Bach. Goldberg Variations. Variatio 12


August 27, 2016


Bach at my side, Goldberg Variations


Variatio XII is a canon at the fourth in 3/4 time, of the inverted variety: the follower enters in the second bar in contrary motion to the leader. The follower appears inverted in the second bar.
In the first section, the left hand accompanies with a bass line written out in repeated quarter notes, in bars 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7.

The repeated notes are the fundamental ones, on which the Goldberg Variations are based. For this reason, in the repeats, I tend to emphasize them very much.

This repeated note motif also appears in the first bar of the second section (bar 17, two Ds and a C), and, slightly altered, in bars 22 and 23. In the second section, Bach slightly changes the mood by introducing a few appoggiaturas (bars 19 and 20) and trills (bars 29–30).

The structure of this canon seems recalling the rhetoric figure which Kircher calls “Omoioptoton” or “Similiter” (similarly). In this figure, the canonic voices recall each other in order to confirm or deny a statement. At the same time, the bass notes are confirmed by getting repeated, in the first bars. The other variation that is linkable to this rhetoric figure is Variation 24. By the way, Variation 24 doubles Variation 12, as in the number of the order, as in the interval of the canon.