given instead of the usual flute part for the first
            > > menuet.?? I am curious as to why you did that.?? I told my student I
            > > would inquire.
            > >
            > > Thank you very much.?? I do enjoy your editions and practice books
            > > very much!
            > >
            > > Best,
            > > Lois Price
            >
            > Dear Lois,
            > Thanks for your letter.
            > The C Major Sonata is a mixture of part continuo and part obbligato, as
            > if the composer had changed his mind toward the end.
            > I don't think there has ever been such a curious mixture. 'Continuo' is
            > a bass to which the harpsichordist may 'realise' or construct right hand
            > chords and embellish and support the solo line, as they see fit. An
            > obbligato part is, in effect, a trio of right hand, left hand and solo
            > line and may not be changed.
            > Composed c. 1731, the authorship is not generally in doubt, though some
            > believe that the continuo part may be the work of CPE with corrections
            > and/or additions by his father; what is in doubt is the form of the
            > composition. Perhaps this was originally a work for solo flute, a
            > companion piece to the Solo Partita in A minor  and only later was the
            > continuo/obligato part added. The added bass is entirely unnecessary and
            > even gets in the way. If one compares it with other Bach bass parts, it
            > surely was never written by Bach and must be the work of a student. The
            > Adagio may have been altered to adapt to the added continuo part. Half
            > way through the Minuets, perhaps Bach looked over the shoulder of CPE
            > and suggested - as an exercise - to finish the job by writing an
            > obbligato part instead of continuo. What was CPE to do? The solo line in
            > Minuet 2 already suggests the harmony as part of the melody, so the only
            > possible solution was to transfer the solo flute line to the right hand
            > of the harpsichord and write a flute melody more lightly above it.
            > I am sure this is the answer as the right hand part only descends to low
            > D, the lowest note of the traverso, somewhat curious in C major! The
            > continuo part seems to be unnecessary as the flute 'solo' contains all
            > the harmony and rhythm required- except for the slow movement.
            > If the Partita was JS's first flute piece, which may be possible, then,
            > perhaps Buffardin (possibly the first performer) said, 'Look Jazz (he
            > was known as Jazz!), you have given me no place to breathe! You write as
            > if for a solo violin!'
            > Bach replied, 'Buffers my dear chap, (they were on first name terms), I
            > am so sorry. Of course I should allow more space in the phrasing to
            > accommodate your technical needs. May I, by way of apology, write a more
            > simple solo Sonata, perhaps in the companion key of C? You can then
            > perform them as a pair!'
            > The manuscript is lost.
            > In the 1980's, I suggested to a very talented student that she might
            > play the two sonatas as a pair in an a forthcoming concert. Commonly,
            > Telemann did
            > just that by writing a 'serious' trio sonata and pairing it with a much
            > lighter one, by way of a dessert.
            > It was a delight to hear and perhaps this was the first performance of
            > them together as solo sonatas.
            > The student was Rachel Brown.
            >
            > Trevor
            >




            Thanks for posting that.

            It is encouraging to see that somebody else had come to the same conclusion about the "unnecessary" continuo.

            A few more thoughts:

            What interests me about the personality of the old man Bach is that he never wrote anything just for the sake of it, to remembered by a generation to come, nor did he travel to Amsterdam or London, beguiled by an ambition to compete with Handel. It was all because of an immediate practical purpose, to fulfil an assignment in order to pay the bills, to present a gift, to instruct a student or else to avoid the considerable cost of a printed version.

            Along with that I keep in mind some advice from one of the first music lessons I took, at school, age 12 or so: In times gone by musical "notes" were exactly that, an aid to memory, never intended to amount to a complete description of music to perform.

            It seems to me then that the most likely reason for an incompletely explained obligato is that they wrote what would not be so easy to remember while the rest was not worth the trouble, too obvious or straightforward to need to be explained.

            It has also crossed my mind that the not quite right feel to it could just as well have been the deliberate mischief of a son or student, a pastiche in the same sort of way that Frank Zappa persuaded a string orchestra to stray from the beaten track. There is that sort of self conscious, tongue in cheek quirkiness to quite a lot of what was produced by the Bach sons, and then my Mozart and others.

            R.H.
          • Susan Maclagan
            More on the Bach C+ Sonata from the FLUTE list with permission from TOD BRODY: Trevor, I very much enjoyed reading your commentary and experiences with the
            Message 5 of 24 , Feb 29, 2012
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              More on the Bach C+ Sonata from the FLUTE list with permission from TOD BRODY:

              Trevor, I very much enjoyed reading your commentary and experiences with the C-major sonata attributed to Bach.
              My own observations and knowledge of most of Bach's instrumental music
              don't turn up anything remotely like this sonata, either in form or in
              style.

              I had been under the impression that its authorship was very much in doubt,
              but you say not. I'm wondering if you could expand on this; other
              scholarship I've read makes it seem like much less of a sure thing.

              Thanks.

              Best regards,

              Tod Brody
              Tod Brody
              tod@...
               

              --- On Mon, 2/13/12, Ron <ron.harvey@...> wrote:

              From: Ron <ron.harvey@...>
              Subject: [earlyflute] Re: Ornamenting J.S. Bach - Trevor Wye on C Major Sonata
              To: earlyflute@yahoogroups.com
              Received: Monday, February 13, 2012, 9:47 AM

              --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, Susan Maclagan <susan_maclagan@...> wrote:
              >
              > Dear flute friends....The Bach C Major Sonata was recently discussed on FLUTE. I thought you might enjoy reading what Trevor had to say about the Sonata since we're also discussing it (I have his permission to post it). Please see below......Best wishes, Susan Maclagan, author "A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist", Scarecrow Press, 2009
              >  
              >  
              > Date:    Fri, 3 Feb 2012 08:55:44 +0000
              > From:    Trevor Wye <tw@...>
              > Subject: Bach C Major Sonata
              >
              > Hello Trevor,
              > >
              > > Greetings from Vermont.?? I have a student who is currently working
              > > from your "Music for Solo Flute" published by Novello.?? She and I are
              > > enjoying it very much.?? We just got to the pair of menuets from
              > > Bach's
              > > C major sonata and, much to my surprise, I found the right hand line
              > > of
              > > the keyboard part given instead of the usual flute part for the first
              > > menuet.?? I am curious as to why you did that.?? I told my student I
              > > would inquire.
              > >
              > > Thank you very much.?? I do enjoy your editions and practice books
              > > very much!
              > >
              > > Best,
              > > Lois Price
              >
              > Dear Lois,
              > Thanks for your letter.
              > The C Major Sonata is a mixture of part continuo and part obbligato, as
              > if the composer had changed his mind toward the end.
              > I don't think there has ever been such a curious mixture. 'Continuo' is
              > a bass to which the harpsichordist may 'realise' or construct right hand
              > chords and embellish and support the solo line, as they see fit. An
              > obbligato part is, in effect, a trio of right hand, left hand and solo
              > line and may not be changed.
              > Composed c. 1731, the authorship is not generally in doubt, though some
              > believe that the continuo part may be the work of CPE with corrections
              > and/or additions by his father; what is in doubt is the form of the
              > composition. Perhaps this was originally a work for solo flute, a
              > companion piece to the Solo Partita in A minor  and only later was the
              > continuo/obligato part added. The added bass is entirely unnecessary and
              > even gets in the way. If one compares it with other Bach bass parts, it
              > surely was never written by Bach and must be the work of a student. The
              > Adagio may have been altered to adapt to the added continuo part. Half
              > way through the Minuets, perhaps Bach looked over the shoulder of CPE
              > and suggested - as an exercise - to finish the job by writing an
              > obbligato part instead of continuo. What was CPE to do? The solo line in
              > Minuet 2 already suggests the harmony as part of the melody, so the only
              > possible solution was to transfer the solo flute line to the right hand
              > of the harpsichord and write a flute melody more lightly above it.
              > I am sure this is the answer as the right hand part only descends to low
              > D, the lowest note of the traverso, somewhat curious in C major! The
              > continuo part seems to be unnecessary as the flute 'solo' contains all
              > the harmony and rhythm required- except for the slow movement.
              > If the Partita was JS's first flute piece, which may be possible, then,
              > perhaps Buffardin (possibly the first performer) said, 'Look Jazz (he
              > was known as Jazz!), you have given me no place to breathe! You write as
              > if for a solo violin!'
              > Bach replied, 'Buffers my dear chap, (they were on first name terms), I
              > am so sorry. Of course I should allow more space in the phrasing to
              > accommodate your technical needs. May I, by way of apology, write a more
              > simple solo Sonata, perhaps in the companion key of C? You can then
              > perform them as a pair!'
              > The manuscript is lost.
              > In the 1980's, I suggested to a very talented student that she might
              > play the two sonatas as a pair in an a forthcoming concert. Commonly,
              > Telemann did
              > just that by writing a 'serious' trio sonata and pairing it with a much
              > lighter one, by way of a dessert.
              > It was a delight to hear and perhaps this was the first performance of
              > them together as solo sonatas.
              > The student was Rachel Brown.
              >
              > Trevor
              >

              Thanks for posting that.

              It is encouraging to see that somebody else had come to the same conclusion about the "unnecessary" continuo.

              A few more thoughts:

              What interests me about the personality of the old man Bach is that he never wrote anything just for the sake of it, to remembered by a generation to come, nor did he travel to Amsterdam or London, beguiled by an ambition to compete with Handel. It was all because of an immediate practical purpose, to fulfil an assignment in order to pay the bills, to present a gift, to instruct a student or else to avoid the considerable cost of a printed version.

              Along with that I keep in mind some advice from one of the first music lessons I took, at school, age 12 or so: In times gone by musical "notes" were exactly that, an aid to memory, never intended to amount to a complete description of music to perform.

              It seems to me then that the most likely reason for an incompletely explained obligato is that they wrote what would not be so easy to remember while the rest was not worth the trouble, too obvious or straightforward to need to be explained.

              It has also crossed my mind that the not quite right feel to it could just as well have been the deliberate mischief of a son or student, a pastiche in the same sort of way that Frank Zappa persuaded a string orchestra to stray from the beaten track. There is that sort of self conscious, tongue in cheek quirkiness to quite a lot of what was produced by the Bach sons, and then my Mozart and others.

              R.H.

            • Susan Maclagan
              And from John Wion on FLUTE with permission: Todd, The MS is in the hand of CPE Bach (when he was about 17 and still living with his father). But the title he
              Message 6 of 24 , Feb 29, 2012
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                And from John Wion on FLUTE with permission:

                Todd, The MS is in the hand of CPE Bach (when he was about 17 and still living with his father). But the title he wrote was "Sonata a Traversa e Continuo di Joh. Seb. Bach.
                Robert Marshall, in his article in JAMS many years ago on the flute sonatas, proposed that JS had written a solo sonata and given it to his son as an exercise. Thus the piece in the form we know it was by CPE but he attributed its origin to his father. The details supporting this argument are much as Trevor Wye gave them in his excellent post to this list.
                John Wion
                johnwion.com

                On Feb 3, 2012, at 9:45 AM, Tod Brody wrote:

                > I had been under the impression that its authorship was very much in doubt,
                > but you say not. I'm wondering if you could expand on this; other> scholarship I've read makes it seem like much less of a sure thing.







                --- On Wed, 2/29/12, Susan Maclagan <susan_maclagan@...> wrote:

                From: Susan Maclagan <susan_maclagan@...>
                Subject: Re: [earlyflute] Re: Ornamenting J.S. Bach - Trevor Wye on C Major Sonata
                To: earlyflute@yahoogroups.com
                Received: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 7:36 PM

                 

                More on the Bach C+ Sonata from the FLUTE list with permission from TOD BRODY:

                Trevor, I very much enjoyed reading your commentary and experiences with the C-major sonata attributed to Bach.
                My own observations and knowledge of most of Bach's instrumental music
                don't turn up anything remotely like this sonata, either in form or in
                style.

                I had been under the impression that its authorship was very much in doubt,
                but you say not. I'm wondering if you could expand on this; other
                scholarship I've read makes it seem like much less of a sure thing.

                Thanks.

                Best regards,

                Tod Brody
                Tod Brody
                tod@...
                 

                --- On Mon, 2/13/12, Ron <ron.harvey@...> wrote:

                From: Ron <ron.harvey@...>
                Subject: [earlyflute] Re: Ornamenting J.S. Bach - Trevor Wye on C Major Sonata
                To: earlyflute@yahoogroups.com
                Received: Monday, February 13, 2012, 9:47 AM

                --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, Susan Maclagan <susan_maclagan@...> wrote:
                >
                > Dear flute friends....The Bach C Major Sonata was recently discussed on FLUTE. I thought you might enjoy reading what Trevor had to say about the Sonata since we're also discussing it (I have his permission to post it). Please see below......Best wishes, Susan Maclagan, author "A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist", Scarecrow Press, 2009
                >  
                >  
                > Date:    Fri, 3 Feb 2012 08:55:44 +0000
                > From:    Trevor Wye <tw@...>
                > Subject: Bach C Major Sonata
                >
                > Hello Trevor,
                > >
                > > Greetings from Vermont.?? I have a student who is currently working
                > > from your "Music for Solo Flute" published by Novello.?? She and I are
                > > enjoying it very much.?? We just got to the pair of menuets from
                > > Bach's
                > > C major sonata and, much to my surprise, I found the right hand line
                > > of
                > > the keyboard part given instead of the usual flute part for the first
                > > menuet.?? I am curious as to why you did that.?? I told my student I
                > > would inquire.
                > >
                > > Thank you very much.?? I do enjoy your editions and practice books
                > > very much!
                > >
                > > Best,
                > > Lois Price
                >
                > Dear Lois,
                > Thanks for your letter.
                > The C Major Sonata is a mixture of part continuo and part obbligato, as
                > if the composer had changed his mind toward the end.
                > I don't think there has ever been such a curious mixture. 'Continuo' is
                > a bass to which the harpsichordist may 'realise' or construct right hand
                > chords and embellish and support the solo line, as they see fit. An
                > obbligato part is, in effect, a trio of right hand, left hand and solo
                > line and may not be changed.
                > Composed c. 1731, the authorship is not generally in doubt, though some
                > believe that the continuo part may be the work of CPE with corrections
                > and/or additions by his father; what is in doubt is the form of the
                > composition. Perhaps this was originally a work for solo flute, a
                > companion piece to the Solo Partita in A minor  and only later was the
                > continuo/obligato part added. The added bass is entirely unnecessary and
                > even gets in the way. If one compares it with other Bach bass parts, it
                > surely was never written by Bach and must be the work of a student. The
                > Adagio may have been altered to adapt to the added continuo part. Half
                > way through the Minuets, perhaps Bach looked over the shoulder of CPE
                > and suggested - as an exercise - to finish the job by writing an
                > obbligato part instead of continuo. What was CPE to do? The solo line in
                > Minuet 2 already suggests the harmony as part of the melody, so the only
                > possible solution was to transfer the solo flute line to the right hand
                > of the harpsichord and write a flute melody more lightly above it.
                > I am sure this is the answer as the right hand part only descends to low
                > D, the lowest note of the traverso, somewhat curious in C major! The
                > continuo part seems to be unnecessary as the flute 'solo' contains all
                > the harmony and rhythm required- except for the slow movement.
                > If the Partita was JS's first flute piece, which may be possible, then,
                > perhaps Buffardin (possibly the first performer) said, 'Look Jazz (he
                > was known as Jazz!), you have given me no place to breathe! You write as
                > if for a solo violin!'
                > Bach replied, 'Buffers my dear chap, (they were on first name terms), I
                > am so sorry. Of course I should allow more space in the phrasing to
                > accommodate your technical needs. May I, by way of apology, write a more
                > simple solo Sonata, perhaps in the companion key of C? You can then
                > perform them as a pair!'
                > The manuscript is lost.
                > In the 1980's, I suggested to a very talented student that she might
                > play the two sonatas as a pair in an a forthcoming concert. Commonly,
                > Telemann did
                > just that by writing a 'serious' trio sonata and pairing it with a much
                > lighter one, by way of a dessert.
                > It was a delight to hear and perhaps this was the first performance of
                > them together as solo sonatas.
                > The student was Rachel Brown.
                >
                > Trevor
                >

                Thanks for posting that.

                It is encouraging to see that somebody else had come to the same conclusion about the "unnecessary" continuo.

                A few more thoughts:

                What interests me about the personality of the old man Bach is that he never wrote anything just for the sake of it, to remembered by a generation to come, nor did he travel to Amsterdam or London, beguiled by an ambition to compete with Handel. It was all because of an immediate practical purpose, to fulfil an assignment in order to pay the bills, to present a gift, to instruct a student or else to avoid the considerable cost of a printed version.

                Along with that I keep in mind some advice from one of the first music lessons I took, at school, age 12 or so: In times gone by musical "notes" were exactly that, an aid to memory, never intended to amount to a complete description of music to perform.

                It seems to me then that the most likely reason for an incompletely explained obligato is that they wrote what would not be so easy to remember while the rest was not worth the trouble, too obvious or straightforward to need to be explained.

                It has also crossed my mind that the not quite right feel to it could just as well have been the deliberate mischief of a son or student, a pastiche in the same sort of way that Frank Zappa persuaded a string orchestra to stray from the beaten track. There is that sort of self conscious, tongue in cheek quirkiness to quite a lot of what was produced by the Bach sons, and then my Mozart and others.

                R.H.

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